August 18, 2011

Domestic Violence Advocate Who Refused to Discriminate Leaves Lasting Legacy


Torrance, CA: Patricia Overberg, 77, a pioneering social worker and domestic violence advocate died at home on August 11, 2011. Overberg was the former Director of the Valley Oasis Shelter in Lancaster, California. The Shelter is a refuge for victims of domestic violence. What made her life noteworthy, was that she refused to discriminate against gay men, lesbians and transgendered clients. She recruited a transgendered volunteer to work at the shelter.

Erin Pizzey, founder of the first domestic violence shelter for women said, "Pat was a brave, honest and courageous woman.  She faced persecution from her colleagues in the domestic violence field and fought back.  All of us who work at the coal face of human relationships owe Pat a great deal."

Overberg's refused to discriminate against anyone based on sex or sexual orientation, and as a result many of her peers treated her as a pariah.  Overberg testified that she "was subjected to continuous abuse by other shelter directors for sheltering battered men," in a 2002 deposition.

Our world needs more Patricia Overberg’s in the world.

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