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April 10, 2000

Woman inspires crime victims to 'Dare to Dream'

TUMWATER - Elizabeth Faith didn't immediately recognize the violence around her. She came from a good family, had a college degree and a pretty good job. Living in Seattle with her boyfriend, to her, life appeared to be pretty good.

Faith would later realize she was hiding behind her perception of who domestic violence victims were. Her two-year relationship rocked with domestic violence. She tried to leave eight times. "He would just stalk me," she said.

Faith will share her story during Crime Victims Day "Dare to Dream" April 13 in the auditorium of the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) building in Tumwater. She is one of the thousands of claimants who receive assistance from the Crime Victims Compensation Program managed by the department.

The stalking forced Faith to take refuge at her sister's home in Bellevue. It was there that the estranged relationship would finally explode in violence. At 10 p.m. one evening, her ex-boyfriend broke in through a window.

"He went really insane. I've never seen anyone go so insane. He completely trashed my sisters house turning everything upside down."

He sexually assaulted Faith that night, beat her badly breaking numerous bones and dropped her off at the hospital. She had nothing left.

That was eight years ago. With help from the city of Bellevue and L&I's Crime Victims Compensation Program, Faith was able to eventually move on. For the last three years, she has worked for the Bellevue Police Department as a patrol officer.

The Thursday event at L&I is part of national Crime Victims Awareness Week that began April 9. The intent is to draw attention to the plight of crime victims and provide information about available assistance.

The Crime Victims Compensation Program at L&I annually receives between 5,600 to 5,800 claims. About 75 percent are accepted. Benefits include payments for time lost from work, medical care, pensions and mental-health counseling, among others.

Of the accepted claims, 70 percent are for women and children. Seven of every 10 claims for children are related to sexual assault.

Faith calls the Crime Victims Program that provided her with counseling services "a vital community service." She said that by the time most domestic violence victims get out, they have very little. "I didn't have any friends left. You leave with nothing," she said.

Faith, featured in an award-winning video on domestic violence "Hostages at Home," wants to share how a person gets from being a victim, to moving on and becoming happy again. She hopes to fix the myth that battered women go from relationship to relationship.

Faith's assailant was given an exceptional sentence -more than the maximum, of eight years under a new domestic violence law.

Her story is only one to be told Thursday. Another focus on Crime Victims Day will be the emerging victimization of children on the Internet by sexual predators. Following is a list of speakers for April 13 at the L&I auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way S.W. The event begins at 10 a.m.

  • Cletus Nnanabu, program manager for Crime Victims Compensation Program.
  • Gary Moore, director of the Department of Labor & Industries.
  • Elizabeth Faith, officer for the Bellevue Police Department,
    Domestic Violence Video "Hostages at Home."
  • Norm Nickle, M.S.W., Hoy and Nickle Associates,
    "Why Men Batter."
  • Rebecca Mensing, Tenino High School,
    "The Gift."
  • Carrie Halverson, Victim Advocate, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office,
    Victimization of Children via the Internet.

More information about assistance for crime victims can be found on the Internet at: /insurance/cvc.htm

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