October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Each year, more than 50 percent of Maine’s homicides are the result of domestic violence. Recent research conducted by the Violence Policy Center ranks Maine 9th nationally for the rate of women killed by men annually. Domestic violence can impact anyone regardless of age, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation or income level. These statistics mean it is more important than ever to show support for survivors of domestic violence and raise awareness in our communities this October.
This year, Safe Voices will be organizing and participating in a variety of events to raise awareness of domestic violence and give a voice to domestic violence survivors and advocates in Franklin County. DVAM will kick off Oct. 1 with the decorating of Meetinghouse Park with purple lights and the continuation of the Crossing Bridges initiative. Crossing Bridges raises awareness throughout Franklin County by bridges and walkways being decorated with purple bows as a way to highlight how vital community involvement is in ending domestic violence in Maine during DVAM. The Crossing Bridges campaign is made possible through the generous partnership of the Maine Department of Transportation.
Safe Voices’ annual vigils will be held Monday, Oct. 5 from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. throughout Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties. The vigils are free and open to the public, and we hope that many community members can attend and show their support. The Franklin County vigil will take place at Meetinghouse Park, in downtown Farmington, with a procession through town to North Dining Hall A on the University of Maine at Farmington campus. Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews is scheduled to speak at the vigil, and there will be a variety of participants from the local community. Vigils will also be held simultaneously at Festival Plaza, in Auburn, the Rumford Informational Booth, Rumford, and at Moore Park in South Paris. If you would like more information about a specific vigil, you can contact Safe Voices’ Director of Community Education, Kelley Glidden, by phone at (207) 795-6744 or by email at email@example.com.
On October 7th you can contact your local hospital or healthcare provider to find out if they are participating in Health Cares About DV Day so you can learn more about the role healthcare providers play in treating and advocating for patients experiencing domestic violence. Oct. 10 is Farmington’s annual Front Street Pumpkin Festival, and Safe Voices will be present, offering fun and educational activities for children (and parents!) on the topic of healthy relationships.
Farmington residents and University of Maine Farmington students should also be on the lookout for opportunities to show their support at a range of DVAM events on the university campus this month, including “Paint the Campus Purple,” scheduled for Oct. 1 through 5.
Safe Voices’ has chosen to explore the topic of “intersectionality” this DVAM. Intersectionality is the idea that social categorizations, like race, class, and gender, are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. In the case of domestic violence, a person’s identification and personal history can play a large role in the services they feel comfortable accessing and the response they receive from healthcare workers, law enforcement and advocates. It is our hope that by exploring the intersection of identity and domestic violence, we can create a more inclusive DVAM and highlight the services Safe Voices offers to all residents of the Tri-County area.
The Farmington office of Safe Voices would also like to announce a Fall support group. This support group is open to anyone in the Franklin County region who has experienced domestic violence. Anyone interested in participating in the new support group should contact Rebecca at the Farmington office at (207) 778-6107 for more information.
The Franklin County Domestic Violence Task Force is a coalition of agencies and concerned citizens with a mission to lead and empower local people to end domestic violence. For more information about this article or the FCDVTF, please contact Hillary Hooke at (207)778-6297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.