Maine Lawmakers Submit Bill Aimed at Prohibiting “Revenge Porn”

Posted on March 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

100_5145LR 326, “An Act To Prohibit The Unauthorized Distribution of Certain Private Images” was introduced by members of the 127th Maine Legislature in late February at a press conference held in the Welcome Center. Speakers included:

    House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport)
    Senator Asst Minority Leader Sen. Dawn Hill (D-York)
    Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland)
    Rep. Gay Grant (D-Gardiner)
    Julia Colpitts, ME Coalition to End Domestic Violence
    Cara Couchesne, ME Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Fredette partnered with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence to sponsor the bill, which would make posting revenge porn a Class D crime with penalties including a $2,000 fine and one year in jail.

From a Maine House Republican post:

    More and more people are finding their intimate photographs and/or videos disseminated online without their consent with at least 3,000 active websites devoted to this practice. Many of them force victims to pay hundreds of dollars in order to have their images removed. This disturbing trend is now on the rise here in Maine, where the majority of the victims are women. Victims are publicly humiliated to the point where some of them are moving out of areas they have lived in their whole lives and in extreme cases, some are even committing suicide.

    In many cases these images are posted in an effort to exact revenge on a former girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband. In other instances, these videos and images are used as threatening leverage to keep victims trapped in an abusive relationship.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette: “This is a despicable act that mostly targets women. In states like Maine, where there are no laws on the books to punish those responsible, these victims have nowhere to turn. This is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.”

Co-Sponsor Sen. Dawn Hill: “The practice of non-consensual pornography has no place in Maine. Victims of this despicable act serve a life sentence of humiliation and shame while those responsible are currently going unpunished. It’s time for Maine to join the other states who are putting a stop to this.”

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: The NFL has an Opportunity to Push Back Against Domestic Violence

Posted on August 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

5pm UPDATE: Here is the letter.

nfl boycottNOTE: Last week, Governor Paul LePage went onto WVOM’s George Hale and Ric Tyler Show and during his interview, said that he was “boycotting the NFL”. He also referred himself in the third person when discussing his chances for re-election:

    “The governor does not agree [that it’s a tight race]. … The governor says that he’s either going to be blown out by a landslide or he’s going to win by a landslide. … The Maine people are either going to throw me out or take me in wholeheartedly, but I don’t think this is going to be close.”

He has still not spoken publicly about his meeting with Democratic leadership, despite new reports that the situation with Augusta’s Riverview Psychiatric Center is more dire and will be even more expensive than thought even last week.

This week, he chose to use his weekly address to double down on his condemnation of the NFL. A reminder: The only professional football team in all of New England is still located in Massachusetts, not Maine.

No word from RGA Chair Chris Christie (the New Jersey governor who favors the Dallas Cowboys over his own local teams) who was in Maine supporting LePage on Tuesday, on his views of the LePage “NFL boycott”.


Audio link here.

The NFL has an Opportunity to Push Back Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence does not discriminate. This crime affects thousands of people, no matter their age, race or economic background.

DSC_0112Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Most domestic violence victims are women, but this is not just a women’s issue. Men must be part of the solution to end the pattern of abuse.

Recently, the National Football League has taken heat for how it sanctions players who commit a domestic violence crime.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave a mere two-week suspension to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. This man knocked his fiancée unconscious, then dragged her out of an elevator. Rice pled not guilty, but the video doesn’t lie. Sadly, his fiancée is now his wife.

If a two-week suspension is the “punishment” for knocking a woman unconscious, then there is something very wrong with the NFL culture.

This week in a letter to Goodell, I told him I’m appalled that he promotes permissive disciplinary procedures that could ultimately result in the death of innocent people.

NFL quarterback Michael Vick served 2 years in prison for running a dog-fighting ring, but an NFL player who commits a violent crime against a woman gets a two-week suspension. The NFL mandates harsher penalties for players who violate the league’s personal-conduct policy or abuse drugs than those who commit domestic violence. This defies common sense.

Taking thugs and wife beaters off the field may be bad for business, but the NFL is playing games with people’s lives.

I don’t know if Commissioner Goodell is familiar with domestic violence or if it has affected his family personally. However, I can tell you firsthand that domestic violence is about a perpetrator having power and control over another individual. Too many times, it leads to murder.

I have a zero-tolerance position on domestic violence. There is no excuse for this type of behavior in our society. Until all of us make an effort to end this abuse, the cycle will continue.

NFL players are role models for young men, and many of them excel at that. But if some players are allowed to act violently toward women, then young men will think that behavior is acceptable. It tarnishes all players and gives the NFL a bad name.

This is not about winning or losing. This is about life or death. The NFL has an opportunity to change the rules. We urge Goodell to do the right thing.

