In Michael Shepherd’s article, “Shifting the Dialogue about Domestic Violence” in the Kennebec Journal on June 10, R. Christopher Almy, district attorney for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties, commented on those who are working to end domestic violence.

He said, “They’re no longer just a bunch of flaming feminists. They’re people who live in our community and in many cases have had firsthand experience with domestic violence.”

Hold it right there, Mr. Almy. I volunteered on the crisis line at the Family Violence Project in Augusta for 16 years and worked on staff for six months.

All of the women I worked with in that professional setting were involved in their communities — all of them. Many of them had been victims of domestic violence themselves and chose to work on staff or as volunteers to help other women and their children escape dangerous situations or develop safety plans for surviving in their situations.

Those so-called “flaming feminists” were out there protecting women and children, saving lives at a time when law enforcement and government didn’t view domestic violence seriously.

That view has changed largely because of the relentless persistence of those women to care and work for others because it was the humane and decent thing to do, because it was a way to serve this underserved population.

It is important work to keep domestic violence in the public consciousness via media outlets, including this paper; through domestic violence education programs in classrooms and the larger community; and in family conversations around dinner tables.

It is equally important to be responsibly thoughtful in our language around the issue, to refrain from inflammatory language, which also can do violence to others.

Judith Robbins


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