December, 2022

House of Ruth Happenings!

Safety Tips Against Digital Abuse

Smartphones have facilitated the way we access, link, and interact with each other. Connecting with others and forging new relationships and friendships through online platforms has never been easier. Social media sites, online dating apps, gaming apps, meetup groups, and more create a sense of community and connection for its users. Individuals can easily create a profile on their smartphone and instantly gain access to numerous online users anywhere in the world. 

However, not all online interactions are positive. Some people use the internet to cause harm to others by engaging in hurtful and violent behaviors such as cyber bulling, stalking, catfishing, fraud, abduction, sexual assault, extortion, human trafficking, and homicide. This article will define different types of digital abuse and offer safety tips to protect you and your loved ones from online predators.

According to RAINN, some common forms of digital abuse include:

  • Catfishing – a perpetrator lies about their identity in digital communications to start a romantic or sexual relationship.
  • Cyberstalking – using digital means to track a victim’s location; cyberstalking can also include repeatedly contacting a victim against their wishes via digital means.
  •  Digital sexual assault – distributing or threatening to distribute sexual images of a victim without their consent.
  • Pressuring a victim to send sexually explicit photos or videos – using manipulation or coercion to make a victim send photos or videos of themselves.
  •  Sending unsolicited or unwanted sexually explicit content to a victim – includes sexually explicit language, photos or videos sent to a victim digitally.
  •   Taking sexually explicit photos or videos of a victim – when a person takes photos or videos of someone without his or her consent.
  • Digitally sharing unsolicited material – includes sharing unwanted pornography or sexually explicit content with a victim.

Due to the nature of digital abuse, it is easy for perpetrators to remain anonymous. Anyone can be an abuser behind a screen name or digital profile.

Steps you can take to feel safer online.

Here is a list of cautionary steps you can take to increase your safety across different platform:

  • Don’t feel pressured to share your personal information. If someone online is pressuring you to share personally identifiable information, such as your full name, address, place of employment, date of birth, or phone number, you can always refuse, block them, or give them fake information.

  • Turn off geolocation. Many social media sites or apps will request to access your location, but in most cases this isn’t necessary. You can still get the most out of your social media experience without sharing where you are while you’re there. If sharing where you are is important to you, consider waiting to tag the location until you leave. Review privacy settings on the sites you use regularly, to see what your location settings are and consider updating them.

  • Report harassment or inappropriate content. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online, you can report the interaction to the host site, often anonymously. You can use the “report” button near the chat window, flag a post as inappropriate, or submit a screenshot of the interaction directly to the host site. If you do experience harassment or abuse through social media, consider taking screenshots immediately and saving them in case the content is deleted or removed from your view.

  • You can always block a user. If someone is making you uncomfortable on a public site, report and block them using the site’s blocking function as soon as possible.

  •  Do not open messages from unknown senders. If you receive a text, call, friend request, or private message request from someone you don’t recognize, you don’t have to answer or respond to it. Consider deleting it without reading it, these can contain inappropriate content you may not want to be associated with or viruses that can affect your device.

  • Pick strong passwords and update them frequently. This can help protect against someone who may be trying to sign on to your account for harmful reasons like posting spam, impersonating you, or stalking. In addition to choosing strong passwords and updating them, remember to keep your passwords in a secure location.

  •  If you have been victim of a crime, call 911 and report it to the authorities immediately.


Everyone deserves to feel safe in their relationships. If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking or domestic violence by a partner and needs immediate safety, please call House of Ruth’s 24-hour hotline at 1 (877) 988-5559. Advocates are available 24 hours a day to help safety plan with you and provide supportive services. 

La Nueva Voz Features

House of Ruth CEO Pat Bell

Note* This article is the second in a series of nine special "Stop-the-Hate" features made possible by a La Nueva Voz, grant awarded by the Latino Media Collaborative, a non-profit news media organization, and funded by the California State Library. The "Stop-the-Hate" program itself is administered by the California Department of Social Services as a statewide effort to increase public consciousness about hate incidents and hate crimes, their harmful impacts on individuals and communities, their prevention, and support and resources available for healing.

Stop the Hate

by Pat Bell, CEO House of Ruth


How does hate impact our community? Hate is one of the root causes of violence. The definition of hate is to feel intense or passionate dislike for someone; to criticize or abuse. Abusive behavior presents itself in many forms.

