As we recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, it is an opportunity to reflect on the ways we can all participate in making our communities safer places for everyone.

Last year, domestic violence resource centers around the state adopted Take Action Maine as the theme for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It resonated so well that it is being used again this year. The reason this theme works is that we all have the ability to take action, in large or small ways, to make a difference, no matter what role we play in our community.

If you are an employer, there are lots of things you can do to make the work environment a safer space for people experiencing domestic violence or abuse. You could host a training on domestic violence, put brochures and information on domestic violence resources in staff restrooms, and create a workplace policy on domestic abuse.

If you are an employee, you can support a co-worker who is experiencing domestic violence and offer to go with them to speak to a supervisor or human resources representative. You could speak up if you hear others in the workplace making jokes about domestic abuse.

If you are a teacher, you could contact your local domestic violence resource center to come in and do a classroom presentation with age appropriate material, such as a story time featuring a book on feelings, a workshop on media literacy, or a presentation on healthy versus unhealthy relationships.

If you are a health care professional, you can include domestic violence screening in your work with all of your patients. You could attend a domestic violence training and learn about your local resources and services so you could make appropriate referrals for patients in need.

If you are a student, you could support your friends and classmates who are experiencing unhealthy behaviors in their dating relationships. You could listen to what they are going through and let them know you believe them. You could offer to go with them to talk to a trusted adult. You can help raise awareness at your school by getting students involved in activities such as art projects, pledges, or reading groups focused on healthy relationships.

If you belong to a community group, you can host a speaker on domestic abuse to learn more about the issue. You could organize a donation drive for items needed at the shelter, or contact your local domestic violence resource center to see what volunteer opportunities are available.

If you are a friend or family member, you can be a supportive listener who lets a victim of domestic abuse know that they aren’t alone and that what is happening is not their fault. You can provide a safe space for them to talk, and let them know that there are places in the community to go for assistance and support.

There are as many ways to take action as there are individuals in our community. No matter what roles you play in your daily life, there are ways to show support for survivors and demonstrate the belief that we all deserve to be safe in our relationships and our communities. To follow up on any of the suggestions, contact your local domestic violence resource center. They will be happy to speak to you about ways to get involved.

At Safe Voices, our mission is to support and empower those affected by domestic violence and engage the community in creating social change in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties. But we can’t do this work alone. It takes a community working together and all of us as individuals deciding to take action, to shift our culture to create a place where violence of any sort is never tolerated, where everyone can feel safe in their homes. Each of us can contribute in our own way; and if we are all committed to taking even one action, we will see the changes taking place around us.

This October, Safe Voices would like to invite you to explore ways that you can take action and be part of a community effort to end domestic violence.

For more information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities, visit www.safevoices.org or contact Kelley at 207-795-6744.

Kelley Glidden is the director of community education for Safe Voices, the domestic violence resource center serving Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties.

Kelley Glidden


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.