Last week, Katie and I attended an event for the Montgomery County Family Justice Center where we listened to a young woman tell the story of how her ex-boyfriend nearly beat her to death with an 18-pound crucifix. It was only when her young daughter opened the door that the police was able to rush in and save her life.
We hear these stories too often. But in order to make these stories a thing of the past, we need to keep telling them. We need to raise awareness, we need to teach our teenagers early that dating violence is always unacceptable and most importantly, we need to continue to work together to provide victims with the support they need.
In Maryland, we’ve set the goal to reduce violent crime against women and children 25% by 2012. We worked tirelessly to pass legislation that takes firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers and fought for new laws that inform victims when a protective order has been served. And while other states and cities have reduced or even eliminated funding to combat domestic violence, in Maryland, we’ve increased funding over the past few years.
These efforts work. Last year, we had a record low number of deaths as a result of domestic violence. But the loss of even one life is one too many, and we will continue to fight until that number is down to zero.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to share this list of resources for victims. If you are a victim or know a victim, I hope you’ll take a moment to contact one of these organizations. There is help out there, and in our One Maryland, we are all in this together.