“Years ago, my friend Marguerite Archie-Hudson told me about Jenesse Center. She said she wanted me to work with a group of women in Los Angeles who opened a shelter. I had never heard of a domestic violence shelter. I never heard the words domestic violence. I saw violence as a child, however, I did not know it had a name. It was just personal family business.

As I worked with Jenesse founders, I saw how passionate they were. I wrote the proposals and raised funds. I can’t recall the exact moment I knew that domestic violence was a threat to the world. Maybe it was when I started to focus on the statistics during my research for proposals and program development. I think more than statistics, I noted the changes in families from the time they arrived at Jenesse until they left. They arrived brutalized and in despair. The Jenesse programs helped them to smile and move forward.

Once I focused, every day was a new “oh my God” experience. I asked questions like “when these families live in fear, how can they function?” I was surprised to hear the district attorney say that 100% of the men on death row grew up in homes where there was domestic violence. What did I do with all this?! I lost my shyness and decided to tell the story of families, particularly the children. Peace in our homes is a human rights issue.

The result has been a change in the conversations about domestic violence in our communities. It is not a women’s issue. It is a family issue. It is a community issue. Men are involved. We must teach self sufficiency and enable women to make good decisions for themselves. One of the most significant things I’ve learned is that what leaves the home enters the world!!

– Karen Earl, Chief Executive Officer

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