Domestic violence hits home for Joe Torre in foundation's 10th year

Joe Torre fields questions during a news conference

Joe Torre fields questions during a news conference to announce his new position as Major League Baseball's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. (Feb. 26, 2011) (Credit: AP)

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BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Joe Torre's Safe at Home Foundation reached an important milestone Monday as the program celebrated its 10th year of helping victims of domestic violence at the Trump National Golf Club.

"I grew up in a violent home. My dad abused my mom," Torre told WFAN. "[He] never physically touched me but just the fear of what was going on in the home affected me."

Torre's experiences prompted him to establish the Safe at Home Foundation, which gave women an outlet to talk about and deal with their problems at home.

Torre and his wife, Ali, later extended the foundation's outreach to include an outlet for children with the establishment of Margaret's Place in 2005.

Named in honor of Torre's mother, Margaret's Place provides a safe room in schools where students can speak freely about important issues going on at home.

There are 10 Margaret's Place sites in the New York tri-state area and one in Los Angeles.

"It's been a great program," Torre said. "We've had thousands of youngsters come through our programs and it's really helped them deal with what's going on in their lives."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Yankees fan, praised Torre and his wife for their work to protect victims of domestic violence.

"People start these things for a year, two years, three years, then they kind of lose interest and move on," Giuliani said. "[The Torres] have been with this for a long, long time from the very, very beginning. This is enormously necessary. There is unfortunately way too much domestic violence."

Torre said that the reluctance of victims to speak openly about their problems is one of the biggest reasons why it hasn't been easy to stamp out violence and abuse.

Said Torre: "It's an issue that people ignore. And unfortunately just recently with the Penn State situation, this is something that was a part of what went on there in '98 and '99. And [for] whatever reason, you just don't want to talk about it. You want to protect what you have. The thing that never was talked about was how the kids were dealing with it."

As for Penn State, Torre was blunt in his criticism of the university on WFAN.

"It's abuse. People are uncomfortable talking about it," the former Yankees manager said. "I know I read the Freeh report and it talked about Jerry Sandusky being interviewed years ago when it first came to light . . . I'm pretty sure it mentioned in the Freeh report if they had someone who sort of could listen to some of the answers, there may have been a red flag that was waved."

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