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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, Domestic abuse isn’t an issue that we should pay attention to only one month during the year – it’s a topic that can target victims any day of week, any hour of the day.

Hi. This is your Governor, Paul LePage.

Domestic violence transcends race, age, gender and economic groups and it is widespread affecting over 4 million Americans each year. It’s likely you know someone whose been in an abusive situation – whether it be emotional or physical.

Although domestic abuse, often times, is a difficult subject to speak about, it is a necessary discussion we must have with each other.

Domestic violence awareness month provides a great opportunity for citizens to learn more about preventing domestic violence and to show support for the numerous organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy, services and assistance to victims.

This last week I was able to join with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence for their annual Awards Ceremony which was held at the Blaine House. Ten business leaders were recognized for their commitment to end abuse.

Those business leaders are from: • Petrona Construction • Brann and Isaacson • Portland Mattress Makers • Camden National Bank • Gerard's Pizza • Mayo Regional Hospital • Miller Drug • Darling's Auto Mall • Caribou Empire Beauty School • Dan Osgood Productions

I applaud each of these businesses and their employees for their dedication to this issue.

October, also, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have signed a proclamation for this very important cause too.

Significant strides in technological advances and education outreach relating to breast cancer has been made over the years.

In fact, for more than 25 years survivors, families, friends, doctors and researchers have raised awareness, educated, and empowered our Nation about this deadly cancer and how early detection can save lives.

I would like to see that same movement occur on behalf of domestic violence victims.

Knowledge is power. Educating our children is important. We must inform each other about the facts of domestic violence and educate ourselves and others on how to recognize domestic violence and what to do about it; on teen dating violence; on the impact of family violence on children; and on domestic violence against the disabled and the elderly.

Nearly every year, half of Maine’s homicides are connected to domestic violence. It’s a staggering statistic that is not just a number. It is people’s lives. And, maybe, just maybe, through education and awareness, if we can prevent a senseless murder it is worth the effort.

Our State has lost too many at the hands of violence. Families have been torn apart. The recent case in Dexter involving the Lake family is a horrific example of what can be lost.

But this tragedy and others like it show how strong of an advocate a community can be. On October first, more than 600 people came together during an annual walk and run held by womancare of Dover-Foxcroft. The group provides support and advocacy to those affected by domestic violence. It’s the good and hard work of organizations like womancare that make a difference.

So, I will ask you to proudly where purple and pink this month – purple for domestic violence awareness and pink for breast cancer awareness. Show your support. Speak out. Send a message.

We, too, can save hundreds, if not thousands of lives by joining together to educate and eliminate domestic violence.

Thank you for listening.

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