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Domestic violence awareness rises at State House

Banner pushes a pledge not to tolerate abuse

A banner celebrating Massachusetts White Ribbon Day was unfurled above the steps of the State House yesterday as part of the Jane Doe Inc.-sponsored campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. At left, Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray took part in the ceremony. A banner celebrating Massachusetts White Ribbon Day was unfurled above the steps of the State House yesterday as part of the Jane Doe Inc.-sponsored campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. At left, Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray took part in the ceremony.
(Photos By David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
By Matt Murphy
State House News Service / March 4, 2011

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Advocates for domestic violence prevention unfurled a banner yesterday on the front steps of the State House, featuring the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day pledge: “From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.’’

The ceremony, part of the fourth annual celebration of White Ribbon Day, marked what Jane Doe Inc. believes to be the first time such a banner has been displayed at any State House in the country.

Dozens gathered in Gardner Auditorium prior to the event, which has become an annual awareness day on Beacon Hill under Governor Deval Patrick. He, along with Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, addressed the audience about the importance of funding prevention programs and speaking out against domestic violence.

“Being a man has nothing to do with exerting power over other people,’’ Patrick said. “Being a man is about wisdom, about kindness, about understanding, about the courage of showing your own vulnerability, and nothing at all to do with mistreating or hurting or demeaning another person.’’

Murray said that after several years of reduced incidents of domestic violence, primarily toward women, there were 30 homicides in 2010 related to domestic violence.

“The men here today believe that domestic violence against women in any form is unacceptable, and we must all play our part in preventing abuse from happening to anyone in the Commonwealth,’’ Murray said.

Patrick credited Murray for his role in combating domestic violence and sexual abuse even before becoming lieutenant governor. Patrick also lauded his own wife, Diane, a domestic violence victim in a previous marriage, for helping teach him “what it means to be a man.’’

The event was organized by Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts coalition against sexual assault and domestic violence, and led by Mary Lauby, executive director.

White Ribbon Day is tied to an international campaign called The White Ribbon Campaign, which was created by a group of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal.

Also in attendance yesterday were Angelo McClain, Department of Children and Families commissioner; John Auerbach, Public Health commissioner; and Robert DeLeo, speaker of the House, and several other lawmakers.