MONTECITO, Calif. - For the first time since the pandemic began, Domestic Violence Solutions hosted its annual luncheon.
The event at the Montecito Club on Sunday coincided with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Jenni-Alise Ramirez called it an important time to thank donors and to remember victims.
"We also want to remember those that are no longer here, we call them silent witness stories because they are no longer able to speak their stories."
Organizers read from the stories of ten victims including two local women killed during the pandemic.
The director of training at A Call to Men served as keynote speaker.
Rickie Houston works internationally and with the NFL and other organizations to help men break free from the so- called 'Man Box' that he said locks men into inauthentic roles.
"We begin to engage at an early age and treat women and girls with value and not property and not objects and not sexual objects. That is the beginning that is the foundation of how we eradicate domestic violence."
Guests included Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams.
Hannah-Beth Jackson who was described as one of founders of Domestic Violence Solutions said, "Men have a responsibility in all this as well, and we need to work with our male partners, and develop a better level of respect and appreciation of each other so that when we disagree violence isn't the outcomes."
The outgoing executive director Jan Campbell was honored with a bouquet.
She said the work she did was meaningful.
"When you grow up in a home with domestic or intimate partner violence the chances that you are going to become an abuser or an abused person yourself are very high. And is that what we want for out children? No!"
Organizers believe abuse has been under-reported during the pandemic and they want people to know Domestic Violence Solutions is there to help.
DVS offers a crisis hotline at 805-964-5245, confidential shelter, support groups and more.
For more information, visit dvsolutions.org.