DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A group of Dover-Foxcroft residents plans to color the town purple next month to signify that domestic violence will not be tolerated.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a proclamation as such was signed Tuesday by the Piscataquis County commissioners.
The Dover-Foxcroft-based Womancare, a nonprofit organization working to end domestic violence, is being joined in its effort this year and the following two years by the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Locally, the Miosac and Cosmopolitan Clubs are organizing a domestic violence awareness rally on Oct. 1 in Dover-Foxcroft. The place has not yet been determined.
“Really the intent of it is to make a declaration as a county that we are not tolerating domestic violence and that we’re working together to support our neighbors and work towards an end to domestic violence,” Cindy Freeman Cyr of Womancare said Tuesday.
Cyr said a representative of the governor’s office and the New England regional president of Federated Women’s Clubs plan to attend the event. A banner will be hung over Main Street that will read, “Break the silence, speak up against domestic violence,” she said. The club also has purple light bulbs available by donation to be displayed in homes, as well as purple ribbons.
Saturday’s events will be followed on Sunday by Womancare’s annual race and walk to raise both awareness and funds.
Cyr said she was pleased with the infusion of support and energy to help bring more awareness to the cause.
“Every time you have a tragedy — and we’ve had a tragedy that’s about as tragic as is possible for a tragedy to be in this area that really has gotten a lot of people very upset — and sometimes you have to get people upset before they finally say, ‘Hey, let’s stop this,’” Commissioner Tom Lizotte said Tuesday.
Lizotte was referring to the deaths of Amy Lake and her two children, Coty and Monica, of Dexter, who were murdered by Steven Lake, Amy’s estranged husband and the children’s father, on June 13, in Dexter. Steven Lake also killed himself.
Lizotte recalled that as a child growing up in Connecticut, a neighbor towing her five children behind her came to his family’s home for refuge. The neighbor’s husband, a “mild-mannered milkman” who spent Friday nights drinking, had beaten and bloodied her. He recalled that his parents helped clean the blood from the woman and then called police. Police came and the woman’s husband was arrested, he said.
Reflecting back over a half century later, Lizotte said he was pleased his family did the right thing by helping the victim and calling the police. “That’s the kind of response that neighbors need to do when they see this happening in their communities,” he said. “The last thing we cannot do is look away.”