LifeBridge Health Blogs » Audrey Bergin, Domestic Violence Program at Northwest Hospital, martin o'malley, northwest hospital » DOVE Program Speaks for the Voiceless at the Annual Domestic Violence Memorial Service
Members of the Domestic Violence (DOVE) Program at Northwest Hospital, along with one of our clients, attended the 24th Annual Domestic Violence Memorial Service hosted by the Maryland Network against Domestic Violence (MNADV). Last year in Maryland, 43 lives were taken due to domestic violence. Each year, this event honors their memories. A moment of silence was observed as each victim’s name, age and gender was read. The youngest victim of a domestic violence-related homicide was only a year old.
Our client spoke as a survivor to shed light on the fear, hurt and emotional turmoil a victim endures. They shared how it feels to actually survive that trauma and rebuild a life free of abuse. Speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves was a very powerful, rewarding experience for our client.
A legislature briefing was held before the memorial. One of the proposed legislative changes is to add “strangulation” to the first degree assault statute. Strangulation is especially devastating because a victim’s next breath — sometimes literally — is in the hands of their abuser. Still, strangulation sometimes comes with a weaker charge of second degree assault. We must act to change this.
Our governor and lieutenant governor were on hand, as were state delegates, law enforcement officers, case workers, advocates, counselors, survivors and families of domestic violence victims. They came together to remember the lives lost to domestic violence, and to support efforts to make sure that other families never have to go through the pain of losing their loved ones.
- Written by Audrey Bergin, manager, Domestic Violence (DOVE) Program, Northwest Hospital
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