Hope and Justice Project and UMFK collaborate to increase awareness about sexual assault

FORT KENT, Maine — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Hope and Justice Project in collaboration with the University of Maine at Fort Kent will host two events to raise awareness and increase education about the devastating crime.

On Monday evening, April 29, the public is welcome to attend a “Take Back the Night: Poetry Reading and Candlelight Walk” event. The event was originally slated Monday, April 8, but organizers postponed it due to weather concerns.

This poetry reading will begin at the UMFK Bengal’s Lair where volunteers will read poetry about domestic violence and assault, which survivors and their family’s wrote. Following the poetry reading, those who wish can join in a walk “to visually stand against all forms of sexual violence and to be a voice for victims who can no longer speak for themselves,” according to UMFK Associate Student Affairs Officer  Vicki Daigle.

“A candlelight vigil will be incorporated into the march and we will end the event forming a circle and taking a moment of silence for those we know who have been impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault and for those who have lost friends and family members to violence,” Daigle said.  

The Take Back the Night: Poetry Reading and Candlelight Walk will start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 29, at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Bengal’s Lair.

On Thursday, April 11, all UMFK students and Fort Kent Community High School juniors and seniors are invited to attend a “Speak About It” presentation at the university’s Fox Auditorium.

The presentation  focus on “affirmative consent education.”

“The crux of the event is really to encourage and engage students in recognizing healthy boundaries, having a voice in what happens to you and your body, and learning how to speak honestly about the issue of sex and sexual consent and being an active by-stander,” according to Daigle. ”There will be a panel composed of local and university professionals to answer student questions, talk about local resources and provide greater understanding on safety, and individual rights concerning sexual assault and domestic violence.”

The Speak About It Presentation for the UMFK and high school students will be held 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium.

The Hope and Justice Project works with anyone who has experienced or been affected by abuse or violence in Aroostook County.

For more information about the Hope and Justice Project, visit the organization’s website or Facebook page. Help also is available by calling the group’s 24-hour Hotline number at 1-800-439-2323. Services are free and confidential.

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