AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has proclaimed the month of February to be Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. He recently joined domestic violence awareness advocates in his office to sign the proclamation and praised them for their work.
“There is no room for any type of violence in Maine and I will do everything I can to stop the abuse,” said the Governor. “Violence awareness advocacy groups are an intricate part of helping raise awareness and supporting victims, and I commend these organizations, which are truly making a difference.”
On Thursday, Feb. 6, domestic violence awareness and prevention organizations recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Day at the State House in Augusta where they displayed and shared informational material with the public. Those who participated in this year’s event included, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Hope & Justice Project, Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance, Next Step, Family Violence Project, New Hope for Women, Family Crisis Services, Safe Voices, Caring Unlimited, Wabanaki Women’s Coalition, and the Maliseet Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.
According to Regina Rooney, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence’s Public Awareness Coordinator, “In 2013, nearly 40,000 youth in communities throughout Maine participated in education around dating violence and healthy relationships, provided by advocates from MCEDV resource centers. Outreach and awareness-building with young people is essential to laying the foundation for a violence-free future.”
The Governor invites Mainers to join violence awareness advocates in helping to raise awareness on this important issue by encouraging statewide youth, families, schools, law enforcement communities, government agencies, elected officials, civic organizations and other interested groups to show support for the organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy and services and assistance to victims.
The Proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, the youth of Maine are this State’s most precious resource and greatest hope for the future, and ensuring their safety, well-being, positive development and growth into healthy citizens is a priority and responsibility we all share; and
WHEREAS, the transitional adolescent years present new challenges and choices for teens as they experience dating relationships for the first time; and
WHEREAS, teen dating violence, including physical, verbal and emotional abuse, sexual assault, and harassment via texting, email or “instant messaging” is a reality for many teenagers in Maine and it is a reality of which many parents and caregivers are unaware; and
WHEREAS, studies also indicate that effects of violent relationships can be serious and put victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and adult re-victimization; and
WHEREAS, both Houses of the U.S. Congress have declared February as “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month”.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAUL R. LEPAGE, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby recognize February, 2014 as
TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS & PREVENTION MONTH
throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.