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Help is on the way for Estacada

Grant will bring an advocate and counselor to rural Estacada

With the problem of domestic violence more real than ever, the Clackamas Women's Services office is expanding its help to the people of Estacada.

Thanks to a three-year grant from the Office of Violence Against Women, CWS is hiring a new advocate and full-time counselor who will serve rural Clackamas County.

'We've always had services out here, but this grant will just enhance them,' said Susan Cazier, the community outreach program manager.

Among those enhancements is a space they will rent from the Estacada Community Center beginning in mid-December. The space will have two rooms, one of which will serve as a counseling space, and another that will serve as an office.

While the space will be there full time, the new hires will split their time between Oregon City, Estacada and other rural communities based on appointment schedules.

'The advocate's job is to meet with a victim or survivor and help them with goal setting and finding resources,' Cazier said. 'The counselor will be more in-depth, exploring their beliefs and perceptions while getting more into their emotions.'

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is defined as one person attempting to maintain or gain power and control over another through systematic use of abuse tactics, Cazier said.

There are five tactics that can classify the abuse: physical, emotional, financial, spiritual and sexual.

'Women say that emotional abuse is the worst because it strips away all of their self-esteem,' Cazier said. 'When you're told that you're stupid and that everything is your fault, it undermines who you are.'

What makes the problem even worse is that many victims have a lifetime of abuse dating back to their childhood, which leads them to believe they may not have rights.

'A lot of women we work with have a long-term history of abuse,' she said. 'Our goal is to meet women where they are at, and if they want to stay in their relationship, then we support them in that.

'We don't want to break families up, so if someone says that their husband is beating them, we ask how we can help.'

While no community wants to admit that something like this is present, Cazier insists that rural communities can be even more at risk.

According to her, rural communities have roots that run deeper, making it so the victims aren't able to just pack up and leave to escape the violence. It's also the level of isolation in some communities that compounds the problem.

In addition to the advocates and counselors, CWS has a 24/7 help line in Clackamas County, 503-654-2288. This line is for both victims and people who know of victims to call in hopes that the appropriate resources and help can be supplied.

Cazier stresses that confidentiality is a top priority for CWS and that advocates and counselors can help only people who are interested in receiving it.

The local phone line for the rural office is 503-722-2366 ext. 115, which will have normal business hours. The new advocates are April Quast and Kimberly McClain, while the new counselor is Allison Schultz.

For more information on domestic violence and Clackamas Women's Serivces, visit its website at cwsor.org. The central office is located at 704 Main St., Suite 200 in Oregon City.