When we raise our voices, a beautiful chorus resounds. Our stories become as one harmonic note. And the world is changed. If you have lived with, survived, or ever before experienced abuse at the hands of a partner; someone you love, or loved; someone who told you they cared about or loved you, please share one moment of your story with us. Are you healing now? Are you barely holding onto your sense of reality? Do you feel alone? Is abuse in the past and you now feel only gratitude? Do you grieve the loss of something and someone, even knowing that person had to go? Do you feel strong, over it, and determined never to go there again?
Please reach out to us… write it, say it, share it. Is it safe for you to tell your story in front of a group? Would you consider doing so?
On February 21, 1978 a small group of women in the Augusta area signed the Articles of Incorporation for Family Violence Assistance Project. In Maine and across the country activists were mobilizing to create a safety net for victims of domestic violence through provision of comprehensive direct advocacy with and on behalf of survivors, including shelter, support groups, and crisis intervention. They sought to “educate and inform… of the needs and the critical problems of battered spouses, and of the social forces and attitudes which contribute to the problem.” Forty years later, we continue the work. Our efforts are supported by strong coalitions and committed individuals. Forty years later, almost 50% of homicides in Maine are those perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner, dating partner, or family member. Safety and peace in our homes is possible. And we believe it will take our entire community to make this happen.
Throughout the coming year, Family Violence Project will recognize and remember. We are a hard working group of committed advocates: Board, Staff, and Volunteers. We shall celebrate, yes; because without joy and connection, there will never be change. Ours is humble work, and earnest; and we lean into it for a journey much longer than we knew in our earlier years. We hope you will follow our postings, our newsletter, and our activities throughout the year. We hope you will join us, in whatever way makes most sense for you.
March 2018 is a moment to honor those who have survived abuse, to appreciate the growth from surviving to thriving for so many, and to acknowledge that too many lives have been stolen. And it is an opportunity for FVP to reflect on our role in helping to create our vision of a community where violence is unacceptable and people treat each other with respect and to move our mission to End Domestic Abuse in Kennebec and Somerset counties.