Thank you for listening.

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LD 1656, “An Act To Increase Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence” Has Public Hearing (Videos)

Posted on January 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A public hearing before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety legislative committee was held this morning for LD 1656, “An Act to Increase Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence”, sponsored by Senator Emily Cain (D-Penobscot). The bill builds upon an earlier law sponsored by then-House Democratic Leader Cain requiring law enforcement officers to receive training to use evidence-based domestic violence risk assessments. That earlier law did not specify how the information obtained from the assessments could be used and LD 1656 is meant to clarify how law enforcement, judicial, and community groups share information obtained from the risk assessments in order to plan the most effective response when domestic violence occurs.

A portion of her prepared testimony:

    Today I am here to present LD 1656, An Act to Increase Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence.

    As members of this committee, you know better than most that there is no quick fix, no magic wand, and no miracle cure for domestic violence.

    I sure wish there was. We all wish it.

    Last year, Maine police reported more than 5,500 incidents of domestic violence. State Police total numbers of homicides for 2013 are now available, and the facts are – again – scary and sad. According to the State Police, the number of homicides in 2013 totaled 24, which included one homicide committed in 2012, body discovered in 2013 and a double homicide. Of those 24 homicides, 11 or 46% were the result of domestic violence. In addition, domestic violence homicides were related to 4 additional deaths when murderers killed themselves or were killed by law enforcement.

    Since you and I have been engaged in this topic and this work to end domestic violence for many years, I bet you have the same reaction I do when you watch the news and hear about yet another incident of domestic violence. You take it personally, and wonder – what else could we have done? What else can we do? This has to stop.

    LD 1656 is not about a new approach to keeping victims of domestic violence safe. It does not create new policy changes. Today’s bill is about making the laws we have passed work better and as intended.

    The components in this bill are all improvements to existing laws that are basically working very well. These improvements are badly needed to increase safety for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as to allow the policy, and the coordinated community response to domestic violence, to work the way the legislature intended when we passed laws in prior sessions. These are all changes to existing statute, and I have an additional amendment to the bill that has come to light in the past few weeks.

    The bill builds on current law with the following elements:

    Senator Emily Cain listens as CJPS committee member Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) asks a question.

    Senator Emily Cain listens as CJPS committee member Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) asks a question.

    • A judicial ruling in the Thomas case this past fall, related to the Address Confidentiality Act, provided a new interpretation of several phrases within that act in a way that left an unintended safety loophole. This bill repairs that loophole by clarifying the protection provided to victims at high risk by keeping their home addresses confidential after they have relocated for safety.

    • In 2012, we worked together on important changes to the bail code related to domestic violence. Some of the changes in bail procedures inadvertently left offenders who are now being detained in jail on the most serious domestic violence offenses and waiting for a judicial review of their bail, still able to call and terrorize their victims from the jail. This bill stops the opportunity for dangerous offenders to contact and terrorize their victims from jail before a no contact order can be put in place.

    • This bill integrates previously approved statutes related to domestic violence advocacy and sexual assault privilege with new legislation created in the last legislative session: LD 1493, An Act To Revise the Laws Concerning Criminal History Record Information and Intelligence and Investigative Information Act. This aspect of the bill makes certain that information sharing between criminal justice partners and advocates can continue just as it has been done for years to ensure good risk assessment and safety planning for victims.

    LD 1656 is the result of the hard work and conversations between many people, departments of state government, and organizations. The concerns about bail and advocate privilege have been discussed within the Attorney General’s office, Maine Department of Public Safety, Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse, the Maine Domestic Violence Homicide Review Panel, The Maine Coalition of Domestic Violence, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The Wabanaki Women’s coalition and in the January CLAC meeting just last week. And the address confidentiality improvements came via the Secretary of State’s Office.

    The work to end domestic violence in Maine is all-encompassing and requires all of these entities, and more, to turn that vision into a reality, and I am grateful for their help.

Senator Rebecca Millett was next to testify in support of the measure:

    “LD 1656 builds upon the good work done to reduce domestic violence in Maine. It strengthens the protection of victims and empowers police officers, victims’ advocates, and prosecutors to create the best plan to keep victims and families safe.”

CJPS Committee Senate Chair, Senator Stan Gerzofsky (D-Brunswick) also rose to address his committee- a rare occurrence, but this bill which he cosponsored and issue as a whole is one that the senator feels very passionately and strongly about (clip to his full testimony here):

    “We keep working on bills, year and year, and trying to get it right. I think we’re doing it right, but I think there is room for improvement; there’s room to tie this stuff together better and to get more protection, and that’s what this bill is going to do.”

Others who spoke in support of the bill included Julia Colpitts of Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Attorney General Janet Mills, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, representatives from the Maine State Police and other advocates.

