AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage helped unveil a new advertising campaign Friday in his ongoing effort to reduce domestic violence.

A video ad, to be broadcast as soon as next week by Maine television stations, features photos of murdered women and children, and LePage standing with a group of men who denounce the violence.

“The effects of the violence are devastating and long-lasting,” LePage said while presenting the ad Friday.

LePage was a victim of domestic abuse as a child and has spoken — including during his State of the State address last week — about the need for men to oppose the violence.

LePage said Friday that he hopes to “get all men in our state to stand up, speak up and man up against domestic violence.”

The video was produced, at no cost to the state, by Ryan Pomerleau, owner of Maine Video On Demand in Oakland. It will be circulated to television stations as a public service announcement.

Domestic violence accounted for 11 of Maine’s 23 murders last year.

The video’s final photograph shows Amy Lake with her children, Cody and Monica. Steven Lake killed all three members of his family in Dexter in June, then killed himself.

The murders have renewed legislative efforts to enhance protection for families.

Lawmakers from both parties have introduced bills to tighten up bail conditions, crack down on stalkers and make it easier to prosecute strangulation as a form of assault. The LePage administration is expected to introduce its own bill to fight domestic violence later this month.

Mainers “have had it” with domestic abuse, said Julia Colpitts, executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.

“Maine has reached a tipping point,” she said. “We will not tolerate it any further.”

Colpitts urged people to get involved if they see abuse. She called for employers to adopt policies to protect workers.

“Most homicide victims have talked in their workplace about abuse before their deaths,” she said.

LePage called the education effort “probably, in my mind, one of the most important things we’ve done to date. … I feel Maine needs to shift domestic violence from a women’s problem to a men’s problem.”

Other governors have highlighted the issue. Gov. Angus King talked about it in a State of the State address, and he made a public service announcement with his wife.

LePage’s message is more personal and more focused on Maine men, said Arthur Jette, head of the Maine Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.

“I think there are people listening to the message for the first time,” he said.

John Richardson — 620-7016

[email protected]

For help with domestic violence, call the statewide help line: (800) 834-HELP (4357).


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