Silence Is Violence

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Strike Against Crime (PDF)

S/V Domestic Violence statement

Date: Tue, May. 06, 2008

Ever since the founding of SilenceIsViolence nearly a year and a half ago, our organization has wanted to address the delicate but urgent issue of domestic violence in our society. Mother Teresa once called her followers to “Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your own house.” Instead, too many New Orleanians are experiencing hatred and violence at home. To pretend that this hatred and violence does not spread onto our streets and into our neighborhoods, that it does not fuel the more public forms of violence that find their way into our newspaper daily, is disingenuous.

What’s more, pre-lethal incidents of domestic violence are some of the very few indicators that can enable us to predict—and prevent—murders in our city. If we respond to domestic violence effectively, we can actually reduce the murder rate in New Orleans.

This is why we are speaking to you today: to announce a collaborative determination between our grass-roots organization and the criminal justice system, with support from the academic resources of Tulane Law School, to respond to domestic violence firmly and in ways that protect both victims and the broader community.

The SilenceIsViolence organization is taking this on because we recognize that the system can only be effective where the community is prepared to support its efforts. We regard it as the responsibility of SilenceIsViolence to spread the message that peace must begin at home; to demand safety and justice for domestic violence victims; and to insist that these victims’ children be spared the examples of intimidation and retribution that domestic violence feeds upon and generates. To this end, we are making SilenceIsViolence available to help organize presentations and community discussions on domestic violence, in collaboration with the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic. Domestic violence cases shall become a central part of our focus as we continue to watch and engage with the law enforcement and criminal justice policies and practices in Orleans Parish.

In addition, we call upon the community to join us in creating an environment intolerant to batterers,

through our words and our actions, and to let NOPD officers and public officials know that domestic violence is a serious concern of New Orleans citizens, with tangible ramifications for our overall public safety.