BATH — Focal points throughout the city go purple during October in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Businesses and government offices will be illuminated as a way to remember people who have died from domestic violence, to support survivors, and to give hope to people who still live with abuse, according to New Hope for Women, a organization serving Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties.
Bath City Hall, the Sagadahoc County Courthouse and Bath Iron Works will spearhead the lighting campaign. The familiar BIW crane, Front Street businesses, and government buildings will glow purple. A waterfront gazebo in Richmond will also be illuminated.
The purple ribbon symbolizing domestic violence awareness will adorn police cruisers in Bath, Topsham, Phippsburg and Richmond, as well as those of the Sagadahoc Sherriff’s Office, throughout the month.
Domestic abuse is “a pretty significant issue everywhere,” Kathleen Morgan, executive director of New Hope for Women, said last December. “One of the things that batterers traditionally do is isolate their victims, so that is always a major obstacle to overcome. … They’re being forced to choose between family and friends, and the abuser.”
Although New Hope for Women has existed since 1981, “we still hear from people (who say) ‘I never knew you were there,'” she said.
New Hope for Women’s office at 12 Court St. is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and can be reached at 443-8898. A 24-hour hotline, support groups, short-term emergency shelter, a transitional housing program, and court advocacy are among services the organization offers.
New Hope’s outreach also includes schools, where the group offers youth education and advocacy. The organization also offers awareness programs and community training, and works closely with law enforcement agencies and with Choices, a certified Batterer Intervention Program. Many of the programs are supported by volunteers.