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Patricia Overberg, the first known domestic violence shelter director in the United States to help male victims along with female victims, passed away today (August 11, 2011). Patricia is being honored by men’s rights activists as a hero and civil rights pioneer, similar to the shelter director Erin Pizzey in England.
From 1990 to 1998, Patricia directed the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council in Lancaster, California, also known as the “Valley Oasis” shelter. After realizing male victims had no place to go, she courageously changed her women-only policy by setting aside one of her shelters for male victims and their children, and in rare cases of overflow she would obtain consent from residents in another one of her shelters to mix the sexes, which, she says, never created a problem. Nonetheless, Patricia was mistreated by other shelter directors who insisted services should only be for women. The mistreatment became so severe that she filed a complaint with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, as she explains in her sworn declaration at http://www.ncfmla.org/pdf/overberg.pdf
Patricia later joined NCFM’s Advisory Board and the Speaker’s Bureau of Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) and remained closely in touch with battered men’s advocates until the date of her death.
Source: National Coalition for Men – Los Angeles