A work session for the bill will be held later in the session.

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Governor LePage Declares October As Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Posted on October 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

A special ceremony was hosted by Governor Paul LePage last week in his Cabinet Room at the State House, highlighting domestic violence awareness, supporting victims and honoring advocates who dedicate themselves to eradicating the violence. The event marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and was attended by a number of state and local officials, law enforcement representatives, business and community leaders and victims’ advocacy groups, including Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) and Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.

    “Domestic violence takes the lives of too many every year here in Maine. The physical violence alone is heart-wrenching. However, the emotional scars from domestic violence are lasting as well.

    Together, we remember those who are no longer with us. We honor their memories by raising awareness and carrying hope that one day we can end the violence.”

The Governor took the opportunity to announce that he has directed $10,000 from his contingency fund to help pay for the completion of the Maine Murder Victims’ Memorial. Ground was broken in late September for the monument at Catholic Holy Family Cemetery in Augusta. The Memorial, an effort of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, will have the names of 400 to 500 Maine murder victims inscribed in black granite tablets. In July, LePage directed $100,000 to MCEDV from his contingency fund in the wake of cuts in federal program cuts.

Art Jette, director of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, addresses those assembled at event hosted by Governor LePage.

Art Jette, director of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, addresses those assembled at event hosted by Governor LePage.

Arthur Jette, director of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, said the funds are a blessing and a tribute to every Maine family who has encountered the devastation that domestic violence brings with it.

    “Whenever the life of a loved one is taken, there is an unbelievable grief, like no other. We are gracious for the Governor’s support and faith in a cause that will bring comfort to families, survivors and victims, as well as a place to remember those lost at the hands of violence.”

To locate your local Domestic Violence Resource Center, call the Statewide Helpline at 1-866-834-HELP (4357) or visit

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UPDATED: President Obama’s Address At Newtown CT Inter-Faith Prayer Vigil (Video; Transcript)

Posted on December 17, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

President Obama: Thank you.

Thank you, Governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests, scripture tells us, “Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.

“For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands.”

We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.

I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.

And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch. They did not hesitate.

Dawn Hocksprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Russeau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy, they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and kept steady through it all and reassured their students by saying, “Wait for the good guys, they are coming. Show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came, the first responders who raced to the scene helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and their own trauma, because they had a job to do and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do, one child even trying to encourage a grownup by saying, “I know karate, so it’s OK; I’ll lead the way out.”

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other. You’ve cared for one another. And you’ve loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered, and with time and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.

With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.

Personal Post

Mother of shooter, Nancy Lanza, collected guns, ‘prepared for the worst’

Peter Hermann and Michael S. Rosenwald DEC 15
First victim of rampage collected guns, told landscaper she took son to firing range to practice his aim.
Newtown seeks comfort in churches

Colum Lynch 5:30 PM ET
Reeling from Friday’s tragic slayings residents flocked to their churches Sunday.
Will Newtown shooting be a tipping point in gun-control debate?

Chris Cillizza 12:42 PM ET
MONDAY FIX | The national conversation is governed by a handful of knowns and unknowns.
Shooter’s weapon has a deadly history

Sari Horwitz DEC 15
Bushmaster can quickly fire multiple high-velocity rounds.
Mass shootings across the U.S. in 2012

The Washington Post
GRAPHIC | Two of the deadliest massacres happened this year, but 11 others also claimed lives.

They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.

It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?

Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?

Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.

Personal Post

Mother of shooter, Nancy Lanza, collected guns, ‘prepared for the worst’

Peter Hermann and Michael S. Rosenwald DEC 15
First victim of rampage collected guns, told landscaper she took son to firing range to practice his aim.
Newtown seeks comfort in churches

Colum Lynch 5:30 PM ET
Reeling from Friday’s tragic slayings residents flocked to their churches Sunday.
Will Newtown shooting be a tipping point in gun-control debate?

Chris Cillizza 12:42 PM ET
MONDAY FIX | The national conversation is governed by a handful of knowns and unknowns.
Shooter’s weapon has a deadly history

Sari Horwitz DEC 15
Bushmaster can quickly fire multiple high-velocity rounds.
Mass shootings across the U.S. in 2012

The Washington Post
GRAPHIC | Two of the deadliest massacres happened this year, but 11 others also claimed lives.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?

Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

You know, all the world’s religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.

Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?

We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.

We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.

The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.

We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.

For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort, and may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America.

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Weekly Address of President Obama: Nation Grieves for Those Killed in Tragic Shooting in Newtown, CT

Posted on December 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

On Friday, we learned that more than two dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.

Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today. We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.

As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.

This weekend, Michelle and I are doing what I know every parent is doing – holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them.

