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... among the 36 Oregon counties, Klamath ranks a dismal third in child abuse and neglect.

Senator Doug Whitsett
R- Klamath Falls, District 28

Phone: 503-986-1728 900 Court St. NE, S-303, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett
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E-Newsletter 1/6/12
Oregon 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.

A very 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.

Klamath 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.

Abusive 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.

Marta’s 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.

In 2010, 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.

Those 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.

Marta’s 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.

The 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.

Marta’s 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.

The Center 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.

Marta’s 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 community.

Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon no one will.

Best regards,



KBC added: Klamath Crisis Center - Marta's House. Contact: Phone: 541-884-0390   klacri@aol.com

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              Page Updated: Saturday January 07, 2012 03:57 AM  Pacific

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