Safe Passage, a nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, recently held their most successful fundraiser to date, with more than $60,000 donated to the cause. (See Grants for Public Health).
The host of the event, CBS Anchor Pat Harvey, said, "This is the most moving charity luncheon I've ever been to and I want you to know…that I am with you. That's on the record. From here forward, Safe Passage has my heart."
The event honored more than eight individuals during their 13th Annual Fundraiser on March 1, including Dr. David and Deborah Alessi of Face Forward, celebrity stylist Kim Vo, and James Beard, who works with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Beard said, "I want to say to every woman who has ever been battered, abused emotionally, physically or spiritually…coming from one who has battered…I want to apologize to you! You are the very heart of God, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure there are men who can stand up and do what I've just done here today."
Several celebrities showed up to help support the event, held at the Montage Beverly Hills Ballroom, including actresses Lindsay Wagner and Kelly LeBrock. Wagner said, "Think about the word fight. Instead of fighting domestic violence we need to have compassion for it and look for a higher ground. We need to change our perception of things to bring about true change." Recording artist Christina Fulton echoed these sentiments, saying, "I am on a long crusade to help end violence against women because of my history of childhood abuse. I will be a voice and a leader in our journey to stop domestic violence forever."
Safe Passage was established in 2000 to help break the cycle of domestic violence for women and their families. More than 1,500 women and children have been supported by the program. The foundation works to help support these individuals with services that include: "health and nutrition classes, counseling, medical checkups, reconstructive surgery, self-defense classes, job and computer training, transportation, activities and mentorships for children, beauty counseling, and residential guidance and supplies."
These services are much needed as the Los Angeles Police Department reports that there were more than 10,000 cases of domestic violence reported in 2011 — unfortuantely, these crimes are most likely less than half of all assaults that actually take place. In the US today, one in four women has experienced an instance of domestic violence in her lifetime. Even more shocking, between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence every year.
Safe Passage founder Trish Steele noted that "the most incredible value from the event was not the money. It was the supporters. There were new faces, new enthusiasm. Everyone felt passionate about our mission. This is a true transformation."