Special Reports

Meeting targets domestic abuse

Officials from Tacoma and Pierce County, and representatives from domestic violence groups and The News Tribune asked community leaders Wednesday night to promise that they would work to end domestic violence in the South Sound.

At the meeting, held in a conference room of The News Tribune, Ann Eft of the Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence asked attendees to promise to work against domestic violence in their daily lives. She exhorted them to go back to their organizations and find ways to help the community fight domestic violence.

She also asked them to fill out a card promising that they would donate something to help domestic violence programs, whether it was office space for a support group meeting, use of a moving van, or hosting a series of educational lunches on domestic violence.

More than 80 community leaders attended the meeting, representing businesses such as Puget Sound Energy, MultiCare, Click! and Columbia Bank; schools such as Annie Wright and Clover Park Technical College; government agencies such as the state Department of Corrections, University Place, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, University Place, Sumner and Puyallup; and community groups such as Boy Scouts, Safe Streets and the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County. Attendees included judges, police officers, lawyers, politicians and spiritual leaders.

The meeting was organized by the Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence, The News Tribune and MultiCare. News Tribune publisher Betsy Brenner said the group was invited because of their places in the community.

"All of you have a circle of influence ... that can do something about domestic violence," Brenner said in opening the meeting.

Other speakers were Tacoma City Manager Jim Walton, the Rev. David Alger of Associated Ministries, Tacoma City Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg, Dr. Barbara Echo of MultiCare, Chuck Hellar of Chuckals Business Supply and Priscilla Lisicich of Safe Streets.

Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg also spoke, pointing out that years ago, when a little boy was molested by a sexual predator, the community rallied to change state laws to make sure it couldn't happen again.

"With these tragedies come great opportunity," Ladenburg said. "Let's not miss this opportunity, like we didn't back then. We changed things."

Ladenburg described a coordinated legal system where domestic violence victims could get help no matter where they asked for it, where cases were entered into a computer system so any judge could see them at the touch of a button, and where the penalties were the same for domestic violence crimes no matter what jurisdiction they happened in.

"All these things are possible," he said. "Everybody has a different part to play."

Ladenburg challenged each person in the room to talk to his or her employer, pastor and others to work toward an end to domestic violence.

Echo, the MultiCare doctor, asked every attendee to take a pledge called The Hands Project: "I will not use my hands or my words to hurt myself or others."

Everyone did.

No one at the meeting said the word "Brame," though Crystal Brame's death prompted Wednesday's meeting. Several speakers referred to "what happened several months ago."

On April 26, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, then himself. In divorce papers, Crystal Brame had accused her husband of years of physical, emotional and financial abuse.

Lisa Kremer: 253-597-8658