The Star-Herald

Hope & Justice Project premieres exhibit at University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Blake Library

FORT KENT, Maine — Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed each year in the month of October. The University of Maine at Fort Kent supports this awareness month by hosting the Hope and Justice Project’s exhibit in the Blake Library. The exhibit is open during library hours until the end of October.

The exhibit opens Oct. 5 and consists of quilts put together by The Northern Quilters. These quilts were designed by women who are survivors of domestic violence. There is also a quilt designed by Wallagrass Elementary school children who have had prevention education services from Hope and Justice Project in their school. The quilt is based on a book, “I Call My Hand Gentle,” written by Amanda Haan.

The Clothesline Project is a program started in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. Like the quilts made from the St. John Valley victims, The Clothesline Project is a vehicle to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as a testimony to the problem of violence against women.

Another exhibit is An Empty Place at the Table. This display is a way to memorialize victims who were murdered this past year in the state of Maine and as a visual reminder of the deadliness of domestic violence. The exhibit was born out of the desire to grieve the loss and celebrate the lives of women and children who were killed as a result of domestic violence. Each of the victims had a place at the table. Their murders also left a symbolic empty place in society. This exhibit demonstrates the devastating result of violence against women and children and helps ensure that these deaths are not forgotten.

“We utilize the Hope and Justice Project in our campus health clinic and promote the excellent work they do,” said UMFK’s counselor and accessibility coordinator, Jessica Daigle. “They are often involved in our events and wellness fairs for students; they support us very well so we’re thrilled to host this exhibit.”

Hope and Justice Project encourages the community to seek out opportunities to learn more about domestic violence and bullying and how to prevent them. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one individual to control or exert power over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. The violence encompasses all forms: sexual assault, physical violence, verbal, emotional or mental abuse. This violence occurs in all socioeconomic classes, without regard to race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Hope and Justice Project continue to help people affected by abuse and violence in Aroostook County. Services include 24hr hotline (1-800-439-2323), emergency shelter, transitional housing, individual and group support, advocacy and legal representation, prevention education, and a volunteer program for those interested in a comprehensive training for hotline workers.

Submitted by the Marketing and Communication Office of the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

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