Zonta Club of Cleveland participates in community forum

Zonta Club of Cleveland participated in the Zonta Says No campaign to end violence against women with a community forum on October 9, 2013. Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal Court and Sondra Miller, the President and CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center were the keynote speakers.

Judge Adrine has been a long time advocate for the prevention of domestic violence. He is the administrative and presiding judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court. Judge Adrine co-authored the Ohio Domestic Violence Law and is the Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.

Since 1974, The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has been dedicated to providing comprehensive 24-hour services to survivors of sexual violence and sex trafficking. Onsite counseling and advocacy services address the healing needs of children, teens and adults. Hospital and legal advocates provide community based services in crisis services to assist survivors in each stage of recovery.

CEO Sondra Miller addressed both the incidences of rape in the community and that of family violence. She recalled a case of an 86 survivor who indicated child sexual abuse beginning at age 5 years. She cited a study in which it is estimated that 1-in-4 women may have experienced some form of violence in their lives. While rape is not predicated upon family violence, as it is a crime of power and domination, Ms. Miller reported some survivors who also share life stories of abuse by family or partners. She cited the return to abuser rate of eight times prior to leaving permanently or through fatalities.

Judge Adrine advocates for laws to protect the individual from violence. He reported statutes that prior to 1978 allowed men to beat women as long as the stick was not thicker than a thumb. Legal advocacy through the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Women Together battered Women Shelter, women’s organizations, medical personnel, judges and attorneys advocated for legislative changes resulting in the change in laws that Judge Adrine has been a part of crafting. Judge Adrine is developing the Family Justice Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He requested a study on access to services for a survivor of violence. The results revealed an average of 20 appointments in various locations were necessary for the individual to start the recovery process. The Family Justice Center will provide each needed service in one location. The attendees enjoyed the presentation and raised questions during the dialogue period of the program.

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