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Realtor finds ways to invite people to learn about domestic violence

by Kaye Hult

Diane DuBos helps her church learn about abuse.

As a Coeur d’Alene realtor with a passion for eradicating domestic abuse, Diane DuBos may unobtrusively leave a Safe Passage Violence Prevention Center pen on the table of a house she is showing.

It simply has the center’s name and a phone number. 

The center is a place an abuse victim can go for help.

Diane’s focus is to connect people to resources that show them how to help without making things worse. 

“Abuse happens. If we’re not paying attention, we allow it to continue,” she said.

“In 1998, a friend showed up on my front porch battered and abused.  Her two children were with her,” she recalled.  “I didn’t know what to do.  I wasn’t helpful. If I had known more, I would have been a much better resource to help her get to a better place.”

Diane looks for opportunities to make a difference. Since she moved to Coeur d’Alene in 2007, she has been involved in several projects.

She believes the public needs to be educated about family violence.  In 2013, she coordinated a forum at Christ the King Lutheran Church, called Stop the Violence.  She showed a video documentary, “Sin by Silence,” to the 20 attendees. 

The video is about women in a California prison who had killed their husbands. They wrote to the California legislature and received support from the state government to create a program in the prison to help women recover from the abuse they experienced. The women also created a program in the school system to help young girls avoid falling into abusive situations.

At the end of the video, speakers from Safe Passage, the Post Falls Victim Services Unit and ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services) in Spokane each spoke for 15 minutes about resources the agencies offered and then answered questions.

Last summer, Diane set up two forums at Christ the King Church.  At each, a different agency made a presentation.  She designed the forums for people who have not experienced abuse, and do not understand family violence or why victims may stay with their abusers.  Few attended.

“We tend to focus on the victim rather than the perpetrator,” she said.  “I believe education can prevent heartache.”

 “In 2004, my daughter was in an abusive relationship,” she continued. 

Diane brought her home.  That didn’t help.  She went back.  Diane sought resources to help someone in those circumstances.

After three months, her daughter was ready to leave for good.

“I came to better understand the process,” she said.  “I had tried to control her, which made me no better than her abuser.

“Victims need to be the ones to make the decisions.  Otherwise, it doesn’t work.  When they make their own decisions, they begin to trust their decisions,” Diane explained.

Ever since, she has kept her eyes and ears open to see what opportunities there might be to raise awareness.

Christ the King Church partners with her on community-positive events.

“The point of my faith is to go out and live it,” she said. “That’s what we’re taught.  Christ the King partners with many in the congregation who identify and meet needs in our community.

“Because of my girlfriend and my daughter, I think domestic violence awareness is important,” she said.  “When I see an opportunity to bring awareness, I try to do what I can.  I want to try to prevent abuse for the next generation.

“If you saw someone fall in a hole, you’d help them out,” she said.  “Wouldn’t you then try to protect others from falling in?”

If someone came to her wanting to set up a domestic violence education program, she would help.

Diane grew up in Eureka, Calif., which she described as a redwood forest that ends at the ocean, beautiful aesthetically, but with many problems.  Drug cartels and the occult have become strong there.  She experienced it as a dark place.

After graduating from high school in 1977, she began college, but then married the wrong man, had a daughter and divorced.

In 1984, she moved to the Sacramento area where she worked in a medical lab.  From there, she went to Ukiah, Calif. to work in the highway patrol office.  She lived and worked in different places in California for the highway patrol, the forestry department and the transportation department.

Twenty-nine years ago, Diane married Tom who, when he proposed, included adopting her daughter.

Since she received her realtor’s license in 1994, she has worked in and out of real estate in California, Washington and Idaho.

After Diane moved to Vancouver, Wash., in 2001, she volunteered in a soup kitchen.  Twenty people in a church in a working-class neighborhood started it in February 2002. She was a host in the dining room. 

“It changed my life,” she said.

They began with Friday night dinners. Those who came received a full meal prepared by a professional chef.

A program with a speaker followed.  Rotating over a six-week period, speakers were pastors and people giving personal testimonies or telling of community resources, medical care or other needs.

Diane talked about music.  She took songs people know—primarily popular songs or classic rock—and used the lyrics to explain faith in a language that was easily understood. 

“There’s much theology in music,” she said.  “It was a good connection point.”

Clients were people hungry for both food and the Gospel.  Some had mental health, or drug and alcohol issues.

When she left in 2007, the soup kitchen fed more than 300 people.  They would not usually attend church on Sunday mornings, but if asked, they identified that church as their church home.

The program grew to provide other services, including a food bank, and lunches five days a week in partnership with the Veterans Administration.

“When you come into faith and understand you’ve been so loved, you can’t help but want to share that with other people,” she said.  “There’s a ton of hope here to offer to hurting people.  I never know what that help will be until I get into the middle of it.”

She came across author John Fischer telling of someone going to AA meetings.  When he was late, they always stopped the meeting and greeted him, knowing he almost didn’t make it, but when he came late to church, people scowled.

Diane had left church during high school.  Later while living in Ukiah as a single mother with a child, she walked into a church for the first time in more than a decade, and found the congregation unwelcoming.

“So I greet people when they come to church, especially if they are running late,” she said.

“We’re all broken in many different ways. We’re just trying to do the best we can with what we have.  We’re a collection of broken hearts and shattered pieces.  When the parts are put together, it makes a beautiful mosaic,” Diane said. 

“We’re confronted with situations every day where we can choose to help or harm,” she reflected.  “I don’t always get it right, but I try to choose to help.”

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