County ob­serves Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month

Of­fi­cials ask oth­ers to aid lo­cal preven­tion ef­forts

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com

The Calvert County Board of County Com­mis­sion­ers kicked off Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month on Tues­day with a procla­ma­tion urg­ing all cit­i­zens to ac­tively sup­port ef­forts to end do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and pre­vent harm to women, chil­dren, fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity.

“Vi­o­lence against in­no­cents is wrong, pe­riod. Whether we are talk­ing about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or other types of vi­o­lence — vi­o­lence against in­no­cents is wrong,” Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Evan Slaugh­en­houpt (R) said be­fore the procla­ma­tion was is­sued.

On hand to re­ceive the procla­ma­tion from Com­mis­sioner Pat Nut­ter (R) were mem­bers of the Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion

Cen­ter, which be­gan in 1984, and the Com­mis­sion for Women, which was born out of the cen­ter’s ad­vo­cacy. Col­lec­tively, both en­ti­ties are work­ing to end do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in Calvert County by rais­ing aware­ness through dis­plays and events.

In fis­cal 2018, the Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Cen­ter served 875 vic­tims and han­dled 13,580 hot­line calls, ac­cord­ing to David Gale, di­rec­tor of the Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Cen­ter.

“At the Safe Har­bor shel­ter, we pro­vided 355 bed nights to 65 women and their mi­nor chil­dren to keep them safe when they had un­safe en­vi­ron­ments,” Gale said, giv­ing ku­dos to the com­mis­sion­ers for sup­port.

“One of the things we do want to stress is vi­o­lence against women is per­va­sive lo­cally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Com­mis­sion for Women Chair Joan Win­ship said.

Win­ship said vi­o­lence against women does not just hap­pen in the home, but hap­pens in the work­place, at all ages, and is not just phys­i­cal. It can be psy­cho­log­i­cal, emo­tional and sex­ual.

She said one in four women ex­pe­ri­ences some form of vi­o­lence in their life­time or knows of oth­ers who have. She said there was a surge in as­sault and abuse re­ports over the past week.

“The hot­lines across the coun­try were hot, if you will, in terms of peo­ple re­port­ing things. Even of­fi­cials at the White House, in Congress — women who came out who never ex­pressed this. They men­tion these com­ments to their fam­ily and their friends for the first time,” Win­ship said.

While Win­ship did not men­tion names of of­fi­cials or at­tribute the re­cent in­crease in hot­line calls and re­ports of as­sault and abuse to any par­tic­u­lar per­son or event, White House ad­vi­sor Kellyanne Con­way re­vealed dur­ing a re­cent CNN in­ter­view that she too was a vic­tim of sex­ual as­sault.

The Rape, Abuse & In­cest Na­tional Net­work Hot­line re­ported a record num­ber of calls fol­low­ing the Sept. 27 Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing re­gard­ing sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions made by Chris­tine Blasey Ford against U.S. Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh.

“Fri­day, Septem­ber 28, was the busiest day in the 24-year his­tory of the Na­tional Sex­ual As­sault Hot­line, with more than 3,000 peo­ple re­ceiv­ing help,” RAINN Pres­i­dent Scott Berkowitz said in an Oct. 1 press re­lease, a 338 per­cent in­crease over its av­er­age of 950 calls per day.

While Slaugh­en­houpt drew crit­i­cism over a re­cent tweet re­gard­ing the Ka­vanaugh al­le­ga­tions, from women who ac­cused the com­mis­sioner of mak­ing light of sex­ual as­sault by com­par­ing it to a child­hood spank­ing game, Slaugh­en­houpt had said the tweet was meant as a com­men­tary on the decades-long pas­sage of time be­tween when the al­leged in­ci­dent oc­curred and when Ford made her al­le­ga­tions.

Win­ship was one of sev­eral Com­mis­sion for Women mem­bers who signed a let­ter to the edi­tor that ran in the Sept. 26 edi­tion of The Calvert Recorder fol­low­ing Slaugh­en­houpt’s re­marks about the tweet. The let­ter an­nounced the up­com­ing Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Vigil and Recog­ni­tion Cer­e­mony, planned for 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Har­riet El­iz­a­beth Brown Com­mu­nity Cen­ter — and it also asked elected of­fi­cials to show greater sup­port for and not be­lit­tle al­leged vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and sex­ual as­sault.

Slaugh­en­houpt’s Twit­ter ac­count was de­ac­ti­vated Oct. 1, as part of the out­go­ing com­mis­sioner’s phase-out of so­cial me­dia as he wraps up his fi­nal term, he told The Calvert Recorder.

Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Pres­i­dent Tom Hejl (R) said the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice was the first law en­force­ment depart­ment to use the do­mes­tic vi­o­lence assess­ment sheet and it helped the of­fice to know what to ex­pect and how to di­rect re­sources to in­di­vid­u­als who called about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Gale con­firmed the Lethal­ity Assess­ment Pro­gram, used to iden­tify vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence at a high risk of in­jury or death, was pi­loted in Calvert County and the state has no­ticed a drop in do­mes­tic vi­o­lence homi­cides since the pro­gram was adopted in all coun­ties.

“We know it’s ef­fec­tive. We know that our deputies are us­ing it and it’s keep­ing cit­i­zens safer and less likely to be vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence homi­cide,” Gale said.

But even then, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence deaths still hap­pen from time to time in Calvert. Just this Au­gust, James Harley of Lusby was sen­tenced to life in prison for the mur­der of his 34-year-old wife, Tanya, last year. Be­fore Harley, 27-year-old Amanda Fos­ter of Lusby was stabbed to death by her boyfriend in 2013, and in 2012, Cyn­thia Hay­ward, 32, and her 2-year-old daugh­ter were killed by Hay­ward’s hus­band in a mur­der-sui­cide in their Owings home, leav­ing be­hind an or­phaned 12-year-old boy who sur­vived his fa­ther’s at­tack with deep cuts and burns.

Com­mis­sioner Mike Hart (R) re­called a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent that turned deadly when he was a child and how he to­day en­cour­ages his son to play “very easy with the girls” dur­ing re­cess.

“I be­lieve strongly that men have an im­por­tant role to play as we teach young men and our male chil­dren,” Gale said.

STAFF PHOTO BY TA­MARA WARD

Shirts dec­o­rated to rep­re­sent in­di­vid­ual do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ex­pe­ri­ences hang in the Calvert County Cir­cuit Court­house dur­ing Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month. The vis­ual dis­play, the Clothes­line Project, is in­tended to bring aware­ness to the is­sue of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TA­MARA WARD

Above left, David Gale, di­rec­tor of the Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Cen­ter, tells the Calvert County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers the cen­ter served 875 vic­tims and han­dled 13,580 hot­line calls in fis­cal 2018, dur­ing the board’s Oct. 2 meet­ing. Gale was on hand for the procla­ma­tion declar­ing Oc­to­ber as Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month. Above right, Com­mis­sion for Women Chair Joan Win­ship, front right, ad­dresses the com­mis­sion­ers about the types of vi­o­lence women ex­pe­ri­ence, dur­ing the procla­ma­tion. Be­hind her are Cri­sis In­ter­ven­tion Cen­ter staff Jen­nifer Ed­ward and Rita My­ers. Across from her are Com­mis­sion­ers Pat Nut­ter (R), left, and Mike Hart (R), Gale, Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Evan Slaugh­en­houpt (R), Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Pres­i­dent Tom Hejl (R) and Com­mis­sioner Steve Weems (R).

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