HOW DID MY POLITICAL ADVOCACY JOURNEY BEGIN?
After being the victim of a psychopath husband, I became the victim of the no-fault divorce law of California. I was told that I would have to pay alimony, give up half of my retirement fund, and pay car and medical insurance until the divorce was final.
HOW DID I LEARN POLITICAL ADVOCACY?
I knew nothing of about the inner workings of politics, let alone the process to get a bill passed. But I had passion. I wanted to change an unfair law so others would not have to suffer like I did. Armed with patience and persistence, it took me almost two years to find a legislator willing to carry the bill. I had been told the law could not be changed. Assemblyman Richard Rainey became my knight in shining armor. I worked with his legislative aides and learned what it would take to change the law…step by step. I used my organizational skills, my speaking ability and my stubbornness until I realized that I had become the sponsor of the bill, a role usually filled by an organization. READ THE LAW
HOW CAN YOU CHANGE A LAW?
Click the link to read some thoughts on how to change a law. CHANGE THE LAW
MY POLITICAL ADVOCACY CONTINUES
In 2011, the San Diego DA responded to the plight of spousal rape victim Crystal Harris and sponsored a bill to amend my law to extend coverage to victims of spousal rape. Assemblywoman Atkins introduced AB1522 in the California Assembly. Crystal tracked me down and I became involved in her effort; I wrote letters to the committee members and went up a day before the committee hearing on March 20, 2012, to help lobby in their offices. I also voiced my support of the changes in the committee hearing. Crystal delivered a powerful appeal and the committee passed it to the full assembly. It passed the assembly and then was on its way to the Senate Judiciary Committee. I once more wrote letters and went to Sacramento to testify. AB1522 made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. The Governor signed the bill into law in August 2012. Congratulations, Crystal. Thank you for taking a stand for victims.
WHAT TYPES OF VICTIMS ADVOCACY DID I JOIN?
It took me two years to break free from my victim’s shroud and I entered what I call my “going beyond self” journey. I became involved with the Speaker’s Bureau of Battered Women’s Alternatives, now known as STAND! For Families Against Domestic Violence. Independently I presented “One Person Can Make a Difference” to diverse groups.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
If you observe an incident, report it to the police for intervention. If you, a loved one or a friend thinks they are in a domestic violence relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or your local domestic violence organization for help. If you see a wrong, and want to right it, ignite your passion and use patience and persistence to fulfill it.