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National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH -- (House of Representatives - October 17, 2005)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, this evening I rise to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thankfully, we have made progress in raising awareness and attention of domestic violence and providing assistance to the affected victims. However, it is a problem that has not gone away.

We must not forget about these crimes that disrupt homes and destroy families. It is estimated that over 2 million acts of domestic violence take place each year here in the United States. According to a recent study in my home State of Kansas, one domestic violence act occurs every 24 minutes.

Domestic violence is an issue that affects all aspects of our society and is not bound by race, economics or age. It can be blamed for increased medical care costs, decreased productivity, and increased absence from work. Domestic violence also promotes a culture of depression, hopelessness and fear. One incidence of domestic violence can create a cycle of despair that is difficult for not only the victim but also the entire family to overcome.

In my small hometown of Plainville, Kansas, a family grieves over the loss of their daughter. Patty Kruse-Hicks, a kind, loving daughter, and a devoted mother to her three children, lost her life due to domestic violence. On April 19, 2004, the world changed forever for her family and all those who loved her. Patty is more than a statistic. Her legacy and love will live in the hearts of all who knew her. Too often we think an act of domestic violence does not occur on our street, in our hometown, or to people and families we know, but this act of violence tells me that no street, no community, no hometown is immune.

There are other victims of domestic violence who are often overlooked. Each year an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence committed by family members against their mother or caretaker. During 2002 in Kansas alone, there were over 8,000 cases where children were the victims of domestic violence. Children who see violence are more likely to commit or suffer violence when they become adults. The cycle of despair continues from one generation to the next.

While the realities of domestic violence are grim, we do have hope. Our hope stems from the belief that with education, resources and support, victims of domestic violence can overcome their circumstances. Hope is what sustains and motivates the nine domestic violence centers I represent in my rural 69-county district. These agencies help advocate for victims, provide essential services, and spearhead efforts to increase domestic violence awareness throughout most part of rural Kansas.

I would like to highlight one such effort. In Emporia, the SOS, Inc., agency recently partnered with the Girl Scout Council of the Flint Hills, and their Studio 2 Be Troop, including 40 girls, ranging from the ages of 11 to 17. This effort focused on teaching these youth about domestic violence and the legal system. The highlight of this year-long project was a mock trial event that the youth participated in during the month of September. The troop girls were the defense and prosecution teams, the jury, and even the victims of crimes. This project was supported by the legal community, and many lawyers and judges gave their time to work with these Girl Scouts. This project taught the participants that domestic violence is not okay and our communities should take it very seriously. This project was a one-of-a-kind experience for these girls, and garnered significant national attention.

Mr. Speaker, tonight I rise to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thankfully, we have made progress in raising awareness and attention to domestic violence and providing assistance to victims. However, it is a problem that certainly has not gone away. We must not forget about these crimes that disrupt homes and destroy families. It is estimated that 2 million acts of domestic violence will take place this year in the United States. According to a recent study, in my home State of Kansas one domestic violence act occurs every 24 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for continued support and assistance for the domestic violence programs we in Congress have responsibility for.

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