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Maureen McDonald concentrates on 'highly preventable problems'

HOOKSETT — Despite a successful career in broadcast journalism, Maureen McDonald said she has no regrets leaving her TV producer job behind and becoming the director of community relations for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

"I think I had an 'Aha' moment looking at the stats. In New Hampshire one in four women has been sexually assaulted at one point in their lives, and one in three has been a victim of an assault by an intimate partner. So prevalent is this problem we don't even see it for what it is, and we know from the research we did in New Hampshire a few years ago that it does impact everyone. If you are not a victim, odds are you still know one, so this should be on the forefront of everyone's mind. And I think these are highly preventable problems," McDonald said.

McDonald, who lives in Hooksett with her husband and two children, went to Trinity College and then received her master's degree in broadcast journalism at Boston University. McDonald left her job as the 5 p.m. news producer for Channel 9 news in 2006 to join the CADSV despite the uncertainty of how long funding for the position would last and the fact it was only a 30-hour-a-week job.

"I have always been interested in social justice and nonprofits, and I have experience working with nonprofits, and one day I found that (the CADSV) was looking for a public relations coordinator, which seemed like a good fit with my background. It turned out to be a great decision," McDonald said.

"Now I am the community relations director, and the job has grown from 30 hours a week to however many I can squeeze in. I do a combination of communications work and fundraising. I do public relations, I help with the website and social media. Basically anything communications-related coming out of this office."

McDonald said that the CADSV serves as the umbrella organization for 14 separate crisis centers located around the state.

"Centers like these are necessary; we served over 16,000 people last year, and we know a lot of people never even come to the centers for help. Part of my job is to make sure that I beat the drum and let any victim know we are here 24 hours a day seven days a week and it is free. Sometimes people just need to talk, but sometimes they need a place to stay, and we can help plan for their safety," McDonald said.

She sees the biggest problem facing New Hampshire as domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. "You cannot meet one person who isn't impacted by one of these issues, whether it be a loved one, a family member, or a friend who has been impacted."

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