STENDER & VITALE: CHRISTIE’S DEPLORABLE CHOICE OF WORDS ADVOCATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Governor Gleefully Asks State House Press Corps to ‘Please Take the Bat Out on’ Senator Weinberg During a Media Availability

(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Linda Stender and Senator Joseph F. Vitale on Thursday condemned Governor Chris Christie’s deplorable use of violent imagery directed against women during a Wednesday media availability.

Gov. Christie was responding to a reporter’s question when he gleefully asked, referring to Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), “Can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?”

The lawmakers issued the following statements:

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union):
“The governor’s statement Wednesday to New Jersey’s assembled press corps was a tasteless and disgraceful example of the most powerful elected official in the state directly advocating for violence against women.

“The governor will likely attempt to explain away his statement and lambaste myself and reporters for ‘overreacting’ but the fact remains that words — especially when spoken from someone in a position of power — carry a significant weight.

“The governor’s comments Wednesday are no different than Sarah Palin telling her supporters ‘Don’t Retreat — Instead RELOAD!’ in the context of her much maligned ‘Take Back the 20’ bulls-eye map. This right wing proclivity toward violent rhetoric can — and has — incited violence.

“It was a despicable choice of words that shows how clueless this governor truly is and continues to show just how little he values women as equal members of society.”

Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex):
“The Governor’s choice of words at yesterday’s news conference demonstrates a continued lack of awareness regarding the fear facing thousands of women in the Garden State who each year become victims of violence.

“While the Governor may have been speaking in hyperbole, he needs to recognize that his words have impact, and he should apologize for the use of a phrase which seems to condone the use of violence against women.

“On a personal note, I’ve known Loretta Weinberg to be a strong advocate on women’s issues and a tireless fighter for the public good. She will no doubt use this opportunity to once again urge the Governor to stand up for women in the Garden State.

“I sincerely hope the Governor listens to the criticism on this issue, and stands with us to denounce deplorable and hate-filled rhetoric which minimizes the impact of violence on New Jersey’s women.”

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According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Report for 2009, the latest data available:

  • 73,709 incidents of domestic violence were reported in New Jersey in 2009, a 4 percent increase over 2008 statistics;
  • Domestic violence complaints account for 35.46 percent of all crime committed in New Jersey in 2009;
  • 1,041 rapes occurred in New Jersey in 2009 accounting for 4 percent of all violent crimes in the state;
  • Three rapes occur every 24 hours in the state;
  • 1,553 sexual offenses (not including rape) occurred in New Jersey in 2009; and
  • Rape and sexual offenses combined account for 1.25 percent of all crimes committed in New Jersey in 2009.