What Does The Marjaree Mason Center Do? 

What Does The Marjaree Mason Center Do? 

Mandy Yang, Staff Writer

In November 1978, Marjaree Mason, a girl who some would describe “have it all” was fatally shot resulting in her death. Her ex-boyfriend, Fresno County Sheriff, Robert Tillman couldn’t accept Marjaree’s rejection and wouldn’t leave her alone. Furious, Tillman kidnaped, beat, and raped Marjaree. In fear of Tillman, Marjaree didn’t want her story to be told, however after telling hospital personnel, they reported it to the sheriff’s department. Before an investigation could take place, Tillman once again assaulted Marjaree before killing her and himself. 

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence ranges from physically, mentally, or emotionally hurting someone. Domestic violence also doesn’t discriminate for “people of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status can be a victim –or perpetrator – of domestic violence.” The Marjaree Mason Center’s purpose is to provide shelter to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  

As of July 14th, this year, Executive Director Nichole Linder states that there has been a 30% increase in calls of domestic violence. Fresno Police has also shared that they receive at least 10 calls relating to abuse per week, even with crime in Fresno going down. With COVID-19 now around, many women and children are stuck at home with their abusers, making it harder to receive the help they need. “When you add and multiply that to an environment where these are control, power, and abuse, it escalates,” says Executive Director Nichole Linder 

With COVID-19 in our midst, it is harder to provide a safe, and clean environment to victims who seek help from the Marjaree Mason Center. However, the organization has found a solution to the COVID issue. “Our shelter continued to stay open during the early part of the pandemic. It was challenging as we had to decrease our staffing due to shelter in place guidelines,” says Board Director and Vice President of Gaston Middle School, Lisa Nichols. Family physician and the Board Vice President, Bonnie Her, tells us that, “we have moved our clients to motels instead of staying at the safe houses.”  

Vice President Dr. Her’s role is to take over all of the president’s responsibilities when the president isn’t presentWhen asking her why she wanted to be a part of this non-profit organization, she says she wants “to help and empower women and victims of domestic violence.”  

Board Director Lisa Nichols informs us that her role as a board member is “leadership and guides the strategic direction of the organization. Review board policies and objectives; supports and review the performance of the Executive Director…All board members are required to serve on a committee outside the board members. I currently serve on the Funding Committee” and she does so much more. As a victim and witness of domestic violence herself, she believed that it was a sign to become a part of the Marjaree Mason Center.  

Both board directors give us ways as to how we can help the organization. Nichols tells us that there are only 3 “Know More” Clubs in FUSD and starting a club would help the organization by informing students on domestic violence. Students can also organize donations, fundraisers, provide various toiletries, clothes, etc.