MY STORY

Being a domestic abuse expert and teaching a course on domestic abuse is not where I thought my career would take me. In high school, I had every intention of being an actress; I thought I would be another Helen Hayes and star on Broadway. Then after 2 years of taking acting lessons, doing auditions, and working to make ends meet, I thought, “I don’t want to be another starving actress and 20 years later still waiting for my big break.”

Then I met the man of my dreams; or so I thought. Because he came from old line money of Los Angeles and his father was a high profile attorney for one of the largest law firms in Los Angeles – I thought I was Cinderella. However, I soon discovered that this was not the dream relationship I thought it was. Since the family was very prominent, there were never ever going to be bruises or broken bones. It took approximately 4 years for me get out of this relationship. However, he did encourage me to go to college. Being at the height of the women’s movement, I found my voice. While working on my bachelor’s degree, I fell in love with political science. As my mother put it, I found a different stage.

MY WORK

After working for 5 years, some of those years working on political campaigns… including Women Running Against Reagan (working for the National Organization for Women on the Mondale/Ferraro campaign), I became the registered lobbyist for the California Federation of Business and Professional Women. While working for the Federation, I worked with then State Legislator Lucille Roybal-Allard on one of the first spousal rape bills in the country. At the time, no one in Sacramento knew that I was a survivor of abuse. When it came time to bring the legislation to the first committee, I volunteered to tell my story. At then end of my testimony, there was one legislator who said he was sorry this happened to me but didn’t believe a husband raped a wife. I was so livid that when I returned to Los Angeles, I called the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council to ask what they did. They had just formed the Legislation Committee and I was asked to chair the committee. I had the good fortune to chair this committee for 6 years and work with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to pass legislation on behalf of battered women in California.

Following this, I worked as a consultant on welfare reform for Los Angeles County. After two years in the position, I was asked by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (now Futures Without Violence) to work on welfare programs for victims of domestic violence at both the state and national level. I was privileged to work on this issue for 6 years. As the issue and contract was coming to an end, California passed legislation making it mandatory to have domestic violence classes in graduate schools of social work and psychology. I was then hired by the University of Southern California School of Social Work (now USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work). I have been an adjunct faculty member for 14 years and currently an Adjunct Professor where teach courses on domestic violence, a course on leadership, a course on policy and advocacy and a course on global violence against women.

OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Appointed Member of Los Angeles Mayor’s DV Steering Committee

Consultant for City of Tel Aviv, Israel and City of Los Angeles joint project on workplace domestic violence

Consultant to Los Angeles County DV Unit

Team Advisor/Trainer for California Statewide DDV/Medical/Forensic Training Team

Appointed Member of Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Death Review Team

Legislative Advocate for California Federation of Business & Professional Women

Appointed Member of California Senate Task Force on Family Relations Court

Appointed Member of the Los Angeles County Family Violence Task Force

Member of California State Task Force creating state regulations for welfare and domestic violence

Candidate for California State Assembly

 

EDUCATION

Ph.D. Sanctus Theologica Institute

Master’s of Public Administration (MPA)
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

B.A. in Political Science
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA