by Chris Chase
Coastal Journal Staff
BATH — Landmarks in cities across the midcoast have been a bit more purple this October, thanks to the latest efforts by New Hope for Women.
The campaign they have launched, called “Glow Purple,” has lit up a variety of landmarks in the midcoast area. Bath’s City Hall, Bath Iron Work’s crane, and the Sagadahoc County Courthouse are serving as the mainstays of the campaign, with all three of them being illuminated by purple lighting throughout the night. The waterfront gazebo in the town of Richmond is also glowing purple, and many local businesses have chipped in their support as well. Police cruisers across the midcoast area are also displaying a purple ribbon as a symbol of their support.
The purple hue is a tribute to the victims of domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the current campaign is intended to serve as both a memorial to the victims and as an eye-catching symbol to heighten awareness of the problem of domestic violence in Maine.
“Glow purple is a campaign that has happened across the country for several years now,” said Denise Marr, a community educator for New Hope for Women. “Purple happens to be the color for domestic violence awareness.”
New Hope for Women is a support service for victims of domestic violence in the Sagadahoc county area. Recently, they opened a new office in Bath at 12 Court St.
“There are support services available, and we have a 24-hour hotline,” said Marr. “If people are in need, they are welcome to call.”
New Hope for Women also offers short-term shelter for individuals who need a place to stay after an incident. The service also offers court advocacy and general support for those who need it.
Started in 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is intended to remind people that domestic violence is still a very real problem in the U.S. According to statistics from the National Violence Against Women Survey, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence is also underreported; many times, an event will occur and there will be no police involvement at all, and little done about the problem.
Glow Purple aims to change that lack of awareness, both for victims of domestic violence and for other people in the community who may not know how to deal with the problem when they see it occur. Community education is a big part of New Hope for Women’s objectives in the community, with educators visiting schools and sometimes workplaces to help inform people of how to deal with domestic violence.
According to Marr, the community has so far been very receptive to the organization. At Citizen Involvement Day in Bath, where they had set up a small information booth, people offered donations, even though they had never asked for any.
“The enthusiasm of people was great,” said Marr.
The City of Bath and many businesses have also been extremely receptive and helpful, according to Marr. Many storefronts in Bath feature purple lighting, and posters about the event are easy to spot at many local businesses. The availability and ease of access to information is a big part of New Hope for Women’s goal.
“Creating that community and public awareness is key,” said Marr. “If we could have all the towns in Sagadahoc glowing purple that’d be a wonderful thing.”