By Patricia Franklin
Everyone needs someone to talk to, a confidant, someone to vent to, or a shoulder to cry on. Especially when going through something traumatic such as sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, abuse or rape.
At California State University, Dominguez Hills victim’s advocate, Mayra Romo is that confidant. Romo has been the CSUDH victim’s advocate for five months and says she is becoming acclimated with the campus and its culture. She works in the Division of Student Affairs and reports to Dr. Marcelo Vazquez, associate vice president and dean of students.
According to the Victims Advocacy (VAS) handbook, the role of a victim’s advocate is to provide information and access resources, accompany clients to court, interviews or meetings relating to abuse, provide safety planning and restraining order assistance, and assist with campus-wide prevention education efforts.
“I will say that I came across this field by chance, and (it has been) my passion that has kept me here,” Romo said. “While an undergrad, I had no idea this was even a field or specialty.”
Romo received her bachelor’s in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her master’s in psychology with an emphasis in community psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. The same year she was completing her masters, she completed a state certification training as a domestic violence counselor. In 2011, she became coordinator of a program and added the role as primary Survivor Advocate to her responsibilities.
Romero estimates that 40 percent of her encounters deal with sexual assault, 40 percent domestic violence, and 10 percent harassment and stalking each. She said most of the occurrences happen off campus.
Although hearing the term victims advocate can be intimidating to some, Romo wants students to know that she is on campus and available for all student’s needs. She has a strict confidentiality policy and is flexible to meet anyone’s needs.
“My goal after meeting (the) client is that the client knows that they are not alone and that they have the support of the university to seek and obtain whatever options work best for them,” Romo said.
To contact Romo, email mromocsudh.edu, or visit https://calendly.com/moromo.