It’s October ... and the color is purple

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 7:00am

New Hope For Women’s (NHFW) annual Glow Purple Campaign lights up Oct. 1 through 31 in observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Why hang a strand or two of purple lights or light a purple candle in the window? It’s a visual show of support and solidarity with survivors of domestic violence and a show of hope for women, children and men whose lives are fragmented and frightening from living with an abuser. Remember: It’s those seemingly little things that mean so very much. Purple lights are visible in homes, businesses and health service providers who work with survivors and victims.

Displaying purple lights also sends a visual message to abusers: We, the general public, stand with the members of your family, significant other, or pets you are hurting – and it will not stand. It will not be tolerated in our community.

At press time, Mary Hanley of NHFW reported a “tremendous response” with 34 Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor businesses planning to display purple lights; there are also 13 in Wiscasset, 25 in Damariscotta and 25 in Waldoboro, 29 in Bath, and 18 in Richmond. Boothbay Harbor businesses that will be displaying the lights on large Styrofoam purple ribbons include Shear Artistry, Coastal Popcorn, A Silver Lining, Grover’s, The Family Care Center, Harbor Tech in the mall, and the YMCA.

Businesses and people can find purple light strands and bulbs online at Amazon. Hanley said if the only purple lights you can find easily are the shade in stores for Halloween, use them!

Hanley said there’s been an increase in the number of businesses being part of the Purple Lights Campaign since she came on board at New Hope in 2015. Hanley cannot stress enough how important this visual campaign is.

“Domestic violence affects everyone worldwide. Displaying purple lights is one way to show your solidarity with victims and survivors; to let them know they are not alone, that they are not being judged, and they are supported by their community, in addition to family and friends,” said Hanley. “There are three things going on right now: Domestic violence, suicide and substance abuse – and they are all involved together, indirectly. Learning about domestic violence is unpleasant, but if we can help someone learn how to be there for someone else, that’s tremendous.”

New Hope for Women offers support to people in Lincoln, Knox, Sagadahoc and Waldo counties affected by domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. It also provides important educational resources to assist our communities in creating a safer and healthier future.

The educational resources are also brought to the schools in these counties. Lisa Couture, NHFW’s school-based advocate, has suitable programs for pre-school youth through college. The age-appropriate presentations are about touching, relationships, bullying and teen dating violence.

Hanley has given 45-minute presentations about the dynamics of abuse to local organizations including Rotary Clubs, ERs. EMT trainings, Knights of Columbus, libraries, and therapist’s and doctor’s offices. In November, Hanley will give a presentation to the ER personnel at Miles Memorial Hospital. If  your organization is interested in learning about domestic violence, something we all need to make a point of learning about, contact Mary Hanley through NHFW’s Bath satellite office: 443-8898.

Important dates, observances 

Purple strands. Annette Nager of Shear Artistry in Boothbay Harbor will color strands /sections of hair purple throughout the month for people looking for a more permanent show of solidarity. Not so inclined to make that kind of commitment? How about clip-on hair extensions instead? The salon has various lengths available that run from $7 to $20.

Purple tattoos. Just a short ride from here at 97 Commercial St. in Bath, you’ll find Sea Side Studios. The tattoo and piercing parlor will offer special purple tatts on Friday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a special survivor design; choose from 10 variations of the word “hope;” a purple ribbon for $60; the phoenix is $80; if you add “Still I Rise” to the phoenix tatt, it’s $100. No appointments; this fundraising event is first come-first served.

This is the third year Sea Side Studios has participated in observing domestic violence awareness month in this way. In 2018, Sea Side raised $660-plus for NHFW. “I got the phoenix – and it is beautiful,” said Hanley. 

Empty Place at the Table, this poignant memorial originated in Pennsylvania by advocates who worked with families to create a display that would honor loved ones who lost their lives due to domestic violence. NHFW began displaying this powerful and chilling memorial in 2002. The tableware was donated by the families of Kimberly Sue Palmer of Camden, Candace Butler originally of Bristol, Lori Trahan Cantwell of Rockport, Brenda Gray-Knost of Swanville, and Ava Gushee of Rockland. A sixth place honors the unnamed, those who remain unknown to us but not forgotten.

The memorial will be displayed at Unity College Library: Oct. 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Belfast Free Public Library, Oct. 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Rockland Public Library: Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Camden Public Library: Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Patten Free Library, Bath: Oct. 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Topsham Public Library: Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Skidompha Public Library: Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Waldoboro Public Library: Oct. 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Richmond Issac Umberhine Library: Oct. 22, 2-7 p.m.; and Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library: Oct. 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

October 10 - Survivors speak out against domestic violence - Five survivors of domestic violence will share their stories, breaking the silence of domestic violence, as we search for solutions to this human rights issue. This event is part of Patrisha McLean’s Finding Our Voices: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Abuse exhibit on display at the HHRC through Dec. 13.  Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine - HHRC, 46 University Dr, Augusta. 6:30-8 p.m.

Oct. 24 – Wear Purple Thursday  Everyone wears purple, and, yes, you can even outfit your pupsters in a purple harness or collar!

Oct. 24 – Dine 4 Hope – 6 p.m. at Penobscot Language School, 28 Gay St., Rockland (NHFW home base). Attendees will have a choice of chicken marsala or a vegetarian option. NHFW Education and Outreach Director Kelly O’Connor will give a brief overview of the services offered and focus on the agency’s violence prevention program. $40 per person, however, if you need a different price point, do ask when your required reservation is made. For more information and reservations, call NHFW at 594-1084, ext. 113. Or send your reservation by mail. Include your meal preference, email address, and check. Send to: New Hope for Women, P.O. Box A, Rockland, Maine 04841.

Wear Purple Sunday. New this year. Rev. Maria Hoecker at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Boothbay Harbor suggested this event to Hanley at one of the Farmer’s Markets this summer. Hanley thought it was a great idea and contacted all area churches in Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties, her advocacy service area. Each church can choose the Sunday that works best. At St. Columba’s, Wear Purple Sunday is Oct. 27 and Hanley will be at that service to give a short presentation.

“One of the biggest things for a community prevention educator like myself is to get to family, friends and co-workers of people in domestic violence situations, because they don’t come for help themselves,” Hanley explained. “When I’m out somewhere, people come up to me left and right, survivors who want to share their story, or concerned family members and friends who want their loved one or ones to get away from that partner, but don’t. The family and friends can’t understand why they don’t or can’t leave (and) become frustrated and cut them off. And that’s what abusers want – to isolate their victim(s). NHFW offers education and support to those close to someone living with an abuser to help them understand, to help them know what to say and what not to say. “

For more information on NHFW’s services, visit http://www.newhopeforwomen.org