Governor's weekly radio address

Stand up and speak out

By Gov. Paul LePage | Feb 04, 2012

The following is text from the governor's Feb. 4, 2012, radio address. To listen, click the MP3 link below.

"Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Each year thousands of Mainers are affected by it. You could be a victim yourself, or a friend, neighbor or co-worker could be.

The question is, will you stand up and speak out against it?

I’m talking about domestic violence. Not only is this type of abuse devastating to the victim, but it is traumatic for families and entire communities.

My administration will join Chief Justice [Leigh] Saufley, Attorney General [William] Schneider, members of The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Democrats and Republicans, and many others to introduce a variety of domestic violence related bills.

These are bills that will close loopholes and improve our justice system.

I look forward to unveiling this legislation in mid-February with everyone involved.

Every day, I carry with me a fifty-cent piece. I received it from my father when I was 11.

Not for any good reason like doing my chores or homework; instead, that coin was given to me to stay silent about the abuse that was occurring in my family.

I knew it was wrong then. And it’s still wrong today. That is why I made a choice. I could have stayed and lived with the assaults or I could leave. I took that fifty-cent piece, chose the latter and haven’t looked back.

If there is a way to help someone who is in a similar situation that I was in, I’ll do it. There is support within our communities. As neighbors, colleagues and friends and family, we must be willing to become a voice for victims.

I believe it is through the power of a voice we can make a difference. Not just mine — yours, too.

Domestic violence is a crime that can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, economic and sexual abuse. It does not discriminate based on race, age or gender.

But the fact is more than 80 percent of domestic violence-related homicides are committed by men.

It’s why I will continue to speak out and say we must shift this issue from a women’s issue to a men’s issue.

Men are a major part of the problem and men must be a major part of the solution.

This week, my administration unveiled a public service announcement highlighting domestic violence awareness and the need for men to speak up in a united effort to end the abuse.

My staff, commissioners, state employees, advocates and families and friends of domestic violence victims participated in this announcement.

I would like to thank all the families that allowed us to feature their loved ones in this announcement.

I would like to thank Maine Video on Demand for their in-kind services to see this project get off the ground.

I would also like to thank one young man, in particular, for standing with me in the announcement. His name is Jarod Gay. Jarod was a classmate and good friend of Cody Lake of Dexter, Maine.

Through a horrific act of domestic violence, Cody, his sister Monica and their mother Amy were murdered last year.

To honor Cody and his friendship, Jarod had the courage to stand with me and send a message — a powerful one.

I hope you will have the chance to view this important message.

It will be given to every television station across our state and it is available to view on Mainevod.com. Again, that’s Mainevod.com.

If you are a victim or know someone who is, please do not remain silent. There are services across our state that can provide you with the help needed to leave an abusive relationship.

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is a strong state-wide advocacy group that is dedicated to supporting people affected by domestic abuse and that batterers are held accountable.

The state-wide Domestic Violence Helpline is 1-866-834-HELP. That number again is 1-866-834-HELP.

Please, use your voice to stop the violence."

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