ALPENA, Mich. – Hope Shores Alliance is an organization dedicated to assisting victims, survivors and their families in ending domestic and sexual violence.
“Definitely subjective, domestic violence looks different for everyone that goes through it,” said Hope Shores Outreach and Services Coordinator Rachel Berzack.
Behaviors can include emotional and verbal abuse, financial control, and sexual or physical assault among others.
And the numbers are alarming.
“For the state of Michigan, we know that in 2019 over 57 thousand incidents of domestic violence incidences that were reported to police departments,” said Berzack. “It’s also one of the most unreported crimes, 60–70 percent is estimated that domestic violence incidences go unreported.”
This month Hope Shores is looking for inspiration from the community for support.
“Our theme for Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year is Survivor Voices Heal Through Art,” said Berzack. “So, all the different ways that art can help bring fourth healing, and unity and connection for survivors trying to move forward from this violence.” Any art that you created it can be painting or drawing or a dance or poem.”
Artist and supporters can submit their artwork to the organization and have it highlighted on their Facebook page.
Berzack said art connects people in more ways than one.
“Even if I don’t know the person wrote the person or made this painting if I can look at it and can read it and can take in something that helps me take that next step forward, that’s healing,” said Berzack.
There are also other ways to get involved this month.
Hope Shores has partnered with Poetics Lab to host the Perseverance Monologues and a community candlelight vigil on October 28 from 6 to 8pm at Art in the Loft to finish the month with a celebration of resilience.
The program will include a collage of pieces chosen by the performers that offer messages of perseverance, survivorship, strength and love to those harmed by domestic violence.
Spoken word poetry, monologues, music, and dance are encouraged as part of this celebration. Works can be original or adaptations.
Artists do not need to be receiving services from Hope Shores Alliance or be the primary survivor of domestic violence in order to perform.
Those interested in performing can email Mitchel Dipzinski at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with event organizers for next steps.