The first weeks of 2018 have already brought news of two domestic violence homicides in Maine. On January 10th in Temple, a small town in Franklin County, Thomas Masse allegedly killed his wife, Michelle, and then himself. This week, Anthony Leng was arrested and charged with murdering Sokha Khoun on January 7 in the home they shared in Portland.
Our hearts and deepest condolences are with the loved ones of Ms. Masse and Ms. Khuon, especially the children. We think also of those who care for those who killed them, and who now struggle to understand that someone they knew and cared about could commit such grievous and violent acts.
In the wake of these losses, we strengthen our commitment to working to eradicate domestic abuse and violence. Our state has come a long way, but we have not done enough:
Not all victims have the support they need to be safe from the threats they face—both those generated by their abusers, and those from the circumstances of their lives - their financial resources, education, immigration status, connection to community, ability, health - which are inevitably used by abusers to convince their victims that there is no escape;
Not all offenders are held to account for the impact of their attitudes and behaviors on the people around them;
And we have not yet transformed the underlying ideas about intimate relationships that lead some in our culture to believe they have the right to power over the lives of others.
We must do more. As the first heartbreaking weeks of 2018 remind us, the toll that domestic violence takes on people of this state and our world is devastating. Every one of us has a part to play in creating a world that fosters safety, equity, opportunity and justice for all of us—because when we have done that, we will have created a world in which domestic abuse and violence can no longer exist. We have no time to waste. Please join us.