BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault in Bakersfield has been providing a critical resource in Kern County since the 1980's.
"The emergency shelter at the alliance has 16 emergency beds, we also have 16 transitional housing beds for individuals that need to stay a but longer", said Louis Gill, CEO of the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault and the Bakersfield Homeless shelter.
Over the last two years, the alliance has received between 900 to 1,000 calls requesting assistance. Gill says most domestic violence victims often escape a violent situation with little to their name.
"We know that an individual that reaches out for help will return to the individual harming them 7 to 10 times before they make a final break, and each time they return it becomes potentially more lethal", said Gill.
Gill says domestic violence crimes are underreported especially crimes against men.
"If they try and report they are being hurt, society often laughs at them they don’t believe them", said Gill.
The Alliance and the Bakersfield Homeless shelter operate under the same umbrella and both are providing a resource for victims.
"At the Bakersfield homeless center over 70% of women report violence in relationships.
Gill says often times the perpetrator is the primary breadwinner which is why victims don't speak up.
"There are so many cultural reasons why people do not want to explain what is going on in their home. Some of faith systems culturally, that’s your husband go home to him, other times it's shame, I can't believe I'm educated and I've wound up here how did this happen", said Gill.
The alliance operates a 24hr hotline, giving victims the ability to reach out for help.
"We have to stop asking the question why does she stay and focus on why is he hurting her, that’s where the crime is being committed", said gill.
24hr hotline for Kern County residents: (661)327-1091