One of the most common ways abusive behaviors are demonstrated, is in the context of relationships. Domestic Violence is something that cannot be ignored. The impact of domestic violence within a person’s intimate partner relationship is widespread. There are many instances where abusive behavior shows up between two partners – whether it is verbally putting someone down with criticism, or mentally gaslighting someone to believe a different reality. Physical abuse can also show up as power and control escalates within a relationship.

The statistics tell us how prevalent domestic violence is. 1 in 3 women experience intimate partner violence. 1 in 7 men are in an abusive relationship. 1 in 3 teens have experienced some form of dating violence, stalking or sexual assault. Members of the LGBTQ community have experienced partner violence at a higher rate than the heterosexual community. The best way to prevent domestic violence is to raise awareness and educate people on the characteristics of a healthy relationship. Is domestic violence prevalent in Pomona? So far this year, Pomona Police Department reported 554 domestic violence reports, ranging in crimes of domestic violence arguments, putting hands on another person, or violence causing injuries. Those are the cases reported to the police.

House of Ruth also helped quite a few people in Pomona. 732 Pomona residents received help from House of Ruth as follows:

  • 278 Hotline calls
  • 69 people slept safely in residential shelter
  • 146 people received counseling services for themselves or their children
  • 198 people received case management support
  • 68 people attended psycho-educational classes
  • 33 people received legal advocacy

But many of these cases go unreported. Fear, threats, and isolation are some of the key factors preventing a person from reaching out for help. Knowing that supportive services offered by House of Ruth exist, that alone helps people feel safer. All it takes is one phone call to our hotline (877-988-5559) to get connected to safety and resources.

To stop the hate, knowing the difference between a healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationship is important. House of Ruth’s goal is to stop violence before it starts, by bringing awareness to the issue of relationship violence through education and advocacy among school age children and their families. House of Ruth spends a lot of time working with teens and young people discussing topics like Teen Dating Violence, Healthy Relationships, Coping with Anger, Boundaries and Consent, among other topics.

Having a healthy relationship with your partner can be an experience that creates connection, well-being, and joy. Every relationship exists on a spectrum from healthy to unhealthy to abusive. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Even the healthiest of relationships have conflict and ruptures are made. The most important thing is to take accountability and repair.

Healthy relationships are based on equality and respect. Two people making decisions together, who can openly discuss sexual choices, relationship problems – pretty much anything. They enjoy spending time together and respect each other’s time apart. Qualities of a healthy relationship are respect, effective communication, trust, honesty, and equality.

Unhealthy relationships are based on attempts to control the other person. One person tries to make most of the decisions. He or she may pressure their partner about sex or refuse to see how their actions can hurt. In an unhealthy relationship, you feel like you should only spend time with your partner. Qualities of an unhealthy relationship are pressure, dishonesty, struggles for control, breaks in communication, and inconsiderate behavior.

Abusive relationships are based on an imbalance of power and control. One person is making all the decisions – sexual choices, friend groups, boundaries, even what is true and what is not. You spend all your time together and feel like you can’t talk to other people, especially about what is really happening in your relationship. Warning signs of an abusive relationship are accusations, blame shifting, isolation pressure, and manipulation. 

Domestic Violence and Dating Abuse are patterns of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. Typical warning signs may look like:

  • Checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission
  • Stalking or cyber-bullying
  • Putting you down frequently, especially in front of others
  • Isolating you from friends or family (physically, financially, or emotionally)
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive outbursts, temper, or mood swings[1]


Violence in relationships often perpetuates from generation to generation. Children that grow up witnessing abusive behaviors often repeat that behavior because they have not been exposed to the qualities of a healthy relationship. To break the cycle of generational violence, people need to be able to talk openly about domestic violence and have the ability to self-reflect on their own behaviors.


How can you help someone who is scared and unsure of how to get safe?

