I am not only a survivor of domestic violence abuse but also a dedicated advocate for those who have endured its horrors. I understand firsthand the importance of being heard, humanized, and respected when facing such adversity.

People do not realize how often crime victims are revictimized by the criminal justice system. Being a “victim” in a criminal case can be a very undignified and confusing experience. I remember waking up most mornings thinking “I just want this to be over.” It is the victim advocates and the prosecutor who help remind you there is value and meaning that comes from standing up for yourself. In the context of a criminal case, standing up for yourself requires some very hard emotional and psychological choices.

Justice is more than an end result, it is about treating people with dignity in their hardest moments. When our criminal justice system treats people the right way, we can transform “victims” to “survivors” or even “champions” who then help others. 

In my journey, I have witnessed the incredible strength survivors possess when they are given the support and respect they deserve. As your State's Attorney, I will be committed to making it an absolute priority to ensure domestic violence victims are heard, empowered, and respected.

Let's stand together to reaffirm our commitment empowering survivors. Your support means the world to me and I am ready to fight for a brighter future for Lake County.

- Mary Cole