MIDCOAST — This October, you may notice a purple glow emanating from Midcoast buildings.

That glow is a representation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and purple is the color that represents it. New Hope for Women, an organization formed in 1981 by four women looking to escape their abusive relationships, is encouraging businesses to display the color as the organization spreads the word about abusive relationships and the many forms that they can take.
In addition to the purple lights, New Hope is also exhibiting “empty place at the table” displays at libraries in the Midcoast.

New Hope regularly offers free presentations that help educate communities about the many forms of abuse in relationships. Part of its outreach involves going into local schools to teach kids the signs of abusive relationships, whether that be with a spouse or a friend.

“Most people don’t realize they’re in an abusive relationship,” said Mary Hanley of New Hope.

Abuse is often associated with physical battering. However, some abuse may never get physical, and can be much more insidious and hard to identify, said Hanley. Controlling a partner psychologically, using tactics to purposefully confuse, isolating a partner through alienating friends and family, and more can be signs of abuse.

New Hope does more than just educate. The organization has long supported individuals who feel they need to escape from a relationship. Legal services to assist for protection from abuse orders, transitional housing, and more are part of the services offered, including Safe Homes.

Safe Homes are offered by regular people in the community who share their home for up to three nights if someone needs to get out of a relationship on short notice. Oftentimes individuals in an abusive relationship can’t turn to friends or family out of fear their abusive spouse will track them down.

“We put them out of the county where they live, and put them with folks for a couple of days while trying to find somewhere to keep them safe,” said Hanley.

Speaking of tracking, in the modern age of smartphones and miniature GPS devices, tracking people can be a serious concern. New Hope For Women helps counsel people in avoiding those situations. Sometimes, a protection from abuse order isn’t always the best case scenario.

“Whatever you write in that order, your partner gets to see,” said Hanley. If the abusive partner doesn’t care about consequences, it is just a piece of paper in the end.

While the organization is named New Hope for Women, it helps more than just women. Children, Men, the elderly, LGBTQ, anyone who is in need of help can turn to them.

For more information about New Hope for Women, visit www.newhopeforwomen.org or call 1-800-522-3304.