wordsEvery 96 minutes a domestic assault is report to Police in Maine. Learn to recognize the signs.

As we move into October, Next Step is preparing for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This autumn marks a very special milestone in Next Step’s history – twenty years of service to our community in supporting victims of domestic abuse, providing resources and information to the community, and forming many lasting collaborations with partner agencies. Like many agencies with grassroots starts, Next Step has grown and evolved a great deal from our modest beginnings. One thing that has remained the same, however, is our overall mission and vision to support and empower people affected by domestic violence, while also striving to prevent and end the cycle of domestic violence through education and social change.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone; but we believe that every individual has a right to live in safety and without fear of abuse. You should feel loved and respected by your partner, not anxious or afraid of him or her. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are you afraid to disagree with your partner?
  • Does your partner humiliate you or criticize you in front of other people?
  • Does your partner often check up on you or ask you where you’ve been?
  • Does your partner act jealous or wrongly accuse you of flirting?
  • Does your partner blame you for the way he/she treats you?
  • Does your partner make it hard for you to see friends or family?
  • Does your partner make you feel you’re always wrong or a little crazy?
  • Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you, your children or pets?
  • Has he/she ever followed through?
  • Has your partner threatened suicide if you leave?
  • Does your partner blame drinking, drugs, a bad childhood, or stress for abusive behavior? Try to pass it off as not a big deal?

domesticIf you said yes one, two, three or more times, you can be pretty sure that your partner is trying to control you with hurtful and/or destructive behavior. If so, we hope you’ll call our hotline at 1 (800) 315-5579. It’s always free and confidential…and there are many ways we can help.

Next Step also offers support groups, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and legal support. To learn more, visit our website at http://www.nextstepdvproject.org.

If you are interested in becoming an advocate, please call Kelly at 667-0176 for information on our training and volunteer opportunities!