Color run marks End Domestic Violence Day in Dover-Foxcroft
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Despite rain and cool temperatures, participants walked in an approximate two-mile color fun run/walk through town and others attended the pre- and post-event ceremonies during the Partners for Peace Dover-Foxcroft End Domestic Violence Day on the afternoon of Oct. 2. The day was the first of three — observances are taking place later in the month in Lincoln and Bangor on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16 respectively — hosted by the domestic violence resource center serving Piscataquis and Penobscot counties to encourage the community to take action.
Partners for Peace Outreach Team Leader Catherine Reed thanked everyone for coming and said, “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we’re here because domestic violence is a community issue. It’s not only in our homes, it’s in our communities, it’s in our workplaces, our schools, and our places of worship.
“Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control used by someone in the context of a relationship. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It happens to people no matter their wealth, social status, education, ability, or profession. It can happen in cities and small towns. No matter where you live we are all at risk and we all feel the impact.
“We are here to support the people who live each day in fear. In fear of being told they are worthless, in fear of being called any name but their own, in fear of what will happen if anyone finds out their truth, in fear of not having enough food to feed their children, in fear of whether they can keep their kids safe, in fear of being beat up and pushed down by those who claim to love them. We are here to help renew the courage of those who live in fear that they may not have enough courage left to survive another day.
“We are here to honor and remember our loved ones who were taken from us too soon and to lean on one another when it feels as if their loss is too much to bear. We are here to honor and recognize the thousands of Maine residents who are surviving abuse and violence everyday. We are here to appreciate the courage, strength, and hope of people who have been abused. They have faced impossible and contradictory challenges, on one hand hoping the abuse will end and on the other feeling hopeless in the face of daily oppression.
“We are here to recognize our role in ending abuse and violence in our community. We know the abuse and violence belongs solely to the perpetrator, however the consequences for that violence belongs to us the community. We are here to take a stand as a community against domestic abuse and sexual assault, confirming this stance every day with our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
“We gather today to remember the lives our community has lost as a result of domestic violence, to acknowledge the injustices faced by victims of domestic abuse by creating a space for survivors to share their truths, to champion the need for societal change by demanding that perpetrators be held accountable, to celebrate individuals and groups that work in partnership with survivors to end the violence in our communities, to create safe spaces to help each other find the joy that we all deserve. You are worth it and you are the reason that we show up, seek help, and march on.”
Before reading the names and ages of domestic violence homicide victims over the last year, Reed said, “Each year in the state of Maine approximately half of all homicides are classified as domestic violence. Since October of last year nine people were killed at the hands of an abuser.”
Once Reed finished, a moment of silence was held to honor the victims’ lives.
“Doing your part to end domestic violence looks different for each and every one of us, but the key is that we act,” she said. “When we go beyond raising awareness to taking action by showing up, stepping in, and speaking out, real social change is possible. That’s why for Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October we appreciate that you’ve already found one thing that you can do to promote social change and then you took action to be here today.”
Last month the Dover-Foxcroft Board of Selectmen approved an annual proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the community and Town Manager Jack Clukey was present on Oct. 2 to read the resolution aloud.
Partners for Peace Prevention Educator Angie Alfonso then thanked Clukey and everyone else for being there. “I would like to thank all our generous sponsors,” she said, saying the event probably could not happen without these benefactors.
Alfonso thanked staff from Rape Response Services and Community Health & Counseling Services for assisting and students from the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter for being out in the rain at the color stations. She said Mayo Regional Hospital community outreach is “our other partner here today, they are hosting a color station.”
“We could not do this without our community and our community for really speaking up and taking action about domestic violence,” Alfonso said. “So from the bottom of our hearts we thank you.”