There are families in Connecticut who can’t do that today. And they need all of us now. Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need – to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country.

Thank you.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Domestic Violence Awareness Crucial to Elimination of Problem

Posted on December 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

lepage officeHello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

With the holidays upon us, it is a time to celebrate with family, be with friends, and help our neighbors. But even with the excitement of the holidays, there is a dark reality this time of year, and it relates to the rise in domestic violence crimes in Maine.

Recently, the murder of Kasandra Perkins has grabbed national headlines and yet again draws attention to domestic violence.

Kasandra’s boyfriend, Kansas City Chief football player, Jovan Belcher who was also a University of Maine graduate shot Kasandra nine times before killing himself.

Three days before Thanksgiving, in Alton, another domestic violence tragedy occurred. Thirty-nine year old Danielle Reed was killed in an apparent murder suicide which involved her estranged husband and his friend.

These deaths are a brutal reminder of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

These three deaths in Alton bring the number of homicides in Maine this year to 19, with nine of those deemed domestic violence-related deaths.

I cannot stress enough that these are not just numbers; these are our family, friends, and members of our communities.

Each year between 50 and 60 percent of homicides in Maine are domestic violence related. This is not a trend we want to see continue.

In 2011, Maine law enforcement received more than five-thousand calls related to domestic violence assaults. These crimes are on the rise in Maine and it is troubling.

As a society, we can stand up and say this is unacceptable.

Domestic violence awareness is crucial to eliminating the problem. We need a coordinated, community response to put an end to domestic violence now and for the next generation. Everyone has to step up. Personally, I would like to see men step up to the plate on this pivotal issue and they have.

We have many groups started by men including University of Maine Male Athletes Against Domestic Violence, Boys to Men, and Guys and Pies are just a few that are proactive with young men and raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse.

But we all know that it will take more than men to eliminate this heinous crime. It will take families and communities coming together to say enough is enough.

I encourage you to talk with your family members about domestic violence. It’s likely that you or someone you know has been affected by this abuse. As a survivor, I know how difficult it is to speak up, especially when you’ve experience the abuse yourself. This is a sobering subject, but we must all stand up and speak up together – we must do it in their memory and to help those who are affected by abuse right now.

Finally, I would like to leave you with information that has saved lives. The most dangerous time for a victim is when they try to end an abusive relationship. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is committed to ensuring safety for victims.

If you are in or you know of someone in a harmful or potentially harmful situation, please, pick up the phone and call. The Coalition has resources to help.

The Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline is 1-866-83-4HELP. That’s 1-866-834-4357.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost a loved one to domestic violence.

Thank you for listening. Be safe and enjoy your weekend.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Addressing Domestic Violence With Erksine Academy Students

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Audio link here.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Today in Maine, only 10 town academies exist, with Erskine Academy being the second largest with an enrollment of 700 students. This week, I had the opportunity to meet students from Erskine Academy in South China and I would like to share with you a part of that experience.

As I looked around the room, I saw the faces of young men and women destined to become the next generation of leaders and mentors. These students will have the power to shape the values in their communities and what is socially acceptable among peers.

That is why it was important for me to share with these students the serious problem of domestic violence in Maine.

Prior to speaking with all of the students, a few gave me a tour of the school. They told me about their efforts to reduce bullying. Erskine students have created groups that address bullying and domestic violence and how they can stop both from happening in their community. It was truly inspirational.

My message was simple: if we are to end domestic violence, we must first understand what it is and then have the strength to stand up and speak up against it. Furthermore, young men in our society must have the courage to man up and recognize their role in stopping all forms of abuse.

While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, this is not only a women’s issue, and women cannot be expected to be solely responsible for stopping the abuse. Men must be the solution to eliminating this heinous behavior. Men are the aggressors in 80% of domestic violence cases.

I shared with them my personal story and how it has had an impact on my life.

The scars of domestic abuse never go away, but I can tell you from experience that talking about it does help heal the pain.

Domestic violence is not borne from some mental illness, or parental abuse. It has to do with power and control, especially toward women and children.

Domestic violence makes us all uncomfortable. Most of feel like what goes on within other families is not our business, or sometimes we do not want to believe a neighbor is capable of being abusive.

As I listened to students questions, I was saddened by what I was hearing. It was clear, these teens knew people affected by domestic abuse and they wanted to do something about it.

I shared the fact that one of their best resources is right at the front of the classroom – a teacher.

This brings me back to the importance of mentors in our communities.

Teachers are shaping the lives of our future leaders and it is not an easy task.

The compassion displayed to me this week at Erskine Academy between students, their teachers, and administrators was truly remarkable. I thank our educators who dedicate their lives to teaching and mentoring our students, and most importantly putting their needs first.

Thank you.

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