Weekly Radio Address: Craven says we must do more to end the scourge of domestic violence
Earlier this week many of us celebrated Valentine’s Day. A day where we take the opportunity to remind our loved ones how much they mean to us.
The day also has another meaning: V-Day, as it’s called, is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence is a pattern of physical, verbal, or sexual aggression used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Last year, in one year alone, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence worked with nearly 100,000 people, and its crisis hotline received more than 32,000 calls from people seeking help for domestic violence. This is a serious issue facing our friends, our neighbors, and our loved ones.
I applaud the work of Governor Paul LePage and other lawmakers in raising awareness of this issue–and sending a “zero tolerance” message. We cannot tolerate abuse. But simply saying this is not enough. We must show a commitment by helping folks who are trying to get out of a dangerous situation and rebuild their lives. We must help mothers escape violence to protect their children and offer them a safe refuge. And, lastly, we must do all we can to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place.
But this will not happen with words alone.
Domestic abuse has no single cause. But we do know that things like personal life and financial stress, substance abuse, and mental health issues are all contributing factors.
We know that when people and families have support, they can thrive.
We know programs like Head Start help not only young children but also helps parents provide a safe and nurturing learning environment while they go to work.
We know that treatment programs can offer someone struggling with drug abuse a step towards recovery.
And we know that providing a pathway to safety for survivors can open a door to a life free from abuse.
As the Chair of the Health and Human Services committee, I know that lawmakers have a role to play. We can put our money where our mouth is and actually provide the resources to end this scourge once and for all.
As we go forward this session, we should be mindful of the decisions we make and remember that the budget lines on our state’s balance sheet and the votes we cast have an impact on people’s daily lives…and to some it’s a matter of survival.
I’m hopeful that my fellow legislators and I can work together to support needed policies and programs to end the cycle of domestic violence that affects too many of our friends and neighbors.
Thank you for listening. I’m State Senator Margaret Craven. Have a great weekend.