Leonard will address domestic issues | AspenTimes.com

Leonard will address domestic issues

Dear Editor:

A banner hanging across Main Street, Aspen, declares that it is National Domestic Awareness Month. My first sight of it resurrected the image of my 15-year-old older sister standing between my drunken father, who was extremely angry and holding a knife, and the (only) bathroom door, behind which was my drunken mother crying and yelling she hates him.

Scenes like this were not uncommon in my house. The police were called to defuse incidents many times. Relatives dismissed my parents’ addictions with anger and shame. As a child it was hard for me to comprehend how my parents, who were well-liked, the music directors of our family church and who taught children as their profession, could turn into monsters five nights a week, every week for decades. On a regular basis my drunk father, having no one to bully because my mother had passed out (and my older sister had moved out), would call me from my bedroom and berate me until I broke down into puddle of tears and then wave me back to bed. On other nights he would call me from my room, order a pizza and then play Peter, Paul and Mary records, which we would sing loudly to until I couldn’t stay awake any more. It is no wonder that I started drinking when I was 14, did mediocre in school, and felt as if I was alone in the world, contemplating suicide on more than one occasion.

Next to the banner declaring this month as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a banner announcing another event for the Komen Foundation. The Komen banner is bright and sends a message of hope. The domestic violence banner is just there in muted colors, offering no information about fundraising events, a sponsor of the banner, or who to call for help. How truly evident of how domestic violence is dealt with in our community.

At the primary forum a few months ago, sheriff candidate Joe DiSalvo stated that he feels that domestic violence is the single biggest crime issue in Pitkin County. A visit to this candidate’s website does not give me any insight into how he plans to deal with the domestic violence issue or any of the issues facing our community today. My time visiting with sheriff candidate Rick Leonard gives me hope that he can truly make a difference not only with regards to domestic violence, but other serious concerns that plague our county.

The memories of the violence that happened during my childhood don’t haunt me as they use to. But they do give me the determination to do what I can to awaken our community to the effects domestic violence has. I am voting for Rick Leonard because I believe that he will be the person who can give the people who are affected by domestic violence the tools they need to get through the trauma of this all-too-common life experience.

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Kim Vieira

Aspen Village