A Word from Our Executive Director
Greetings from New Hope Midcoast!
It’s a busy time at New Hope as we are engaging in strategic planning to pave the way for our work over the next several years. We’ve also just completed our Community of Hope Matching Challenge, held a Roundtable Discussion, and visited the Hall of Flags at the Statehouse to raise awareness about domestic abuse and the challenges it brings for all of our communities. But it doesn’t stop there! We’re also preparing for Shop for Hope, our annual sale of clothing and accessories and for our fall speaker, Dr. Nan Stein of the Wellesley Centers for Women. Dr. Stein has written one of only three programs approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address sexual harassment in schools. Be sure to read more about each of these events in the articles below.
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries, but some have asked if there is a seasonal trend. A 2021 article in the Washington Times Post is clear that incidences of domestic abuse rise in the summer. Several factors may contribute, yet none are excuses. High temperatures with consequent irritation, having children nearby rather than in school, more access to events with alcohol, and the fact that teenagers have more free time are among the contributors cited.
We hope that everyone will take care of one another this summer. We can all create communities that are free from oppressions and where all people feel valued. Please join us!
Rebekah Paredes, Executive Director
Shop for Hope Is July 27–29: Flanagan Center, Rockland
Tickets for VIP Night Will Be on Sale Starting June 26th!
Mark your calendars for our annual sale of new and gently used clothing and accessories that is earlier this year. VIP Night is 5 – 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 27. Tickets are required for VIP Night that includes first selection, light hors d’oeuvres and wine, and reusable bags with samples of local items. Entrance is free and open to all on Community Shopping Days, Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. See you there!
For more information and to purchase VIP tickets, click here.
Speaker Series: Dr. Nan Stein on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Schools
Dr. Nan Stein of the Wellesley Centers for Women will join us from 4 – 5:30 p.m. on September 27 in Rockland in the Osprey Nest at the Midcoast School of Technology and September 28 in Boothbay at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for an informative talk geared toward school personnel, parents, students (middle school and older) and other professionals who work with youth. Her work is one of only three programs for preventing sexual harassment in schools that is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A highly sought-after researcher and speaker, Dr. Stein has published numerous articles and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Oprah, NPR and more.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Stein.
Click here to register at $10/person.
During the first five months of 2023, we housed 25 women and 53 children in our residential program. Providing a safe space allows many victims of domestic abuse to move from thinking about basic needs to planning for the future. It allows them to start taking control of their lives so that life reflects what they want.
Community of Hope Matching Challenge Raises $59,000+!
Our recent matching challenge was met with such enthusiasm and generosity! Although our initial ask was for the community to match $10,000, we received so much more.
Donors not only responded to the initial ask, but allowed us to use their donations to raise the challenge. Some took the time to ask how we were doing as an agency and where we had need. They wanted to know the trends we were seeing in the domestic abuse arena. Some told us about the abuse they experienced. Still others connected us with new potential donors.
The money is certainly helpful. There is always a need for more financial resources to provide sheltering, and educational trainings and presentations. But for us, it was just so touching to hear people reach out and really want to know how they can help. The money came in, but the message could not have been clearer: when called upon, the Midcoast responds in a way that speaks to the kind of community we want to build and the kind of community we want our children to experience.
Education - Domestic Abuse in Rural Areas: Roundtable Discussion Held in Rockland
Our Roundtable Discussion on May 19th at the Midcoast School of Technology was well received. Attendees included mental health professionals, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers, individuals from agencies serving similar clients, and community members. Everyone had the opportunity to learn about domestic abuse and the unique challenges victims in rural areas face. Asked how the discussion impacted their thinking about domestic abuse, comments included: “It was amazing to hear from interdisciplinary folks,” “(The discussion) helped me to become more aware of the variety of challenges in rural communities and the variety of lived experiences of survivors,” and “(The discussion) provided me with the ability to assess for domestic abuse and make referrals”. Thank you to all who took the time to learn about this important topic!
