Group Targets Abuse of Women on Farms

The Farmworker Women's Leadership Project, which will launch a domestic violence education campaign in Ventura County later this month, was honored in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for its efforts to empower farm worker women across the state.

The group was one of seven organizations nationwide to win the Marshall's Domestic Peace Prize, which carries a $10,000 award. The award is jointly sponsored by the Marshall's department store chain and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The money will be used to compile a statewide directory of social service providers available to Spanish-speaking women in crisis.

Since the leadership project's creation in 1992, organizers have traversed the state educating farm worker women on domestic violence and their options. Oxnard has a small chapter of the project that will launch a domestic violence counteroffensive later this month.

"As soon as women find out they are not alone and they know they are being abused, they won't take it anymore," said Milli Trevino-Sauceda, a founding member of the grass-roots effort.

Along with educational sessions, the group performs a skit full of examples of the abuse many women experience every day in the home. Organizers say they intend to bring the program to Oxnard sometime in October.

"Many women we talk to are afraid of their husbands," said Maria Carmona, an Imperial Valley farm worker who came to Washington to accept the award. "They don't even know they are being abused. In our culture, you're taught that whatever your husband says is right."

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