statistics paint a grim picture of local family violence
and neglect. Klamath County ranks in the top tenth
percentile in domestic violence, child abuse and the use
of illegal drugs. Our local rate of child abuse and
neglect stands at an astounding twenty five cases per
one thousand children. That rate of abuse is twice as
high as the Oregon and national averages. In fact among
the 36 Oregon counties, Klamath ranks a dismal third in
child abuse and neglect.
What kind of
a craven coward would beat his wife or child senseless
for any reason? Personally, I cannot fathom what would
cause a man to physically or sexually abuse a woman or
child even once. Yet it happens on a daily basis in our
community. The abuse is usually serial and prolonged.
small percentage of the domestic and sexual violent acts
that are committed are ever reported to law enforcement
authorities. Of those victims that do report, we know
that, on average, they have previously experienced
violent intimate partner abuse at least seven times.
Domestic and sexual violence affects not only those
abused, but witnesses, family members, co-workers,
friends and the community at large.
County suffers from culture where domestic violence,
sexual violence, stalking and child abuse has become
commonplace and is inexplicably accepted by many in the
community. In addition, Klamath County experiences
significant sex trafficking.
behavior is often both familial and generational.
Children who witness domestic violence are victims
themselves. Growing up amidst violence predisposes them
to a multitude of social and physical problems. Constant
exposure to violence in the home and abusive role models
teaches these children that violence is a normal way of
life and places them at risk of becoming society’s next
generation of victims and abusers.
House/ Klamath Crisis Center is working hard to do
something about this blight on our communities. Wanda
Powless and her capable staff at Marta’s House/Klamath
Crisis Center provide a variety of services to victims
of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Among those
services are twenty-four hour emergency shelter, a
twenty-four hour crisis help line, twenty-four hour
in-person response to the emergency room for sexual
assault victims, and extensive support services designed
to help victims disengage from abusers and learn to live
an abuse free and productive life.
Marta’s House/Klamath Crisis Center sheltered more than
170 battered women and more than 180 abused or neglected
children. The facility is usually at its full capacity
of eighteen clients. Sadly, a larger number of victims
were turned away only because of lack of space and
resources are being expanded through the purchase and
ongoing renovation of the home adjacent to Marta’s
House. Additionally, the renovation of a twenty-eight
unit motel, now called Turtle Cove, will provide safe
low-cost housing for victims while they get back on
their feet and transition into an abuse free life.
House/ Klamath Crisis Center’s first priority is
rightfully the safety of their clients. However, the
staff clearly understands that providing critically
needed services to victims in crisis does not prevent
the abuse that caused the crisis. They know that the
value of prevention trumps post-incident intervention.
For that reason they expend a great deal of time,
energy, and resources in both providing sanctuary to
victims and preventative education.
reality is that most domestic and sexual violence is
committed by men and boys. It is familial and
generational wherein boys grow up believing that the
violence they see and experience is normal and is part
of what is expected in being a man. Kim McArthur and
retired police Lieutenant Mark McDaniel are leading the
yeoman effort to break that never ending cycle of
learned violent behavior. Their PAWS for Change
(Prevention, Awareness, Wellness and Strength) program
focuses on educating and mentoring young men that
respect and equal treatment for women and girls is what
being a real man is all about.
House/Klamath Crisis Center is funded primarily by
private sector grants and contributions of money,
supplies and volunteer labor. This structure has allowed
the Center to manage its facilities, services and staff
relatively free of the costs and constraints of
government bureaucracy. The Center rivals the local Food
Bank in its ability to stretch, enhance, and multiply
the use of donated money.
has remained viable and continues to grow because it is
community oriented and community supported. It has
engaged a variety of community partners in a more
holistic approach to reducing family violence.
house/ Klamath Crisis Center is truly a local success
story. We should all do whatever we can to support their
efforts in providing critically needed services to our
remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon no one
added: Klamath Crisis Center
Marta's House. Contact: Phone: 541-884-0390