May 23, 2023: A Day at the Statehouse
New Hope recently joined many others in the Hall of Flags at the Statehouse in Augusta. The gathering of domestic violence agencies and others was a demonstration for all Maine victims of domestic abuse. Included were the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, staff from our sibling domestic violence resource centers that cover other areas of the state, legislators, and community partners. Click here for Maine’s Revised Statutes about what constitutes domestic abuse.
(Ab)Using Technology in Intimate Partner Violence
Technology is a double-edged sword when abuse is involved. For survivors of domestic abuse, it can be an effective tool for safety planning, finding support groups, and accessing surveillance technology. However, misuse of technology is increasingly common in intimate partner abuse and has been on the rise since the pandemic.
The increase in technology misuse comes with an increase in the types of electronic devices. Phones, tablets, computers and social networking websites can be used to contact a victim in order to isolate, instill fear in, punish, and humiliate victims. Abusers may threaten to release compromising photos (image-based sexual abuse or revenge porn) or set up a fake social media account and use it to present the victim in a negative light. The ability to remotely control devices such as thermostats, televisions, and coffee makers also gives the sense that the perpetrator is everywhere, all the time, and cannot be escaped even in their absence. Doorbell apps can signal the abuser when the victim tries to leave the house. Intimidation may be used to force disclosure of passwords, PIN codes and swipe patterns to gain access to bank accounts.
Spyware makes it possible to know a victim’s whereabouts. Bluetooth devices typically used to find lost items such as keys can be used to stalk. AirTags can easily be dropped into bags and cars to track a victim’s location. Cloud-based voice services can be used to access victim conversations including plans to leave the abuser.
Staff at New Hope Midcoast are trained to understand the use and misuse of technology. They can effectively and efficiently assist clients with managing personal devices. Changing GPS settings, limiting Bluetooth, clearing the browser history, installing antispyware, setting up new accounts, using computers at alternate locations such as local libraries, and checking cars and bags for tracking devices, are only some of the ways advocates assist. Advocates can help clients set up a post office box or redirect client mail to New Hope. Staff may encourage clients to park elsewhere when at our offices to make sure that no one sees their car. Advocates may provide clients with Tracfones that are not part of any shared phone plan they might have with the abuser.
Decreasing technology abuse depends on education. If technology developers understood domestic abuse better, they could and implement designs that guard against potential negative uses. Clients need to know how to use all functions on their devices, and how to override previous settings and unsubscribe from joint accounts. They need to know which apps are on their phones, how to use them, and how and when to disable them. Clearer definitions for technology abuse are also needed and must keep pace with ever-changing developments in technology.
As with other forms of abuse, victims are often not certain if what they experience constitutes a misuse of power and control. New Hope Midcoast is available round-the-clock at 1.800.522.3304 to help answer these questions and others. We encourage everyone to call and speak with our trained, trauma-informed and client-centered advocates.
New Hope Midcoast is one of Maine’s nine Domestic Violence Resource Centers and a member of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. The nonprofit organization supports people impacted by domestic abuse, dating violence, and stalking through a 24/7 helpline, hospital accompaniment, support groups, sheltering, housing and legal advocacy, and education, prevention and training programs. New Hope empowers clients by providing options and treats everyone with care and respect. The organization serves Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo Counties.
We Thank our Corporate Partners!!
Allen Insurance and Financial, Ballou and Associates, Bangor Savings Bank, Camden Dermatology, Camden Law, Cates Real Estate, CedarWorks, Colby & Gale, Inc., Dead River Company, Eastern Tire & Auto Service Inc., Edward Jones: Ken Gardiner, Camden, First National Bank, Gemini Marine Canvas, Grasshopper Shop of Rockland, Horch Roofing, Maritime Energy, Renys, Rockland Savings and Loan, Rockport Steel, and 2A architects, llc