RADIO ADDRESS: We all have a responsibility to support one another even as we stay apart.

April 30, 2021

Some years ago there was a young woman who dated a man who was handsome, charming, and she was in love with him. The man was also an alcoholic, as it turns out, and one night in a drunken rage, he held a gun to that woman’s head. The gun did not go off, thankfully. She was alone in a strange city and had no place to go. She packed her bags and left that place and never turned back.

Sound familiar?

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

The rest of the story is that that young woman went to law school. She became a prosecutor, and later Attorney General and is now the Governor of the State of Maine.

I will never forget that night. And I will always know that I was one of the lucky ones. Many others have not been so lucky.

But I am sharing this story because I want others who are experiencing domestic violence to know that it can happen to anybody and it is ok to share your own story. There are people who are ready and able to help you stay safe.

This week I joined Attorney General Aaron Frey at an event to spread awareness about domestic violence and to honor domestic abuse homicide victims. Together we released the 13th biennial report of the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel. 

For twenty years, the reports of this panel have helped lawmakers understand why domestic violence murders occur in Maine so we can act to prevent more such tragedies. That guidance has shaped a number of meaningful changes in public policy since I took office, but we have a lot more to do.

We all have a responsibility to support one another even as we stay apart during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Key relationships in a victim’s life can be a source of support and strength in situations of abuse, although all too often well-meaning friends and family just aren’t sure or aware of how to help.

One of the Homicide Review Panel’s recommendations is that community members who are in the lives of victims and perpetrators seek support from community-based organizations to know how to help in safe and effective ways. 

If you are worried about how your spouse, your partner, or someone you used to date is treating you; if you are concerned that a friend, a family member, a coworker, or someone else in your life is maybe being controlled or hurt by their partner; if you are struggling with the impacts of an abusive partner yourself and need some support, please call 1-866-834-4357, any time, 24 hours a day. 1-866-834-4357.

You know, no one, no person, of any age, of any gender, should feel alone or unable to get the help they need.

Last week was Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Maine. We called upon all Maine people to recommit to ensuring accessible and appropriate services for all victims of crime, especially those who have few avenues to justice.

Let’s all do our part to prevent domestic violence in our state and to keep our crime rate low as well and to improve our responses to all victims of crime so that they may find safety, justice, and peace of mind.

I feel so fortunate to be the Governor of this wonderful state, my home state. I feel fortunate to be alive. And I am grateful for the opportunity to carry on this work with so many legislators, advocates, and friends who are all determined to prevent another young person from falling under the spell of a dangerous person, and who are determined to make this state and this country a safer place for all.

This is Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.