October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and throughout that month the Scarborough Public Library will host a photo exhibit portraying the faces and voices of 43 Maine survivors of domestic violence provided by Finding Our Voices. Courtesy image

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Scarborough Public Library will host a photo exhibit portraying the faces and voices of 43 Maine survivors of domestic violence.

Finding Our Voices, a survivor-powered grassroots nonprofit that provides sister-support and breaks the silence of domestic abuse, provided the exhibit, which will remain on display throughout the month of October. Patrisha McLean, the founder/president of Finding Our Voices, began a movement to combat domestic violence in 2019 with an initial photography exhibit that included 14 Maine survivors. The October 2022 exhibit features posters of McLean’s photo portraits of survivors aged 17-82 with quotes referencing the abuse they transcended. The entire exhibit will be hung on Thursday, Sept 29 at 3:30 p.m. by students from Scarborough High School, many of them members of the Library’s Teen Advisory Board (TAB).

Six of the 43 survivors represented in the exhibit will serve as panelists on Tuesday evening, Oct. 18 for a panel discussion at the library that will focus on the impact of domestic violence on family relationships. Panelists include: 17-year-old Riley Kennedy and 82-year-old Mary Lou Smith of Scarborough, Jennifer Greensmith and Tiffany Engelhardt of South Portland, author Rebekah Lowell of Biddeford and Patrisha McLean of Camden. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a Public Reception and Exhibit Viewing, the panel discussion begins at 6:30 p.m., and the evening ends with refreshments and an opportunity to connect with panelists at 7:45 p.m. The sponsors for the exhibit and the panel discussion are: Gorham Savings Bank, Risbara Bros., and Camden Dermatology & MOHS Surgery, which has offices in Camden and Scarborough. Goodwill Northern New England, a Finding Our Voices collaborator, printed all 43 survivor-posters in the exhibit for free.

Through These Doors, the domestic violence resource center that serves all of Cumberland County, is partnering with the library on two programs for children in October. Story Time with staff from Through These Doors will be held at the library on Monday, Oct.17 at 10 a.m. This story time is geared toward children ages 3-6 and their caregivers. A book discussion for children in grades 5-8 on The Road to After will be led by author Rebekah Lowell at the library on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 3:30 p.m. Staff from Through These Doors will be present to facilitate the discussion.

“The Scarborough Public Library is small, with a big heart,” said Patrisha McLean, founder/president of Finding Our Voice. “I am so excited that they are breaking the silence of domestic abuse in southern Maine in such a bold and beautiful way. This collaboration is particularly meaningful to us since Mary Lou Smith who is all about spreading the word that it is never too late to leave abuse, and Riley Kennedy who is a shining example of breaking the cycle of abuse, both live in that town.” In August 2022, Ms. Smith was named Volunteer of the Year for her work with Finding Our Voices, by the national Purple Ribbon Awards through DomesticShelters.org to honor domestic violence advocates, programs, shelters and survivors nationwide.

“This month-long exhibit and its accompanying programming is the kind of community collaboration our library specializes in,” Nancy Crowell, library director said. “It strengthens our programs to partner with nonprofit experts. We are honored to help raise awareness of domestic violence during the month of October and to provide a safe space for these discussions for participants of all ages.”

All domestic violence awareness programs are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary. For additional information, contact: ScarboroughLibrary.org, FindingOurVoices.net, or ThroughTheseDoors.org. For questions about this series of programs, contact Lucy Norvell, the library’s coordinator of Programming and Communications at 396-6279 or ljnorvell@scarboroughlibrary.org.

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