Victims Of Domestic Violence Urge Congress To Do More To Protect Women

Tuesday, April 17th 2007, 7:58 pm
By: News On 6

VicWASHINGTON (AP) _ Yvette Cade was set on fire by her estranged husband at her job. She suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent her body, and says her lower lip was ``actually melted to my chin.''

Yet Cade considers herself lucky. She lived to tell her story, while many other victims of domestic violence _ including a University of Washington staffer and an Atlanta hotel worker killed earlier this month _ did not.

``I am fortunate to tell what happened to me, in hopes things could be different for other women,'' Cade testified Tuesday before a Senate hearing on domestic violence in the workplace.

Cade was burned on her right leg, rear end, stomach, chest, back, both arms and face.

``I've lost parts of my ears and my chin was actually melted,'' she said. ``My lip was actually melted to my chin.''

The dramatic testimony was cited by lawmakers as an example of the scope of domestic violence.

``Each day we get terrible reminders that domestic violence doesn't stay at home,'' said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chairs a Senate subcommittee on employment and workplace safety. ``It follows people into their workplace.''

Murray began the hearing with a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. Thirty-three people, including the gunman, died Monday in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Murray also noted the April 3 shooting at the CNN Center in Atlanta, where 22-year-old hotel worker Clara Riddles was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. The day before, Rebecca Griego, 26, an employee at the University of Washington' College of Architecture, was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in an apparent murder-suicide.

In Cade's case, her estranged husband, Roger Hargrave, called at 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2005, and threatened to ``fry me like Crisco grease,'' she said.

Afraid for her job, Cade showed up that morning at the Clinton, Md. mobile phone store where she worked. An hour later, her husband stormed in, doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. He was convicted last year of trying to kill her. Cade has since told her story on ``The Oprah Winfrey Show'' and in national magazines.

Cade said the crime might have been avoided had Maryland law required her employer to protect her _ or at least guarantee she would not be fired for failing to show up. Maryland is one of nearly two dozen states that do not require unemployment insurance in such cases.

Murray agreed. She introduced a bill Tuesday that would make such insurance mandatory nationwide and take other steps to protect victims of domestic violence. Washington is one of 22 states that do not include domestic violence as a reason for unemployment insurance.