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National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH -- (House of Representatives - October 02, 2008)

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, many things are going on in our country tonight and this week, and the Congress faces difficult decisions. But the death of a son or daughter, a family member, all these other things can pale in the tragedy that encounters many families across this country.

Tonight, I want to recognize the month of October as ``National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.'' Most years that I've been in Congress I have come to the floor in October to try to raise the awareness of the death and violence that occurs in our homes across America. I think significant progress has been made in calling the attention to domestic violence and helping victims and families recover from abuse; however, so much remains to be done because senseless acts of violence are still taking place in homes and communities across America.

Tragically, I was reminded of the need for greater efforts to combat domestic violence this past July when tragedy struck in my home State of Kansas. Tonight, I'd like to share with you the story of Jana Lynne Mackey.

On July 20, 1982, Jana was born in Harper, Kansas. Jana was raised primarily in my hometown of Hays, Kansas, where she was an active member of 4-H, an athlete, and a very talented musician; but most of all, she was a vibrant and caring young woman who fought for those whose voices would not otherwise be heard.

Following high school graduation, Jana completed a bachelor's degree where she discovered her passion, advocating for those who needed her help. She went on to pursue a law degree at the University of Kansas with the goal of using that education to further the cause of others.

Jana tirelessly fought for equality and social justice through her many local and national organizations that she belonged to and worked for. She was an active volunteer in the Lawrence Safe Center, a facility that aids victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. But on July 3, 2008, Jana's body was discovered in an ex-boyfriend's home. Her own promising life prematurely ended at the age of 25 by an act of domestic violence.

All too often, we think domestic violence doesn't occur in our own communities or to people that we know or families that we care about, but Jana's story is evidence that no State, no community, no family is immune to the far-reaching presence of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a problem that does not discriminate on race, gender, age group, education, or social status. It wreaks havoc on our increasingly stressed health care network, our overflowing criminal justice system, and, of course, on our daily lives.

Domestic violence continues to impact communities in Kansas and across America. Each year nearly 4 million new incidents of domestic violence are reported in the United States. Of those 4 million cases, nearly 100,000 Kansas women fall victim to domestic violence each year. Each day in America, over 53,000 victims receive care through domestic violence programs, the programs that Jana volunteered and advocated for.

Despite the harsh realities, there is hope for tomorrow. It's my belief that with continued education, resources, and support, the victims of domestic violence can overcome their condition. In the 69 counties I represent, it's the same belief that maintains and encourages the nine domestic violence centers in that district. These agencies are vital to our communities as they raise awareness, advocate for victims, and provide support to those victims with resources and the care they so desperately need.

Jana made a greater impact in her 25 years than many individuals do in a lifetime. And while Jana's story is tragic, her example is a lesson and an inspiration for all of us to be more active in the fight against violence. This is why her family started the 1100 Torches campaign.

At Jana's funeral 1,100 people were in attendance, which indicates the magnitude of the impact of her live on others. In the aftermath of her death, her mother, Christie Brungardt, and her stepfather, Curt, along with family and friends launched the 1100 Torches campaign to serve as Jana's call to action; that despite our personal politics, we can make a difference in the world and in turn make it a better place to live. It is the campaign's hope that through Jana's story, 1,100 people will be inspired by her to serve others and to make a difference in their communities. I encourage my colleagues and all Americans to learn about Jana's story and the impact of domestic violence by visiting the 1100 Torches campaign Web site at www.1100torches.org and by learning more about this issue in your local community.

We're making progress and drawing attention to domestic violence this month in October; yet this problem continues to impact our communities and their families. We must not forget about those violent crimes that destroy homes and families and devastate lives. This October let us remember the victims of domestic violence and learn from their courage as we do our best to ensure that our communities are safe places to live, to work, and to raise our families.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for continued support and assistance of domestic violence prevention programs, and tonight I pay tribute to the young life of Jana Mackey.


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