Center for Community Solutions fundraiser in Carmel Valley features Academy Award-winning actress

From left, Edith Glassey, Marlee Matlin, Terry Kelly, Gemma Markham, Nirvana Habash. Photo/Diane Welch

By Diane Y. Welch

April was Sexual Assault Awareness month and in its timely recognition the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) held its largest fundraising gala of the year at The Grand Del Mar.

More than 600 attendees convened to celebrate and support the nonprofit’s 14th annual Tea and Tonic fundraiser.

Academy Award-winning actress, author and activist Marlee Matlin was the event’s keynote speaker. She spoke passionately about her own former abuse both as a child and as an adult partner. She also signed copies of her book, a memoir, titled “I’ll Scream Later.”

In her speech, Matlin talked about how she grew up in a very loving home but despite that secure environment — because of her deafness and an inability to speak — she was molested as a child by a non-family member. She shared her story about winning the Academy Award for her debut movie “Children of a Lesser God” and then finding her voice after she said she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a former boyfriend. She will never be silent again, she said. “I will scream loud, if anybody ever does this again.”

Today Matlin is happily married, is continuing her career and has four children.

“She wants to speak out about domestic violence and sexual assault in order to give other people their voice,” said Verna Griffin-Tabor, CEO of CCS and a licensed clinical social worker.

“And that’s why we do this event,” she stressed.

Many times people who are vulnerable are sought out by perpetrators. And many crimes of sexual assault go unreported.

For this reason a large part of CCS’s work is in educating the public to prevent these crimes in the first place.

“We know and believe that this violence is preventable,” said Griffin-Tabor. “And we don’t want people who have been hurt to live in shame. They aren’t the ones who committed the crime. We should be holding the perpetrators accountable.”

At the event Crystal Harris was honored as a Community Hero and was presented with the Courage Award. Despite suffering from domestic violence, Harris was ordered in Family Court to pay her abusive incarcerated husband’s legal fees, spousal support and half of her retirement accounts.

The injustice sparked Harris into action when she helped sponsor a bill, last year, that is now law. It prohibits anyone convicted of a violent sexual felony from gaining financial awards from the separate property of the spouse.

It was anticipated that the gala would raise in excess of $200,000, funds desperately needed for counseling and legal services, said Griffin-Tabor.

The nationally recognized social service agency is 44 years old and is the only rape crisis center for the City of San Diego and 75 percent of the county. It works with victims of domestic violence and elder abuse and has locations in El Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos and Pacific Beach areas. It also operates a countywide 24-hour bilingual crisis helpline and provides emergency domestic violence shelters, hospital and court accompaniment.

Statistically, one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault at some point in their life.

“We want them to know that help is available and healing is possible, we see it every day,” said Griffin-Tabor. “People move beyond horrific circumstances and become the most beautiful people of integrity and that’s why I keep doing this work. The people we serve inspire me.”

After the gala Matlin spoke through Jack Jason, her interpreter, “The event was like a gift for me,” she said. “Having been in a situation where I experienced domestic violence I know exactly what each and every woman who gets CCS services goes through. Today is a celebration because we are all being heard and money has been raised. But we are not finished and we are not going to stay silent, we have a lot of work to do.”

Visit www.ccssd.org to find out more about the agency or to make an online tax-deductible donation.

Related posts:

  1. Philanthropy Spotlight: Center for Community Solutions
  2. Guest View: Resources on hand to report teenage dating violence
  3. Del Mar/Carmel Valley resident earns Award of Excellence
  4. Carmel Valley Sycamore Ridge Kids Korps Chapter members visit Women’s Resource Center
  5. Crime Report: Solana Beach Sun

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=50289

Posted by Staff on May 6, 2013. Filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]
  • Robotics booming at Rancho Santa Fe School
    By Karen Billing At R. Roger Rowe School, 44 percent of first graders are participating in the robotics program this year. The school is fielding 44 robotics teams, including 31 percent of second grade, 23 percent of third grade, 35 percent of fourth grade and 39 percent of fifth grade. In the middle school, there are two FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams and fi […]
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices honored with Stevie Gold Award
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recently named Startup of the Year in the 2014 American Business Awards, earning the brokerage the Stevie Gold award. The award was presented at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is among a select few organizations to be entrusted with the Berkshire Hathaway name,” co […]