Daily Hampshire Gazette Editorial
July 19, 2016
My heart sank when I read a recent article in the Gazette about a man who admitted to assaulting his pregnant partner and was given a suspended sentence.
First, it sank because the court record shows it to be another story of a mother from my community living with abuse. Parenting is hard work in the best of circumstances. If you are assaulted by your partner, the demands of parenting don’t get put on hold. The kids still need to be fed. They need to get to school on time with clean clothes. They need their questions answered. How does a mom do all this right after she is assaulted?
We need to step up our domestic abuse prevention efforts in schools. Many of us talk to our own children about what makes a relationship healthy. But this is not enough. A public health crisis needs a public response. We invest in public education. We teach children how to read, to write, to analyze, to lead. But all of this effort can end up wasted if their lives are destroyed by domestic violence.
The Northwestern district attorney’s office is holding a Safe and Healthy Schools Summit on Nov. 15 focused on healthy relationships and dating violence. Let’s get our schools to attend. Let’s make sure all our kids are learning about the warning signs of abuse in their health classes and are talking about relationship health at school often enough so that it has an impact. Let’s educate our children, and keep them safe.
Monica Moran is the manager of domestic violence prevention projects at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. She lives in Amherst.