image description
Staff from the Elizabeth Freeman Center organized the event to raise awareness of domestic violence and the resources available to victims.

Freeman Center Rally Raises Awareness of Domestic Violence

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story

Each flag represents a new victim of sexual or domestic assault in the Berkshires.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There were 345 flags in Park Square on Thursday, with each one representing a new local victim of domestic and sexual violence.
The Elizabeth Freeman Center placed one flag per new disclosure of sexual or domestic violence in 2018. And those are only the victims that received services from the organization.
The flags, coupled with a rally in the city's center, were intended to demonstrate the issue and the services the center provides.
"April is sexual assault awareness month so each year we put out flags for our survivors that we served the previous year. There are 345 flags out this year and we are just doing a rally to provide some support and knowledge about our services," said Heather Marshall, who runs the homelessness response program for the Elizabeth Freeman Center.
The rally has been an annual thing and Marshall hopes that it raises awareness of the services the non-profit provides.
"We are located in Great Barrington, Pittsfield, and North Adams. We provide services throughout Berkshire County. Our services are all free and confidential. We provide anything from emergency shelter to counseling and support services, financial advocacy, we've got a disability justice advocate now, we provide services for children who are exposed to domestic violence," Marshall said.
"There is really there not a part of the community we do not touch because sexual and domestic violence is so prevalent and hits anybody and everyone."
The organization is also flying 345 flags on the front lawn of its headquarters for the entire month. Marshall said the issue is a big one for the county that has included murders in recent years and added that no one is immune from domestic or sexual violence.
"We see trends with different movements like the 'Me Too' movement and things just around the world that happen kind of spark up and downs. But I think it is just something that needs to be talked about so much. We need to normalize the fact that it could happen to anyone at any time and that our services are here to provide support for anybody who needs it," Marshall said.
When it does happen, many don't know how to best approach a victim and speak to them, according to Lisa McCue. McCue serves as the Berkshire County district attorney's director of the victim-witness unit. She said her goal is to raise awareness of how to understand a victim.

The attendance at the rally ebbed and flowed but those from the Freeman Center stayed throughout the two-hour rally.
"It is always a challenge to educate the community on how to respond to victims in a trauma-informed way, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault victims. That is really important to us moving forward and we are hoping to connect with the community and educate them about what a trauma-informed response looks like," McCue said.
McCue hopes to raise more awareness of what the experience is like for a victim in all areas of the community. She and many others from the district attorney's office joined the rally on a windy day to show support.
"We appreciate our partnership with the Elizabeth Freeman Center and we wanted to come out and support them, help them raise awareness," McCue said.
The district attorney's office has partnerships with a number of service organizations. McCue said it is her job to work with the victims, make them aware of the "victim's bill of rights," connect them with the services they need, and help them navigate the criminal justice system. McCue has been in the business for 12 years and only recently moved up to the director's role.
"I really wanted to be able to help other victims heal and understand the criminal justice system. That's why I am here. I love my job and I love helping victims through the system," McCue said.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a national campaign with events throughout the entire nation. 

Tags: domestic violence,   rally,   sexual assault,   

0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Aug. 23-29

This weekend is your last chance to see the 2019 Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing. Performances are held on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. on the First Street Common. Featuring the witty on-again, off-again lovers Beatrice and Benedick, Much Ado is the story of the trials of love in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions. Beatrice's cousin Hero and the soldier Claudio meet and fall in love, but when a man spreads nasty rumors about her, Hero's voice is silenced and their relationship torn apart. Loyalties are tested as the community responds, including a ragtag group of officers who just might save the day. FREE, donations suggested.
The Shaker Barn Music Series presents singer-songwriter Nellie McKay. The deep, and deeply funny, McKay has paid tribute to the disparate likes of Doris Day, transgender jazz pianist Billy Tipton, environmentalist Rachel Carson and comedian Joan Rivers. Wallace Field opens. 7:30 p.m.
FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI Karaoke Night at Friends | FRI Dan Gingras at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI Todd McLeod at Rusty Anchor | FRI Mr. Doubtfire at Mission | FRI-SAT Wine, Cheese & Trees at Bousquet | SAT Latin Night at The A | SAT Pete Boyd at Proprietor's Lodge | SAT The Damaged & More at Crossroads | SAT Acoustic Gravel & Jessica Wilson at Rusty Anchor | SUN-MON Karen Mason at Barrington Stage | MON Jazz Night at Mission | TUE Entrepreneurial Meet-up at Thistle & Mirth | WED Melissa Massery at Methuselah | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow | THU The Picky B's at Mission | THU Jessica Wilson at Proprietor's Lodge

Children ages 6 and older are invited to learn to paint a sparkly unicorn on a 16x20 canvas at Berkshire Paint & Sip. All painting materials, instruction, light snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the $25 fee. 1-3 p.m. at 305 North Street.
FRI FREE Fun Friday at Berkshire Museum FRI WeeMuse: Adventures at Berkshire Museum FRI Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum FRI-THU Parenting Classes & Play Groups at 18 Degrees (formerly Berkshire Children & Families) SAT Chow Time at Berkshire Museum SAT Kitchen Ka-Boom! at Berkshire Museum SAT Back to School Event at Berkshire Dream Center SAT Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum SAT Robbins Zust Marionette Show at Dottie's SAT da Vinci After Hours at Berkshire Museum SUN Discovery Tank Program at Berkshire Museum | MON Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum TUE WeeMuse: Littlest Learners at Berkshire Museum TUE Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum WED Gallery Scavenger Hunts at Berkshire Museum THU Farm Friends at Hancock Shaker Village | THU Exploring Our World at Berkshire Museum THU Designing with da Vinci at Berkshire Museum 
SUN Restorative Yoga w/CBD Massage at Radiance
Indulge in the ultimate self-care experience, combining restorative yoga with CBD massage, at Radiance Yoga. Shannon will lead you through comfortable yoga postures and licensed massage therapists will guide you deeper into relaxation with massage using Vermont Farmacy's Herbal CBD Salve. 6 p.m.
FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Running Center | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Family YMCA | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness FRI-THU Various Classes at Radiance Yoga | FRI-THU Various Classes at Berkshire Salsa FRI-THU Various Classes at Pilates Fit | SAT Sunrise Yoga on the Deck at Rusty Anchor | SUN Goat Yoga at Hancock Shaker Village SUN Yoga Class at Tyler Street Lab MON Zumba Class at Tyler Street Lab THU Outdoor Yoga at Onota Lake
SAT+ George Gershwin Alone at The Colonial
View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories