Joe Torre, former professional baseball player and manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, grew up the youngest of five children in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a New York City police detective and revered in his community. He was the cop that made everyone feel safe. Everyone except his own family.
Joe, Sr. ruled his home with an iron fist. He was a physically abusive husband and an emotionally abusive father. The violence that had besieged the Torre household for so many years was a well-kept family secret and stayed a family secret for generations. However, in December of 1995, Ali and Joe Torre attended a seminar called Life Success. As a result of Joe's participation in that seminar, he began to talk openly of his childhood experience with domestic violence. He went public with his family secret in his autobiography, Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series.
Ali and Joe Torre wanted to educate children about the issue of domestic violence. In 2002, they created the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is "educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives".
Initially, the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation focused its resources on awareness building through a local and national multimedia campaign. However, the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation quickly determined that they want to educate children about violence so that children understand that they are not alone and that there is hope.
In 2005, the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation opened its first school-based programming initiative, Margaret's Place, at Hostos-Lincoln Academy, Bronx, NY. Margaret's Place, a tribute to his mom, is a comprehensive program which provides students with a safe room in school where they can meet with a professional counselor trained in domestic-violence intervention and prevention. Currently, the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation has ten fully funded and operational Margaret's Places in New York City and Westchester County. The sites are fully funded and have a minimum commitment of three years.
I didn't know about this charity until a friend of mine brought it to my attention. After doing some research I realized it really hit home for me. Those of you who know me know I was in a really abusive relationship for years. Under some great advice (this morning surprisingly) I've decided not to let that man affect my life anymore. For some reason talking about him has happened a lot lately and I've realized that it's my own fault for keeping up the discussion by agreeing to answer questions and discuss him.
Of course I was never married or had children that were affected by his rage, but it affected my life greatly and has ultimately made me the person I am today. I believe I would probably be a completely different woman if I hadn't been through said relationship.
Domestic Violence is not only physical. What most people don't understand is that a person (man, woman, or child) can be hurt and scarred just as badly emotionally as they can physically. The emotional abuse, I found, took a worse toll on my life than anything physical could have.
Abuse doesn't just affect a person when it happens or in the moments after, or during recovery. It affects the way they live their life, who they trust around them, and the choices they make. I feel as though doing a spotlight on blog about this charity is a closing for me. A way for me to move on with my life. Baseball has always been a huge part of it, and for a while I was afraid that because of my past relationship I would give up on my love for the game all together. Luckily, things happened in my life that forced me to not give up, and reminded me about why I'd loved baseball since I was a little girl in the first place.
I'm so glad that what happened to me (even though I wish it hadn't happened at all) happened early enough- before I had children, before I got married. I know now that the way I continually let my ex treat me was not "ok," no matter how much I convinced myself that it was. I never want my children to think it's okay for a man (or a woman) to treat their significant other in that manner.
Joe and Ali Torre believe it's important to educate children about the effects of domestic violence and I couldn't agree more. I grew up in a family where my father and mother never treated each other with anything other than love and respect. I only remember once them getting into a huge argument but it never escalated past yelling, and ended with my father getting down on the floor trying to make a distinction between "chocolate... vanilla... chocolate... vanilla!" (I'm not sure WHAT he was trying to use that as a metaphor for)... I laughed... a 5 year old laugh.. my parents looked at each other, my dad started cracking up- and though the fight probably wasn't resolved, for that moment it was over.
My parents loved me and always told me that it was never okay for a man to hit a woman, my dad being a cop was always the up most advocate against that, but I never really was talked to or talked about emotional abuse. By the time I had been with my ex long enough for his emotional abuse to infiltrate my confidence, the "no guy should ever hit you" rule was null-in-void.
The Torre's recognize that emotional abuse affects someone just as deeply as physical, and I couldn't be more in love with this charity. Thankfully Torre has recognized and dealt with the abuse he dealt with as a child, and I can only pray that what I've dealt with will always help me to be a strong woman so that my children don't have to deal with the kind of abuse Torre dealt with and witnessed. I wish what happened to me had never happened but I'm glad it made me just that much stronger of a person.
I truly believe that this is one of those organizations where getting the word out helps more than anything. Education IS prevention. Funding will not only help with the education but will ultimately help prevent domestic abuse in family homes.
To donate you can click here. Ali and Joe Torre will match any donations up to $500,000. Donate $50 and you're actually donating $100! If that isn't awesome, I don't know what is!
You can also order this amazing key chain- its a house and a key and when you flip the house over it's Home Plate engraved with Joe Torre's signature. You can follow this link to do so.
I encourage everyone to check out Torre's foundation- it's a great cause and really hits home for me. No child should ever be abused or witness abuse. Parents should know that its not ok to put up with abuse, and everyone should be able to say "no" and feel like it's okay to walk away. I will be donating to Torre's charity tomorrow morning and would like to rally and get at least $500 donated in the name of this blog. Please comment when you've donated, or send me an email, and we'll tally the donations at the end of the month.
Please make sure and spread the word. Domestic violence is NOT OKAY. We can help prevent it!!!!!
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