LEONARDTOWN, Md. – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; statistics indicate that one in four women have experienced violence in an intimate relationship. Therefore, the St. Mary’s County Commission for Women has made addressing Domestic Violence issues a primary focus.

Domestic Violence has long been considered a private matter – not anyone else’s business. It is our business: our neighbors, our families, our schools, our churches and our places of employment. It affects the wealthy and poor alike, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender; and it affects not only adults but also children. Domestic violence impacts our entire community.

In 2017, the Maryland Commission for Women held a listening tour to determine what issues most concern the women of our state. Domestic Violence was the number one issue identified. In St. Mary’s County, it was also the number one issue of concern.

Since statistics tell us that women between 18 and 24 are the most vulnerable, we continue to work diligently to help young people learn the warning signs. For the past several years, the Commission for Women has partnered with the public schools to educate our youth about developing healthy relationships that they can carry into adulthood. We’re currently collaborating with the County Health Department’s Violence, Injury and Trauma Task Force (VITAT) to inform youth and their parents about the warning signs and dangers of unhealthy relationships.

A Commission for Women member serves on the Family Violence Coordinating Council, a group of the many agencies that provide service to victims in the county. This affiliation allows us to stay informed of current needs, resources and statistics in our county.

This complex issue requires and deserves a multifaceted approach. We’re asking community members, victims, or friends to share their experiences and concerns with us. Let us know what resources or services would make your journey out of abuse easier and safer.

You may share your ideas in multiple ways. Contact a Commission for Women member by:

• Phone 301-475-4200, ext.1680, and leave a message. Your call will be returned.
• Send an email to: commissionforwomen@stmarysmd.com.
• Contact us at www.facebook.com/StMarysCountyCommissionforWomen/.
• Mail to St. Mary’s County Commission for Women, P.O. Box 659, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

If you or your loved one is in an abusive situation and you need immediate help, contact The Southern Maryland Center for Family Advocacy at 301-373-4141 or call 911.