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Video, Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Delivers Virtual Remarks at the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Legislative Day of Action


Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered virtual remarks at the New York State Coalition against Domestic Violence legislative day of action.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

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AUDIO of the event is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

Well first of all, thank you, Connie, for the invitation to participate again in your annual day of advocacy. Zoom is fine, but it was so much better to be in person. I look forward to being back with you once again, hopefully next year, because the energy we drive from each other in our common purpose to eradicate violence against all individuals, but particularly domestic based violence is an important calling for all of us. And I really put it in those terms because it is hard work.

It is hard to be someone who deals with survivors day in and day out as many of your members do. There’s a lot of pain. There’s a sense of betrayal because often this is someone, if it had been in the context of a marriage relationship, there should be that trust and ability to rely on each other for support. And when that’s betrayed and the environment turns either verbally or physically abusive, it really shakes a human being to their core. And they need extra help to help them recover.

And also the impact on children. What happens to a child who grows up in an environment where there should be love and unconditional love among the parents and they see that broken down. So we know domestic violence occurs in all shapes and forms, different relationships, but it is really hard to be in this space. And I want to thank all of you advocates who step forward to be the voices and the champions for the people who have to endure the unspeakable.

And we have seen something that I call just an absolute travesty. I don’t think at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, that we could have foreseen the long-term impact that the isolation, the disconnect, the forced time people had to spend together without having a break – really did result in an extraordinary high number of cases to our hotline and cases of domestic violence. Our calls were up over 34 percent over the previous year, and those are all cries for help.

Those are people who are in an environment where they just know they can’t sustain it any longer. So, I thank all of you for being part of the system of help and recovery and support. And I’ll continue supporting these efforts because this has been a lifelong journey for my family. Back when I was a college student at Syracuse University, my mother also decided to go back to college and become a social worker. And her first internships and early work in her career were to help victims of domestic violence. Except back then, they were called victims of wife beatings. That was the narrative back in the late seventies.

And she became a champion. I remember hearing her on countless phone calls as she took calls from clients and tried to build up self-confidence in women and help them have that independence, often to leave a relationship that they felt trapped in and to take their children with them. Which is why later in life my mother was, at the time, one of the co-founders of the Erie County Commission on Domestic Violence and was a true champion to help establish a place called Haven House.

But later for my mother’s 70th birthday, she decided that she wanted to not have a party but she literally wanted to have a family effort to open a home for victims of domestic violence. A transitional home where people could go for more than just a couple of days, but literally spend six months or a year and get the children there as well.

Get them in a new school, get them into a nurturing, loving environment and teach them about how to have life skills that they did not have before. So this was an important part of my life’s calling as well to focus with my mother and my aunt to create this environment. And it was named after Kathleen Mary House.

I’m named Kathleen Mary, but that’s after my mother’s mother. She also had to endure emotional abuse from an individual who did end up walking out. Her husband walked out on my mother when she was just a child. So, that’s a phenomenon that permeates many families. Many times you would not expect it goes on, or even in dating relationships or partner relationships, but it’s real, it’s there and it’s only gotten worse.

So I’m going to continue now as governor to be in a position to really do something about it. And that means also supporting programs like the $90 million we just put in our budget for domestic violence and sexual assault, violence protection programs, as well as making sure that we fully support our Office of Victim Services and another $14 million for that as well.

And we are the only state in the nation that has a cabinet level agency that deals with gender based violence. And that is another statement of our values, a statement of our priorities to help people recover. So I just wanted to lend my voice to all of those who extend our gratitude as representatives of this state, our other elected officials you’ll be hearing from today, all believe in what you’re doing.

And I hope someday in the future that people will realize that, well, every life is special. Every life, every person deserves a dignity to be able to live in an environment that is nurturing, loving, and at this violence will soon be a thing of the past.

Until then we need your voice, we need your advocacy, we need your love, we need your caring for these individuals in their time of great needs. So I just want to thank you, Connie and Kelli Owens and everyone else who’s been working so hard in these areas. And I thank my dynamite team for the passion they bring to this cause as well.

So, thank you.

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