Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence Through Art
A display of art made by women who are working to overcome the effects of domestic violence will be on exhibit at the Wiscasset Art Walk on Thursday, August 30, from 5 to 8pm. Believing that art can be a catalyst for healing and change, New Hope for Women, the regional domestic violence resource center, offers a Healing Through Art support group for women who have experienced violence, abuse, and intimidation.
According to Lisa Couture, NHFW youth educator, the art-based support group encourages the healing process by emphasizing the themes of safety, empowerment, resilience, and finding hope. Participants who are exploring their life challenges through creative mediums can do so in a safe environment that allows them to find a voice with which to explore their abuse and break their silence. “We suggest a particular project, give them an example, and then let them create their own versions using whatever materials we have available. We always tell them there is no way for them to do it 'wrong',” says Couture.
The New Hope for Women display will also include a local sample from the international Clothesline Project, a visually powerful display of painted t-shirts created by survivors of violence or those who love and support a survivor. According to Couture, the t-shirts emphasize how violence diminishes the inherent dignity of the individual. “The t-shirts in our display were all made by clients we have served over the years,” explains Couture. “It is ongoing as we add new t-shirts each year.”
The local NHFW agency serves Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc counties. “We work with anyone, male or female, who is in any way affected by domestic violence,” explains Couture. The agency offers direct services which include advocacy, support groups, transitional housing, emergency shelter, and legal services. NHFW also offers prevention services through businesses and churches to raise awareness about domestic violence. The youth education team, according to Couture, speaks directly to students about healthy relationships. “We want to make sure they understand that all of their relationships should be three things: healthy, safe, and respectful. We also want to be sure they know what to do and how to access help if they are not.” For more information about New Hope for Women’s services and resources, visit www.newhopeforwomen.org