Month-long help for a year-round problem: Grass Valley chiropractor hopes to lead charge in Domestic Violence Awareness month fundraising | TheUnion.com

Month-long help for a year-round problem: Grass Valley chiropractor hopes to lead charge in Domestic Violence Awareness month fundraising

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and if Grass Valley chiropractor Victoria Gorney-Tutak has her way, many local businesses will be opening their hearts — and pocketbooks — to raise funds in an effort to aid local nonprofit Women of Worth.

Gorney-Tutak — or Dr. T, as she prefers to be called — is putting her money where her mouth is. For the month of October, she will be donating 10 percent of all new patient initial exams directly to local nonprofit Women of Worth. She said she is doing so in an attempt to raise awareness of domestic violence and send a message of support to the women and men who are its victims and survivors.

Women of Worth provides services for survivors of violence, abuse, and human trafficking, including a shelter for women and their children fleeing a dangerous situation.

Sandy Escobar is the founder of Women of Worth and is thrilled at Dr. T's generosity and said that the charity she has led since 2001 is always in need of funds.

The need for a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, she said, is ongoing.

"Women of Worth may not have the high bed numbers every year," said Escobar. "We don't have that because we treat them longer. It's quality versus quantity."

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The organization boasts a high success rate, which Escobar attributes to their ability to work long-term with its clients.

In addition to being a doctor of chiropractic medicine, Dr. T is also a doctor of psychology and is a certified addictions counselor, violence counselor, and cognitive behavior therapist. Her training has enabled her to explain why people find themselves in violent relationships in the first place.

"Control. The issue is control," said Gorney-Tutak. "It's all about a 'because I can' mentality. And it's bad tools. Most people don't have the tools in their psychological makeup to deal with a domestic violence perpetrator. It's mainly shock and then it escalates from there. It's a whole circle of violence our community needs to be aware of."

"A lot of people are silent victims and children definitely are innocent victims of domestic violence."

Dr. T said the cycle of domestic violence can be broken only by education and giving people the tools to deal with their anger and conflict resolution skills.

To those who are victims of domestic violence, both Gorney-Tutak and Escobar said the most powerful tool they can possess, given their situation, is knowledge. They urge victims to seek information and look for a way out. Codependency, they agree, is not love.

Gorney-Tutak also has a message she thinks will help other businesses to emulate her own Domestic Violence Awareness Month fundraiser.

"Look at the domestic violence within our community," she said. "Because it hits families and a lot of times people don't talk about it. Everybody wants to be part of something bigger than who they are. And this gives the opportunity for people in the community to join in, hand in hand, to become a bigger part than who they are singly."

Escobar said, "Domestic violence touches everybody. People say, 'oh it's not my problem' but it trickles down. And every business can do something, not just during Domestic Violence Awareness month. It happens 365 days a year."

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.

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