The eleventh annual statewide ad campaign against domestic or dating violence kicked off at the State House yesterday morning with a moving speech by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick detailing the personal struggle his wife, Diane, endured as a victim of domestic violence.
The campaign, launched at the beginning of October by Boston-area nonprofit Casa Myrna to coincide with a nationwide Domestic Violence Awareness Month, will feature ads displayed on MBTA trains and public buses throughout the state. The ads feature notes of official approval from the Governor and First Lady, and gained additional gravitas from the Governor’s heartfelt statements.
“This Administration has sought to raise public awareness on the issue of domestic violence and to ensure that there are supportive programs in place when a survivor reaches out for help,” said Governor Patrick. “We continue to ask for all of our citizens to se combating domestic violence as part of our shared responsibility for each other. Working together, we can make a difference in preventing domestic violence and stopping a tragedy before it happens.”
The Governor praised his wife throughout the press conference, telling audience members about strangers approaching Diane on the street to thank her for sharing her story. Diane was awarded the Kelly Timilty Advocate for Justice Award earlier this year for her efforts toward ending domestic violence, and the Patricks’ support of Casa Myrna has reinforced the pair’s devotion to the issue.
“[Governor Patrick] has been a staunch advocate for the issue of domestic and sexual violence, said Casa Myrna Outreach Communications Manager Jenny Efimova. “Diane Patrick, as a survivor, has spoken at length about the importance of raising awareness to address and support domestic violence so we’re just really lucky and happy to have their support today.”
The ads will only appear on public transit for a month, but Diane’s personal story guarantees the message behind these visuals will resonate for much longer. According to a 2012 statistical analysis by Casa Myrna: SafeLink, Massachusetts’ statewide domestic violence hotline received more than 30,000 calls in regards to domestic violence in a single year. In addition, SafeLink reports that 1,752 domestic abuse victims across the state reach out for support every day.
Diane’s personal story conveys an important truth about domestic violence that is often overlooked: It is an issue transcends race, class or any other socioeconomic barrier – and the first step to solving the problem is breaking the cycle of silence. As the campaign takes off this year, the Patricks’ forthcoming attitude in sharing their own story will hopefully force people to understand that domestic violence is a prevalent issue in many communities, and therefore requires a community-sized effort to solve it.
The Governor said that this campaign is about “calling attention to something that thrives on lack of attention.” With this endorsement, hopefully the community can do exactly what the governor suggests and open up about domestic violence issues, because they aren’t going away on their own.