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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

Lowell High students take vow to end domestic violence

Lowell High students take vow to end domestic violence

By Sarah Favot, sfavot@lowellsun.com

LOWELL -- Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee described a scene that he has witnessed several times when responding to calls of domestic violence in 30 years as a police officer to a group of more than 200 young men at Lowell High School on Wednesday morning.

"I've been in the situation where I've seen young children wiping up blood off the floor, the blood of their mother. The blood was there because the husband or significant other had assaulted the woman. She was bleeding from the nose, the child was wiping up the blood, tears streaming from her face," said Lavallee.

Lavallee spoke to students as part of White Ribbon Day at Lowell High where the students pledged to end violence against women in a ceremony with Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone, school leaders, a representative from Jane Doe Inc. and Kathy Kelley, executive director of Alternative House.

Massachusetts White Ribbon Day, an initiative of Jane Doe Inc., is in its fifth year. The White Ribbon Campaign began in Canada in 1991 after the Montreal Massacre, where 14 women were murdered by one man.

Leone has gone to several schools in the area making the pledge with students.

He said it is important for young men to take the pledge not because of the consequences for committing the crimes, such as getting arrested and possibly going to prison, but because it is the right thing to do.

Leone and Lavallee called abusers cowards.

"When you strike a woman or you strike a child, you are not a tough guy, you're not a man," said Lavallee.

"Being kind, caring, tolerant, compassionate, there is nothing soft about that if you are a real man," said Leone. "To be a real man and a good man is all of those things."

The event came after a Burlington woman was killed, allegedly by her longterm boyfriend, less than two weeks ago.

"I was in the town of Burlington because a man murdered the woman he was supposed to love and cherish, had been with for years and had children with," Leone told the students. "I'd like to tell you that that was unique, that that was an anomaly. It isn't."

Another local case of domestic violence is in Middlesex Superior Court. Robert Gulla, of Shirley, is accused of murdering former girlfriend Allison Myrick, of Groton, in 2010 after she began dating someone else, according to Gulla's attorney.

Prosecutor Lisa McGovern said earlier this week the murder was a classic case of domestic violence with fatal results.

The two were both 19 when the alleged murder took place.

Leone said women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of domestic violence in the country.

Most of the violence that's committed against teenage girls is committed by their boyfriends, said Leone.

David Kubai, a junior who took the pledge, said he hears about men being violent toward women.

"If I see it happening, I'm going to try to stop it," he said.

Adam Roscoe, another junior, agreed.

"I think I'll definitely keep an eye out for any domestic violence that I see," Roscoe said.

URL: http://www.lowellsun.com/local/ci_20641997/lowell-high-students-take-vow-end-domestic-violence

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