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Stop Abuse Campaign Capitol Hill Briefing Focuses on Stopping the Cycle of Abuse and Violence

Washington, DC —With a message of, “We are here to help,” anti-abuse and anti-violence organizations joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Victim’s Right Caucus to brief Capitol Hill  on the wide extent and massive costs of abuse in today’s society. The event at the Rayburn House Office Building was hosted by the Stop Abuse Campaign (www.stopabusecampaign.org ), and Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. “In our efforts to prevent injuries and violence, the CDC is currently partnering and looking to do public/private partnerships to end violence in the community,” said Dr. Linda Degutis, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. “It takes a whole community to prevent violence and our effort involves a multi-disciplinary approach. We do know that prevention and partnerships are critical to ending violence.” Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign applauded the work of the CDC as well as the role of many organizations who have been working on the many facets of the cycle of abuse. “Abuse is a combination of dangerous attitudes and behaviors, including deliberate, physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse of the weak by the strong. It must be stopped,” added Willis. “All abuse and violence is interconnected,” said Robert Geffner, Ph.D., co-chair of the The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and President of the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma at Alliant International University. “We must focus on prevention and education so that everyone can feel safe in their own homes, feel safe in their schools, feel safe on their streets, and feel safe in their communities,”said Geffner. “If we don’t act now, the statistics on abuse and violence will continue to grow.” Two speakers reminded the audience of their personal stories of abuse and violence, and the work they’re doing to stop abuse. MIldred Muhammad, former wife of convicted and executed DC Sniper and a survivor of interpersonal violence, reminded the audience that a victim of abuse doesn’t always have physical scars, but is still very much a victim. “Eighty percent of victims of abuse do not have scars to prove it,” said Muhammad, “but we stand with them.” Chris Anderson, executive director of Male Survivor brought his message that, “Healing and hope are possible for all survivors, but every surivor needs support.” Anderson, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, emphasized that what happened to him, can happen to anyone. “Not only can the abuse happen,” said Anderson, “but the healing can happen too.”