To the editor:
Letters to The Eagle from Peggy Kern and Marie T. Harpin (April 16) both celebrate the district attorney's new program to reduce and then eliminate the violence suffered by women at the hands of the men in their lives. The newly formed Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force has been charged with identifying incidents of such abuse and then proposing actual hands-on programs and procedures to stop them.
We have seen community forums, rallies and vigils, which must be gratifying to the abuse victims, and have seen an increased level of general discussion on strategy to end this cycle of violence. Other letter writers have stated their concurrence with the general feeling of society that this pattern of abuse starts in the home and continues in the home.
This history is naturally the hardest pattern to correct. We learn about domestic abuse only after the woman has been abused. At that point, we have only the incomplete remedy of bringing the arm of the criminal law down on the abuser.
What we should be hearing from our DA is how her office and the community support groups mentioned are going to stop abuse occurring in the privacy of the home before it happens. Proposed cures include anti-bullying programs at school and public pressure at various age levels. We have long had the ancient 10-item list of "Thou shall nots," which is seen more in the breach than the observance. We still have the Massachusetts General Laws making so many forms of abuse on women punishable as crimes but these crimes continue.
The DA's campaign statements and literature promised a new and improved approach to this age-old curse. The public cheered these promises but is now eager to see the implementation of specific strategies to first discover and then prevent these abusive acts in the home itself where they primarily occur.
We have identified the disease. Now let's have the promised cure.
Timothy J. Sullivan,
The writer is an attorney.