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Safe at Home: Joe Torre partners with designer Robin Wilson in latest effort to help domestic violence survivors

Joe Torre teams up with designer to help domestic violence survivors 02:50

NEW YORK -- It's estimated that nearly 10 million people a year are affected by domestic violence. 

Baseball great Joe Torre has been open about his own story of a troubled childhood, and how it ultimately led him to help thousands of others. Now, he's partnering with another survivor, who is also making a difference.

"Margaret's Place is a safe room, and Margaret was my mom's name," Torre told CBS2. "She was the one that really took the brunt of all the abuse in the house."

As a baseball player and manager, Torre experienced the highest highs of a most distinguished career. But growing up, it was a long climb out of a scary childhood. 

"My father is the one that was raining terror on the house."

Joe Torre

Torre said his mother was the victim of almost unrelenting verbal abuse from his father, Joe Sr. -- a plainclothes cop.  He said he was traumatized under the weight of unbearable tension at home.

"Something reminds you of it, a loud noise, a door slamming, the TV turned up too loud. It's like somebody throwing cold water on your back," he said. 

It was decades until he could come to terms with it, and then, he turned his torment into triumph. 

"If you're going to end the cycle, education is the best way to do it," he said. 

We met Torre at the Margaret's Place in White Plaines High School. Now in its 20th year, there are more than 20 of these domestic violence intervention programs, including nine in our area.

"We've had 125,000 kids come through this program," said Torre. 

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They offer health and counseling services to kids. 

"You know as well as I do, the feelings of what you've been through doesn't go away," Torre said to Robin Wilson.

Now, Torre has a new partner in his endeavor -- Robin Wilson and Project Lilac.

"I realized I could give back," said Wilson.   

Wilson is a designer and also a domestic violence survivor. 

"You buy a clean design home product, and then a sheeting product is given away," she said. "We will never sell lilac sheets. We give them away, because purple is the color of domestic violence awareness."

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Seven years ago, she escaped with almost nothing to a safe house, just like this.

"What does it take to leave? It takes courage, it takes friends and family, it takes resources," she said.

Wilson now has a lifetime restraining order against her former spouse.

"When I left, my ex said, 'I'm going to ruin you. I'm going to ruin your business. I'm going to ruin your brand,'" she said. 

But she managed to restart her design business and create what she calls a social justice mission for survivors, with a gift to survivors of new sheets to signify the new beginning.

"Many people just leave with the clothing on their back. So this will allow them to have something that's their own," she said. 

"Forming this team is exciting to me," Torre said to Wilson. "It is the fact that you're a survivor, but you're willing to share."

CLICK HERE for more about Margaret's Place and other resources


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