Serious topic addressed at LCWC program

La Crescenta Woman's Club members from left President Rita Even; Program Chairperson Sally Benson and speaker Kim Plater, co-founder of DVAC at a recent meeting of the club.

The La Crescenta Woman’s Club is mainly known for its philanthropic outreach projects and festive affairs. However, the club also addresses serious issues that affect too many women. This was the case for one of the last meetings of 2009.
Each month during the nine months that the La Crescenta Woman’s Club is in session the women have a variety of half-hour programs after lunch. Kim Plater, a member of the Covina Woman’s Club and a co-founder of the Domestic Violence Action Coalition, spoke of the importance of the DVAC including how and why the organization was formed. She was joined by her friend and colleague Alice Slaughter who is the president of the Covina Woman’s Club.
The pair has worked together in law enforcement for several years: Plater as chief of police for the Cal Poly Pomona University police department and Slaughter as one of her detectives.
As police officers, the women had worked on many cases of domestic violence and related crimes but it was in 2007, when Monica Thomas Harris was tortured and murdered by her estranged husband, that they decided to take action.
After being sentenced to 16 months in jail for crimes committed against Monica, her husband had been allowed back on the streets to “get his affairs in order” before he was to begin his sentence. No protective order had been put in place, and Monica Harris was not warned that he would be free. The worst scenario happened: he killed her.
Slaughter and Plater believe that by not giving protection to the victims in these types of cases, judges and district attorneys don’t give the proper importance to this offense. Outraged, they took on the DA of that jurisdiction, spoke to reporters of two newspapers, received the backing of the Covina Woman’s Club, held a vigil in Monica’s memory, rallied the community, formed the Domestic Violence Action Coalition and again demanded action from the DA’s office.
They began blogging on crime and news stories websites and continued meeting with the press.
All of that in the first two weeks of active participation, moving them forward with the battle.
During the pair’s presentation, the members of LCWC learned that people from all walks of life, financial strata, age group and gender are victims of domestic abuse.
The women of the DVAC continue to spread the word about this serious problem. Their plans for the future include establishing a legal defense fund for women and producing a video that can be used by other groups to learn how they, too, can form community groups to better this situation. They are also writing two important pieces of legislation to reduce instances of these crimes.
It was a very sobering subject for the members of the La Crescenta Woman’s Club to hear, but a subject club members felt was very important.

Courtesy of Gloria Lee