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Remarks by Rep. Mike Capuano Recognizing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 15, 2002

"Mr. Speaker,"

"I rise today to recognize the 15th Anniversary of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month of reflection evolved from the Day of Unity, which was created in 1981 to connect battered women's advocates from across the nation who shared the common goal of ending violence and abuse. The Day of Unity developed into a week of local, state and national advocacy and in October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed."

"Domestic violence is a serious problem in communities throughout the United States. While physical abuse is the most recognized form of domestic violence, in many cases the abuse is often emotional, verbal, mental, sexual or economic. Domestic violence affects families in every community, crossing all races, social and economic backgrounds, cultures, religions, and relationships."

"According to the 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey, approximately 700,000 incidents of violence between partners were reported that year with thousands more cases going unreported. Every person deserves the right to live without fear. Children who witness family violence may be its most helpless victims, even if they are not attacked themselves."

"It is crucial to raise awareness among teachers, police officers, clergy, and others in the community who can recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse. Historically, domestic violence has been considered a private issue, allowing thousands of abusers to carry out their crimes unnoticed. No one in an abusive situation should feel isolated or judged. With awareness and education, we can learn how to help our friends or loved ones in need and ensure they have the support they need to end the violent behavior in their homes."

"Many Federal, State, and local programs addressing the domestic violence problem have achieved great success, bringing greater safety to families. Community leaders, police, judges, advocates, healthcare workers, and concerned citizens are joining together to develop innovative solutions to this serious problem. Community-based organizations in my district, such as the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Casa Myrna Vasquez, The Elizabeth Stone House, Finex House, Harbor Me, Jane Doe Inc., Renewal House, Respond, Inc., and the Transition House have been helping individuals win the battle against domestic violence for many years, and their dedication should be applauded."

"During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I urge all Americans to commit themselves to eliminating domestic violence and reaching out to its victims, letting them know that help is available. With dedication and vigilance, we can help keep thousands of American families safe."

"Thank You."