Rosa Romero
Rosa Romero, Promotora, ELAWC. Photo by Stephanie Mesones.
Rosa Romero
Rosa Romero, Promotora, ELAWC. Photo by Stephanie Mesones.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The intent is to connect battered women advocates across the nations who work to end violence against women and their children.

The Day of Unity, another name for Domestic Violence Awareness month, has become a time when activities are held at the local, state and national level to bring awareness to the problem of violence against women.

Organizations like the East Los Angeles Women’s Center hold an annual vigil to remember victims and survivors, but work must be done continuously to address the epidemic of domestic violence.

In Boyle Heights, there are women educating other women about domestic violence and prevention. Rosa Romero is a Lead Promotora at the women’s center. She facilitates groups for women survivors, responds to the rape and battering hotline and refers those in need to resources in their community.

Romero said she enjoys what she does.

“I like working with communities who are in need of education and resources,” she said. “I like bringing support to other women, especially undocumented women who are scared to leave their partners.”

Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Justice, women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence.   This occurs at the rate of nearly 20 victimizations per 1,000 women.

In Boyle Heights, the median age of residents is 25 years old, one of the lowest in the city of Los Angeles, which makes addressing the issue of domestic violence extremely crucial.

Maria Bernal and Lorena Huerta
Maria Bernal and Lorena Huerta at ELAWC training session. Photo by Stephanie Mesones.

To increase understanding of the seriousness of the problem, East L.A. Women’s Center has partnered with Building Healthy Communities in Boyle Heights. With combined resources they are conducting youth training to address the topic of adolescent relationship abuse and to teach teens about healthy relationships.

The women’s center is also conducting interviews with a range of community members to further analyze the issue. Ultimately, the goal is to create a Boyle Heights free of violence against women and girls.

For more information about services, contact East L.A. Women’s Center, 1255 S. Atlantic Blvd., (323) 526-5819.

For emergencies, contact the Rape & Battering Hotline at (800) 585-6231 (bilingual and confidential).

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