“Rather than celebrate 43 months without any [domestic violence fatalities], the burden is we just had one,” he said. “That’s the old mark now.” Suhr said fear prevents many victims from reporting sexual and physical abuse, so the Police Department in October 2011 formed a Special Victims Unit to provide professional service to them and their families.
Though the department has made great strides, “we have a lot of work to do,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who on Tuesday introduced a resolution reaffirming The City’s commitment to the justice campaign and declaring Feb. 14 as One Billion Rising for Justice Day. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the resolution Tuesday.
The gathering planned at City Hall at 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day will include music, dance and women sharing their stories, including Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, a survivor of rape. “It took many years to let go of the shame and lack of self-love,” she said, adding the event “allows many of us who never saw justice to stand up and speak up.” Beyond that, the District Attorney’s Office, activist group V-Day and Department of the Status of Women are holding their first free legal clinic targeting domestic violence and sexual assault victims on March 1 at Hastings College of the Law.