How can two issues as closely linked as poverty and domestic violence be addressed separately by the LePage administration? On one hand they cry foul and pass legislation that further harms the poor, while the other hand is waging a campaign to stop domestic violence. Could it be that neither Paul LePage nor the rest of his administration understand the well-known, documented correlation between poverty and violence? Or perhaps they are ignoring it?

You can’t change truth: Poverty and violence are irrevocably linked. This is no longer the era where jobs are readily available and pay a wage relative to the cost of living. Today’s wages for working poor are barely above $7.50 to $8 per hour. In a world where a family of four pays more than $600 per month for food and at least that much again for rent, this demands subsidy, something for which they are sorely criticized.

Add fuel costs and childcare costs, and it’s an impossible situation on low wages. This constant myth of “they just aren’t trying hard enough” is a stereotypical attitude about their life circumstances in the same way as those saturating the culture of violence.

Myth: “If she wanted to leave, she could.” We all realize how poverty often makes this statement false. Attitudes like this marginalize and desensitize the true struggle blaming the vulnerable instead of working to eliminate the true causes of poverty. They separate our society into a dichotomy of “them and us.” Imagine how it might be if corporations did pay a living wage? Imagine if the idea of personal responsibility was applied at both ends of that spectrum?

Claire Hersom, Winthrop

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