SAGE means safety for victims of violence

By Jim Rogers

Sage is a plant indigenous to the Wenatchee Valley, and the new name of the child and family advocacy agency helping people overcome domestic and sexual violence for the last 33 years.

Safety Advocacy Growth Empowerment (SAGE) of Chelan and Douglas Counties is in a new location at 710 N. Chelan, where families can come for help when they become victims of violence, crime or abuse.

Diana Martinez, a victim advocate at SAGE, coordinates the WAMAV program at SAGE. “We gather men who are willing to take a look at what a man is supposed to be,” she said. Men, mostly professional people, come together once a month and discuss topics vital to the question: What does it mean to be a man in our society?

“We need men, and all of us, getting involved to create social change.” Martinez said. She believes men are key to making a healthy society. She and her husband come from the Latino community where the common image is macho. “That does not have to be,” she said. Men can come together and talk about what a man is.

Program director Jessica Johnson said, “SAGE wants to reach people in the community who are affected by domestic violence. Three out of four people in America know someone or have been affected by violence of some kind.”

“We are willing to go out to schools, clubs and other agencies to educate and inform people of the problem of violence in our society,” Johnson said.

SAGE has a separate entry at the facility for victims of crime, where a staff person will take information on cases with discretion and anonymity.

“People come to us by referral from police, pastor, family, friends and the victim of violence,” Johnson said.

Executive director MaryAnne Preece said, “We are out in the community every day telling people about how to get help and how to stop violence.” Preece said SAGE partners with other communities who are addressing this issue all over the state and all over the country.

Johnson said SAGE has a 19-bed facility for women and children who are victims of abuse.

Safety is the mission of SAGE, and change in the society can come when people feel safe to reestablish trust with one another, Martinez said.

SAGE is open 24 hours a day. To reach them, call 663-7446.

(Jim Rogers photo) Outside the SAGE facility at 710 N. Chelan, Wenatchee