A “thank you” as big as the Desert of Maine to Freeport for breaking the silence of domestic abuse in such a bold and beautiful way with Finding Our Voices in May. It started with a “yes” from the Freeport Community Library to host a presentation, with Director Courtney Sparks, Adult Services Librarian Meghan Fogg and Assistant Adult Services Librarian Andrew Hutchinson going above and beyond to involve and illuminate the entire community. After the presentation, the Town Council voted unanimously to proclaim May “Freeport Breaks the Silence of Domestic Abuse Month,” with Chairperson John Egan stating, “The entire community has a responsibility to end the cycle and not look the other way.”

Librarians accompanied Freeport residents Lindsey and Maddie Johnston to get our posters in 140 businesses and faith-based organizations. The posters featured the photo portraits of 45 Maine survivors, including Gov. Janet Mills, along with quotes alerting everyone that yes, emotional abuse is abuse, yes, abuse impacts every age and socioeconomic level, and yes, it is everywhere and must stop. Nine survivors with Finding Our Voices gathered at the library May 10 to share their stories and lead a community conversation with 75 attendees. Sam’s Italian, Kendall Inn and The Bakeshop donated food, Wildflower donated flowers and The Brewster House B&B donated an overnight stay for three of us. Sponsors British Goods, Bow Street Market, FOILED, Harraseeket Inn and Buck’s Naked BBQ funded shelter, car and legal expenses for Finding Our Voices domestic violence victims.

Walking around Freeport, you will surely come across our posters that are extending the light and reminding all how one town in Maine finally got the general public talking about domestic abuse, and brought comfort and safety to the far-too-many survivors in our midst.

Patrisha McLean