BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre, speaking today at a summit on the need for awareness and prevention of domestic violence, described his childhood in a household victimized by such abuse and how his experiences ultimately motivated him to become active in the campaign to protect and educate other victims.
Also at the event, the National Domestic Violence Summit - Building Solutions, Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston announced nearly $1 million in grants benefiting 93 groups in 21 states throughout the country. The grants support online education, technology that improves program delivery and empowerment of victims.
"The impact of domestic violence touches every sector of society -- from family, to school, to the workplace -- yet it is an issue that is all too often unseen or ignored," said Gaston. "We salute and support Mr. Torre and others like him who courageously work to prevent domestic violence and support its victims."
Delivering the keynote address at the summit, Torre said that as the youngest of five children, his older siblings did their best to protect him from their father, who abused their mother.
"It wasn't talked about, but there were whispers and I thought I had done something wrong," Torre said.
He also said that he didn't recall seeing his father hit his mother, but he knew the family had to be very careful when his father was at home. When Torre came home from school, he said, he would go directly to a friend's house if he saw his father's car parked outside.
He said it wasn't until he attended a self-help seminar in 1995 that his long-repressed memories of his father's abuse suddenly returned.
"I found myself standing in front of a room full of strangers crying my eyes out, talking about my feelings," he said.
That experience prompted him to call one of his sisters to learn more about the abuse his mother suffered at the hands of his father and then to establish the Safe at Home Foundation in memory of his mother, Margaret.
As part of its commitment to the education and empowerment of victims, the Verizon Foundation will support an ongoing partnership with the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation to establish a Margaret's Place in a New Jersey high school. Margaret's Place combines individual and group counseling as well as interactive workshops to teach students about healthy relationships, and talk to them about abuse witnessed in the home or perpetrated in their own behavior.
The Verizon Foundation and its partners, the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), Family Violence Prevention Fund and National Domestic Violence Hotline, hosted the National Domestic Violence Summit. The event featured panel discussions on the effects of domestic violence on the workplace and workforce, how technology can enhance programs, and highlighted effective programs that deliver substantive outcomes in prevention of and recovery from domestic violence.
For example, 21 percent of fulltime employed adults in the United States are victims of domestic violence, and there are 5,000 cases of workplace violence reported every day.
Verizon Wireless CEO Denny Strigl and an executive panel including Yolanda B. Jimenez, commissioner of the Office to Combat Domestic Violence of the City of New York, spoke to the summit attendees about the importance of companies taking an active role in addressing the issue of domestic violence.
Verizon Wireless has a longstanding commitment to the issue of the domestic violence prevention through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program. Since Oct. 2001, the program has collected more than 3 million wireless phones and recycled more than 700,000, given $2 million in cash grants and nearly $10 million in wireless phones and service to domestic violence prevention organizations.
With health-related costs of intimate-partner violence exceeding $5.8 billion each year - $4.1 billion in direct medical and mental health care services, and more than $1.7 billion in lost productivity - summit leaders called on nonprofits, corporations and government agencies to work toward increased collaboration and communication.
"Domestic violence does not limit itself to the home, and therefore, we cannot limit our support," said Kim Wells, executive director, CAEPV. "We have to look beyond traditional outlets and implement support systems throughout - at home, at work, at school - because everyone here today is touched by domestic violence, and everyone here has the opportunity to help."
Wells sited the landmark CAEPV study that found 64 percent of domestic violence victims say their ability to work is affected by violence. More than one-third of co-workers feel obliged to cover for a victim, performing his or her work or offering excuses for the victim. Additionally, 21 percent of victims surveyed eventually lost their jobs due to the effects of the abuse.
Proceedings of the National Domestic Violence Summit will be posted by Nov. 27 on the Verizon Foundation Web site at www.verizon.com/foundation.
Verizon delivers technology that touches life. The Verizon Foundation uses that technology and its financial resources to improve literacy and K-12 education; help families victimized by domestic violence; and improve the delivery of health care. In 2005, the foundation awarded more than $74 million in grants to charitable and nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, which is one of the largest employee volunteer programs in the United States and responsible for 2 million hours of community service since 2000 and $35.6 million in combined contributions to nonprofits in 2005 alone.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.