The calendar has turned October. Generally, that means autumn colors, cool morning air, and in recent years, the color pink everywhere. While this year Mother Nature seems to have developed an inability to read the calendar, the tree leaves are starting to change and I have begun to notice the pink hue that Breast Cancer Awareness Month covers our storefronts, screens, and in the past, editions of this newspaper.
Make no mistake about it, cancer is a terrible disease. Dollars raised to fight that battle and awareness of the same are matters of huge import in this day and age. Cancer kills. Breast cancer specifically has killed members of my family, and if we can solve that puzzle, then we absolutely need to do so, and I pray that we one day live in a world where our children learn of the history of cancer, like we now learn how Polio or Smallpox were terrible diseases.
While you likely knew, or would remember that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you may not have known that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it is signified by the color purple. At the prosecutor’s office, we deal with domestic violence each and every day. Whether it is discussing a case, reviewing a case, communicating with a victim of felony domestic violence, these cases are often part of our regular and active docket.
The goal of this column is to make you aware that domestic violence is a problem in our community. It has been, and it likely will be in the future. Domestic violence is a crime that we treat very seriously, but unfortunately, the cases are often hard to prove. There are often no witnesses, no recordings, no medical records, and all too often reluctant victims. Victims that are afraid of losing their home, a roof of the head of their children, food on the dinner table, or any other combination of factors. We deal with that quite frequently as well, and yes, it can be frustrating. Even with the frustration, when we can prosecute and we can prove a crime of domestic violence, we will do so, and we will ask that the offender be punished in accordance with the laws of this state.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, please call and report the same to the authorities. Please contact the victim witness division of our office. They can and will help you obtain a Civil Protection Order or Civil Stalking Protection Order, if you meet the statutory criteria for the same. The advocates do a remarkable job of dealing with people at what are often some of the most difficult and trying times of their lives.
Thus, this month, be aware of breast cancer. Be aware of that evil. Certainly do your part to end that disease, but also be aware of domestic violence. Be a helping hand to victim. Help us stop that as well.
Jess Weade is the Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney.