LACBA's Domestic Violence Project helps victims of all genders, races, communities, and economic classes; every case and every story is different.
WARNING: The text below contains language that some may find offensive.
"He calls me cheetah, like it's a cute little nickname. But it's not. He just wants me to remember the time he burned spots across my face with his lit cigarette. He thinks it's funny. I used to laugh, too. But, now then he started to beat our daughter. I don't think it's so funny anymore. I've still got the scars on my face, but I don't have to get anymore of them. Thanks for helping me and the kids." –Martha
"He drinks, and he drinks, and then he gets drunk. I've seen him drink two six-packs during one televised soccer game. Eventually, he smashes things around the house. It can be anything…TVs, dishes, telephones, picture frames. You name it...whatever is within his reach. The kids are terrified. He hasn't actually hit me, just some pushes and shoves. But, it's like we were all waiting for the next explosion. Thank you. We're in a shelter now, and he can't scare us anymore. My son stopped wetting his bed." –Rachel
"By volunteering for the DV project, you see the immediate impact the law can have on protecting those most vulnerable. As attorneys, we are in the unique position to give hope for a better life to survivors who previously had none." –Immigration Attorney Heather L. Poole
"He hit me hard across the mouth, and I fell into the entertainment unit. Something broke, because there was glass around me. I cut my hands when I tried to get up, but he kicked me down again. I was finally able to call the cops. When LAPD arrived, they told me that since I'm the bigger guy; either neither of us or both of us was going to jail. I didn't want to go to jail, so I came to court instead. I needed some help. Since the judge kicked him out of our apartment, I can sleep again. Thanks for accepting me, and treating me nicely." –Justice
"As attorneys, paralegal, and legal professionals, volunteering at the LACBA DVP gives you the instant opportunity to help victims of domestic violence, elder and young, male and female. The clients that the LACBA-DVP serves will receive an immediate response from the Court on the day that we volunteer. I find professional and personal fulfillment in correcting many wrongs in the area of Domestic Violence."-–Ritzel Starleigh Ngo, Attorney
"I thought he was going to kill me one day. He dragged me from the car, and pulled me really close to the edge of the road. There was a big drop into the canyon. He punched me on the back of my head. I must have passed out, I'm not sure. But, when I came to, he was gone, and I walked about 10 miles to get home. When I got there, he acted like nothing happened. So did I. With the help of the Domestic Violence Project, I'm not happy yet, but I'm safe. Maybe one day I can be happy, too." –Ruth
"Victims of domestic violence are in desperate need of our legal assistance. That, for me, is my duty-to see justice served." -Sydney Spiller, Law Student
"One Friday evening, my boyfriend picked me up from work. When we got into the elevator to the parking lot, he demanded my paycheck. I refused. He pressed the emergency button, stopped the elevator, and slammed me against the elevator wall by shoving me with his body. He cocked his fist, and punched me in the eye. I fell to the floor, and he kicked my body with his shoed feet. Then, he knelt next down, put both his hands around my neck, and strangled me. When I came to, the elevator doors were open, and he was gone. I went to LAPD and was given an Emergency Protective Order, which was effective for five days. I was told to go to Department 8 at Superior Court on First and Hill Streets, Los Angeles. Upon arriving to Department 8, I was assisted by Los Angeles County Bar Association's Domestic Violence Project. The staff and volunteers at the Project prepared my petition for a Restraining Order. The order was granted, enjoining my boyfriend from annoying, striking, or harassing me. In addition, the order restricted him from coming within 100 yards of me, my home, and my place of employment. The Domestic Violence Project also prepared me for an upcoming hearing, and provided me with social service referrals." –Isabela
"I immediately realized the volunteers do much more than merely fill in pages, check off boxes, take declarations, or transcribe histories. Like a counselor or psychologist, they help the victims reveal their heartbreaking stories—get them to open up and recount their ordeals in the details and chronologies required by law. As such, they are often the victims' only outlet for their anguish—often the only ones who ever heard their life's story and experiences, or at least who had done so without passing judgment or leveling criticism. It is often a cathartic process that produces tears of relief from the victim and tears of sympathy from the volunteer—the emotional impact Deborah told of. For the victim, relief comes from realizing someone in the world actually cares about them and their lives and miseries. It validates them as a human being who has worth to themselves and to others, and who deserves help and protection. I saw even that small connection to another person give victims hope for the first time and the perception that there might yet be happiness in their lives." –Kymiya, law student volunteer. Read the rest of Kymiya's story.
"'You're fucking lucky you're pregnant.' That's what he said to me, but I didn't feel lucky. The last time I was pregnant, he kicked me so hard that I vomited, and had to go to the hospital. This time he wasn't kicking me…but, it was still bad. He slapped me twice, and then he spit in my face. Our little girl saw everything, and started to cry. I ran to comfort her. I got a push in the back and he said, 'I'm pushing your mom because she's a bitch.' I finally had to courage to call the police. He was arrested. Once he was in jail, I came to the Domestic Violence clinic for help. Thanks for helping me get a restraining order." –Sabrina
"Regularly, my husband told me he was going to kick my ass. He said, "I'll smash your face so bad that even your mother won't recognize you.' I was afraid for a long time. I'd seen him be violent on the streets, and I believed his threats. He would push me, shove me...nothing too serious. Once, when I said I was going to call the cops, he said, "Go ahead. Call them. I'm not afraid of the police. But, if I get arrested, one of these days, I'll get out. I'll make sure you're never able to call the cops again.' I've been so afraid of him that it has made me sick. My doctor said I better do something. That's why I came to your clinic for help." –Maria C.
"I work at a fancy hotel in Century City, and no one knows I'm gay. When I broke up with my boyfriend, he told me he was going to 'out' me. He calls my place of employment around 10 times per day. I feel forced to answer his calls, because of his threat. Once, when I didn't take his call, he brought a sex toy to the front desk. Now, he's calling my 16-year-old daughter and my 81-year-old mother. I can't take it anymore. I need help so he'll stop harassing me." –Anonymous
"Volunteering for the Domestic Violence Project offers me the opportunity to help those who for the very first time are seeking help. They have simply been too scared to come to the office before. It's a way of offering hope and guidance, to encourage them by letting them know it can be different and they don't have to live this way."—Jeffrey Field, Esquire
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