City and court officials gathered on the sunlit steps of the Malden District Court on March 19, proudly adorned with petite white ribbons, to denounce domestic and sexual violence. Through a clamored array of “I do’s” and nods, each official pledged to use their position to prevent these crimes and bring justice to victims.
“We promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women and all gender-based violence,” said Mayor Gary Christenson in a statement he read to the crowd.
The “Stand With Us” event coincided with the annual state-wide White Ribbon campaign, pioneered by Jane Doe Inc., Massachusetts’ coalition against sexual violence and domestic abuse. It aims to involve men in the unending fight against violence.
Malden’s Department of Community Outreach and individuals within the district court worked collaboratively to organize Tuesday’s event.
Mayor Christenson and the City of Malden advertised the gathering on Twitter in an effort to rally residents to participate in the pledge alongside authorities. However, no outside individuals attended.
In a conversation on the court steps following the event, both Christenson and Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis said it made sense to congregate outside of the court because of its dedicated involvement against violent offenses.
“It’s only appropriate that we do this here,” said Christenson. “The court is so vital in fighting these issues.”
Molis encouraged both victims of violence and residents in need to turn to the court for aid and legal guidance.
“This is where victims would come to see protection and support…to get a remedy from the court,” Molis said. “Their rights really come into play in the courtroom.”
The police chief also commended the mayor for establishing the Civilian Domestic Violence Liaison which aids abused victims of violence, offers family services, and allows the police department to follow up on cases that first arrived to them.
Christenson has long been an advocate on domestic violence issues. During an interview after the pledge, he gladly whisked out the fading, black plastic card adorning the same recited pledge from his pants pocket, signed and dated by him in bright blue pen on March 1 two years ago.
Recognition of the White Ribbon campaign occurs annually in Malden, although the event used different format from the past. Christenson recalls showing videos of the movement and the city’s work last March.
Public officials remind residents their work against sexual and gender-based violence does not end with this month-long campaign.
“It’s really a 365-day White Ribbon event,” said Molis.
Diti Kohli is an intern at MATV. She is currently a journalism major at Emerson College.