A planned billboard by Casa de las Madres, a nonprofit that aids victims of domestic abuse. The message is intended to counter a comment by San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi that his alleged abuse of his wife was a "private matter."
In San Francisco, newly elected sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will go before a court of law to face domestic abuse charges on Feb. 24. But in the court of public opinion, he has already received a drubbing for the way he seemed to publicly minimize charges that he roughed up his wife, calling it a “private matter.”
A local nonprofit that helps victims of domestic abuse says it's planning to put up a billboard that takes direct aim at Mirkarimi’s comment. Casa de las Madres on Thursday announced it had raised the $4,000 it needed to buy the space for its emphatic message: “Domestic Violence is NEVER a private matter.”
“It started with a statement that an act of alleged domestic violence was a private matter,” said Kathy Black, executive director of the nonprofit. “No one countered it. Domestic violence is a legal matter. It’s against the law.”
The billboard is also intended “to reassure victims … that they have a right to call and ask for help, they have the right to call 9-1-1 or a hotline and say ‘what are my options?’”
The billboard's planned location about six blocks from the courthouse was chosen for its high commuter traffic, Black said. The spot was picked through Loudsauce.com, a site that connects causes with available advertising space, she said. The billboard will appear on Feb. 15 or 16, a week before Mirkarimi's trial starts, she said.
Black said it’s not intended to be a comment about the sheriff’s guilt or innocence, but it definitely is about the comment he made.
“You don’t want the top law enforcer to be sending out a message diminishing a crime, whether he is involved or not,” said Black.
Casa de las Madres, a 35-year-old organization in the city runs a 24-hour hotline for domestic abuse calls, provides emergency shelter for victims and trains police officers on how to better recognize domestic violence.
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