The Mashpee Board of Selectmen voted unanimously during its virtual meeting on Monday, April 12, to form an ad hoc committee to review the issue of violence and abuse against women in the community.
Murylo Batista, a Mashpee resident and public health researcher, told the selectmen at their meeting that “four homicides in the past year of Mashpee women or of women in Mashpee has shown that the safety and well-being of women are being jeopardized in our town.”
“We cannot approach the problem of violence from the perspective of failure—that we, Mashpee, failed somehow—because it extenuates feelings of blame and guilt which are not useful or relevant for building solutions,” Mr. Batista said. “Personally I’m not okay living in a world where our mothers, our sisters and our daughters are not safe, so today I invite the board of selectmen, the town administrators and the residents of Mashpee in declaring that violence has no place at home.”
Town Manager Rodney C. Collins described the issue as “serious” and proposed the creation of an ad hoc committee that would study “what we have done, what we haven’t done and what we should be doing.”
Both town officials and officials from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe would have to be involved, Mr. Collins said.
The chairman of the selectmen, John J. Cotton, said that forming a committee to address the issue is “a no-brainer.”
“I think we have to acknowledge that it is here, and we have to talk about it and see how best to resolve the issues,” Mr. Cotton said.
Mr. Collins said he will return to the board with a proposal for the structure of the ad hoc committee at a future meeting.