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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa

News > Only On CBS2: LA Mayor Villaraigosa Discusses Childhood Secret

Only On CBS2: LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Discusses Childhood Secret

Antonio Villaraigosa

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — “It’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve ever felt helpless,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recalls.

The mayor of Los Angeles sat down with CBS2 to discuss, for the first time, a secret he’s kept since childhood.

Villaraigosa said he grew up in an abusive home, watching his alcoholic father repeatedly beat his mother.

(credit: CBS)

More than five decades later, those memories continue to haunt him.

“Being with my little sister, hiding under the bed, hearing the screaming – we had to witness the terror that comes with watching your mom getting beat,” Villaraigosa said. “…Those scenes that get repeated in your mind are images you never forget.”

His father left when he was five years old.

“It wasn’t just physical – it was the psychological violence, and usually in fits of rage that were associated with drinking,” Villaraigosa said.

He said he has no relationship towards his father and does not hold anger towards him either.

When the economy crashed the mayor met many boys with whom he could relate.

(credit: CBS)

“…And I can almost tell before I ask them about their family situation…because I grew up like they did,” Villaraigosa said.

As a boy, Villaraigosa was kicked out of school and had anger issues. He said his mother helped him to turn his life around. She became his role model, each year becoming stronger, and, later, counseling other victims.

“Deep inside there’s this feeling of helplessness and this feeling that I kind of failed her by not protecting her on some level,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Now, as L.A.’s mayor, he has used that feeling to protect others.

Villaraigosa has secured millions in federal funds and private donations to fight domestic violence through an organization called Safe L.A. Last year, he partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department to add domestic abuse response teams to all 21 police divisions.

But fighting the shame is an uphill battle.

“They’ll deny anything happened, even though the whole block heard the screaming,” Villaraigosa said of many victims.

Villaraigosa had recently been elected as mayor when he witnessed a man beating up a woman on a city street.

“I jumped out of the car and I started chasing this guy around and my security just freaked out – ‘Get in the car! Get in the car!’”

The mayor caught the man but he couldn’t save the victim. She wasn’t willing to press charges.

Villaraigosa said he hopes his courage to speak out will empower others to come forward.

“That was the beauty of my mom,” he said, adding, “My mom talked about it and that was the strength of her.”

Mayor Villaraigosa said his new year message, in his mother’s memory, is to stop hiding from his past.

“That’s why I was willing to talk about my own situation, because we should all be willing to put a light on the dark things that happen in our life.”

For more on domestic violence awareness and how you can get involved visit Safe L.A. online.


Stop Abuse From Existing (SAFE)

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Comment by Ann Dandridge Public Relations on March 13, 2012 at 8:16am

Dee Reynolds


-- In honor of National Women's History Month, women and teen girls are being inspired and empowered to overcome sexual assault, domestic abuse, and destructive relationships. --

Bookcover and author - Senica Evans

Chicago, IL -- 1 in every 3 women are sexually assaulted and 1 in every 6 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. The book Married to Himinspires women and teen girls to overcome sexual assault and domestic abuse.

Senica Evans is all too familiar with this reality, which is why she wrote Married to Him. It is a true story of her personal experiences with domestic abuse and sexual assault and how she ultimately overcame them. She feels it is imperative that women and teen girls learn "to break the cycle of destruction and shift their mindset from victim to survivor."

Evans founded SennySen to empower, educate, and enlighten women and teen girls to overcome domestic abuse, sexual assault and to recognize the signs of destructive relationships. She has a PhD in overcoming destructive relationships. She has worked with several community organizations such as PAVE and FAM Entertainment.

For media interviews, contact Dee Reynolds at 708-872-7366 or visit www.sennysen.com

Comment by Ann Dandridge Public Relations on January 23, 2012 at 11:41pm

Nat'l Network to End Domestic Violence        www.NNEDV.org 

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Comment by Ann Dandridge Public Relations on January 23, 2012 at 11:27pm
Comment by Ann Dandridge Public Relations on January 23, 2012 at 11:23pm

PART TWO of Two... List of Domestic Violence Coalitions by State

Provided by:  The Nicole Brown Foundation www.NicoleBrown.org

Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (Jane Doe, Inc.)
Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Minnesota Coalition For Battered Women

Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition
Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence
New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women
New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Puerto Rico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Texas Council on Family Violence
Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Virginians Against Domestic Violence
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Comment by Ann Dandridge Public Relations on January 23, 2012 at 9:08pm



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