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Va. leaders share stories of domestic, sexual abuse to help others come forward

WASHINGTON — She is a victim of abuse. You’d never know from talking with Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid. And in most cases, the Virginia sheriff wouldn’t volunteer the information.

Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Kincaid was one of the local leaders who told their personal stories of abuse, in hopes that citizens feel empowered enough to reach out for help.

Fairfax County has launched a “Make the Call” campaign to encourage victims to call the county’s 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline, at 703-360-7273, teletypewriter TTY 711.

Kincaid was one of the local leaders who told their personal stories of abuse, in hopes that citizens feel empowered enough to reach out for help.

“I was a witness, I was a victim, I am a survivor,” said Kincaid, describing how her stepfather treated her mother. “The man that she married beat her, he beat my brother and he beat me.”

State Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax) said she was date raped in college.

“This is the first time in public I’ve ever said this,” Murphy said. “It’s taken me a long time to stand here and say that I am a survivor … I’m a survivor.”

State Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) said his sister, Janet, planned to leave her husband with her two children, to avoid abuse.

He said she had an appointment scheduled with a divorce attorney in 1996, but her husband killed her before she could hold the meeting.

Levine said he wished she had reached out for help.

“She was ashamed to be with a man who would abuse her so,” Levine said. “She was ashamed — we should all be ashamed to have a culture that would give women that shame.”

Kincaid said there are several reasons women — and in some cases men — don’t report domestic and sexual abuse.

“For fear, humiliation, embarrassment, and I think, most importantly, that people actually think that no one will believe them,” said Kincaid.

The county said the hotline gets more than 240 calls per month, with a quarter of those requesting a protective order. Almost 160 domestic violence are made monthly, according to the county.


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