Strong traditions have always kept domestic violence hidden behind closed doors.
We know that only a few want to talk about it. It’s a vicious circle where the history of violence in many cases ends with murder. It is easy to judge from the outside and say: why did not the woman leave the man … how it could happen, they looked so happy … we have not seen it coming … they were a very normal family … An ordinary family. You can see the family photos and wonder: happy faces. But I’ll tell you one thing: domestic violence victims do not run around with the sign where it stands on it: this is happening in my family…
If we would care more about the people around us, if we would hear exactly what they say … if we could hear better … could see it … it would be clear. The neighbors, work colleagues, teachers, doctors and family members … You’ve missed all the signals and you overlook it every day. One should not hide it. You should report it. The times have changed. We can All help.
This Domestic Violence PSA, to be broadcast as soon as next week by Maine television stations, features photos of murdered women and children, and Gov. Paul LePage standing with a group of men who denounce the violence.
LePage was a victim of domestic abuse as a child and has spoken—including during his State of the State address last week—about the need for men to oppose the violence.
Domestic violence accounted for 11 of Maine’s 23 murders last year.
Mainers “have had it” with domestic abuse, said Julia Colpitts, executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
“Maine has reached a tipping point,” she said. “We will not tolerate it any further.”
Colpitts urged people to get involved if they see abuse. She called for employers to adopt policies to protect workers.
“Most homicide victims have talked in their workplace about abuse before their deaths,” she said.
The video shows room full of men who speak their message very authoritarian and decided. I think it is also appropriate tone for this theme. The victims are often very anxious to react and seek help, it is also very important for them that they can expect such a strong help. A direct appeal to the men should encourage more active help.
LePage’s message is more personal and more focused on Maine men, said Arthur Jette, head of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.
“I think there are people listening to the message for the first time,” he said.
The video’s final photograph shows Amy Lake with her children, Cody and Monica. Steven Lake killed all three members of his family in Dexter in June, then killed himself.
The Campaign Project “Safe Neighborhoods” by MCEDV (Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence) from few years ago is showing the family members talking about their loss, feeling of guilt … I was very, very moved emotionally.