Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 01, 2013
“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!” James Beard, choked back tears, as he spoke into the microphone in front of hundreds of Safe Passage supporters about his dedication to ending the violence that he once played a role in. Survivors and volunteers in the Montage Beverly Hills Ballroom stood applauding the leader of the LA County Sheriff Department’s M.E.R.I.T. program as he made this pledge, “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.”
James Beard was one of eight honorees at Safe Passage’s 13 Anniversary Fundraiser, the largest and most successful to date for the charity. The event raised $60,000, an increase of $28,000 from the previous year. “The most incredible value from the event was not the money,” said Founder Trish Steele. “It was the supporters. There were new faces, new enthusiasm. Everyone felt passionate about our mission. This is a true transformation.”
Celebrities lent their voices and support. Lindsay Wagner, once The Bionic Woman, is now a woman who spends her time as an advocate, author and humanitarian helping victims and perpetrators of spousal abuse. She pointed out the importance of a transformation from the inside out that even impacts our language as volunteers. “Think about the word fight.” Wagner explained, “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.”
Actress and advocate Kelly LeBrock, known for her breakout roles in “The Woman in Red” and “Weird Science”, spoke for the first time about her long victimization at the hands of others. She teared up while revealing a long kept secret. “I have scars on my body... and being touted as the perfect woman was such a lie.” LeBrock continued quietly, “I have a hole in my head and all sorts of injuries related to it. It’s time to speak out and it’s time to help and we also need to help those who are abusing.” She is in the process of writing a book detailing her past and her efforts to move forward by helping others.
Recording artist and philanthropist Christina Fulton introduced LeBrock to Safe Passage because she too is coming forward for the first time about her abuse. "I am on a long crusade to help end violence against women because of my history of childhood abuse," said Fulton. "I will be a voice and a leader in our journey to stop domestic violence forever.”
Passionate and personal stories were shared from other well known community advocates including recording artist Weston Coppola-Cage, Dr. David and Deborah Alessi of Face Forward, Celebrity hair stylist Kim Vo, Rafi Anteby of Bullets 4 Peace, and of course the founder of Safe Passage Trish Steele. “When the doctor stitched up my head for no charge, I knew I had to pay it forward,” said Steele, “With your help we can transform these women and their families and give them the strength to not only survive but to be role-models!”
Award winning CBS Anchor Pat Harvey hosted the event. After hearing the stories, she announced her commitment to this charity and cause. “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.”
Those honored include: Dr. David & Deborah Alessi of Face Forward, Bruce Vafa D.D.S, Celebrity Stylist Kim Vo, Rafi Anteby Bullets4Peace, James Beard with the L.A County Sheriff's Department, Producer and Director Cheryl Hiltzik, Obagi Medical Products, Safe Passage Volunteer Stephanie Abrams of AH! Media Solutions and CBS Los Angeles.
ABOUT SAFE PASSAGE
Safe Passage was founded in 2000 to transform the lives of women and their families and to help break the cycle of domestic violence. More than 1500 women and children have been supported by Safe Passage. It takes approximately $3500 dollars to put each victim through the program.
Safe Passage provides hope, opportunity and empowerment to abused women and their children, leading them to a new and better life. Services 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.
The Los Angeles Police Department recorded 10,282 domestic violence crimes reported in 2011. Studies show reports reflect less than half of the actual assaults. In the US, one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. Between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
Safe Passage is always looking for donations and partners to help increase the amount of women they can serve. Please visit SafePassageLives.org and click on “Sponsorships & Donations.”