  •  Identify the abusive behavior – “I’ve noticed how your partner (pushes, grabs, yells) at you and I’m worried.”
  • Provide a safe space and let them know you are here if they need to talk.
  •  Believe and support them. Be there to listen and not judge.
  • Offer support and validation. Let them know it is never their fault. “No one deserves to be treated that way.”
  • Provide options, not advice. – “What works best for you” not “This is what you need to do.”
  • Create a safety plan.
  •  Call House of Ruth’s Hotline for resources and information.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline – 877-988-5559


House of Ruth has been providing lifesaving services to the community for 45 years and is dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence and the safety and well-being of those impacted by it. Services offered are residential emergency or transitional shelter, adult or children’s counseling, case management, community resources, legal advocacy, housing assistance, and prevention education. If you or someone you know needs help, please call our 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 1(877) 988-5559 or visit our website for more information at

Violence is preventable. If we can learn it, we can unlearn it. Violence is not healthy for people. If we can see it, we can stop it. Silence is violence. If we can talk about it, we can change it. “In Touch with Teens”


Message From

House of Ruth Board President

Brian Kraatz

For 45 years, House of Ruth has been providing critical services to survivors of domestic violence. As we enter this holiday season, we are thankful to the community of supporters like you who stand with us. With every survivor who heals their wounds and strengthens their life, we see the good work your support makes possible.

Domestic violence remains an issue of grave concern, and House of Ruth is here to help. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, over 90% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, and 63% have been victims of intimate partner violence as adults. House of Ruth’s emergency shelter gives many survivors and families an option beyond abuse or homelessness. Over 80% of survivors entering shelters report that, after safety, their greatest need is affordable housing. House of Ruth’s transitional housing offers a way forward.

Every donation to House of Ruth illuminates a survivor’s path to freedom. Here’s what one survivor has to say:

I’m thankful to be alive and have a message to individuals suffering from abuse. You can walk away from the situation and move on; you don’t have to go through this by yourself. It gives me strength and hope to know that there is a community out there that cares about people and wants to see them succeed. --Crystal

Won’t you join us as we support Crystal and so many others on their journeys to a better life?

In the past year, our generous donors enabled House of Ruth to serve 884 individuals through outreach programs including counseling, support groups, classes, legal advocacy, case management and basic need support. In addition, we reached over 4,000 adults and teens through community-based violence prevention education, provided 165 adults and children emergency and transitional shelter, and answered over 1,600 hotline calls.

House of Ruth needs your support to prevent domestic violence and provide survivors and their children a safe place to heal and thrive. One of our donors put it simply: “Everyone is worthy of help. We all have the capacity to give.” In the spirit of the season, please consider a generous gift to House of Ruth today.

With deep gratitude and warm wishes,

 Brian Kraatz

Brian Kraatz,

House of Ruth Board President


P.S. Did you know that House of Ruth provides not only emergency shelter, but also transitional housing for survivors moving toward their new lives free from violence? Your gift helps us support survivors as they invent a brighter future for themselves.  

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Save The Date for the

House of Ruth 45th Anniversary Gala


Please join us on March 9, 2023 to celebrate House of Ruth's 45th Anniversary Gala and support our vital mission of preventing domestic violence and ensuring the safety and well-being of those impacted by it.

Date/Time: March 9, 2023 at 6:00-9:00 P.M.

Location: Padua Hills Theater, 4467 Padua Ave. Claremont CA. 91711

For more information on sponsoring the event, please contact Rhonda Beltran, Chief Development Officer at 909-868-8007, via email or visit

Become a Sponsor
Purchase Gala Tickets

House of Ruth Holiday Wish List

House of Ruth's Annual Holiday Store provides new toys and gifts to survivors and their children at no cost. Clients are able to "shop" for their children and kids are able to pick the perfect holiday surprise for their parent.

For many families rebuilding violence-free lives, House of Ruth Holiday Store may be their only source of gifts and food. Our clients range in age from newborn to seniors. Donations must be new (not gently used) and gifts must remain unwrapped. Toys must be non-violent. Monetary and gift card donation are always appreciated.

For gift ideas please refer to the link below or visit our Amazon Smile Wish List.

Donations can be delivered to, Sabrina Almaraz, Community Services Manager, at 599 N Main St. Pomona, CA. 91768, (909)-623-4364 Ext 5026 Email: Drop off times: December 1st through December 16th, 9am - 4:30pm. Call the office number to schedule a drop off time

** Please Note: We are currently not accepting gently used items at this time. All gently used items can be donated directly to:

Acts Thrift Store, 232 E Foothill Blvd Pomona CA., 909-491-3199.

House of Ruth will receive store credit that can be used by House of Ruth clients. Just let them know House of Ruth referred you.

Amazon Smile Wish List
Holiday Wish List
House of Ruth
P.O. Box 459, Claremont CA.
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