November 23, 2013

Campaign against domestic violence launched in memory of Augusta stabbing victim

Jillian Jones is the inspiration behind TEAL Project, started by a friend to spread the message about domestic violence and encourage people to speak out.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Friends of Jillian Jones, a group formed in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 stabbing death of the Augusta woman, has started a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence.

click image to enlarge

RAISING AWARENESS: Tim Brown, 24, of Fairfield, a close friend of Jillian Jones, who was stabbed to death Nov. 13 in Augusta, started a Facebook page called “Teal Project” in her memory to raise awareness about domestic violence.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

RAISING AWARENESS: Tim Brown, 24, of Fairfield, a close friend of Jillian Jones, who was stabbed to death Nov. 13 in Augusta, started a Facebook page called “Teal Project” in her memory to raise awareness about domestic violence.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

How to get help

For guidance or support, call the Augusta Family Violence Project at 877-890-7788.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

Domestic abuse is a deliberate or ongoing pattern of behavior used by one person to control the actions and feelings of an intimate partner or family member. The following are some examples of what abuse can look like:

• using coercion and threats, such as threatening to leave a partner or to commit suicide, making the partner do illegal things or reporting him or her to authorities

• using intimidation such as smashing things, destroying property, displaying weapons

• using emotional abuse such as making a partner feel bad about himself or herself, name-calling, making the partner feel guilty.

• using isolation such as controlling where the partner goes or who he or she sees.

• minimizing, denying or blaming; saying abuse did not happen or the partner was responsible for it

• using children to make a partner feel guilty or threatening to take them away.

• using economic abuse such as preventing the partner from getting a job, taking the partner’s money or not allowing him or her to have access to the family income.

• making all the big decisions

• treating a partner like a servant.

Guidelines for how to help a friend, relative or co-worker

• Talk to the person in private.

• Point out whatever concerns you.

• Assure your friend that whenever he or she is ready to talk, you are there to listen.

• Promise to keep everything that is said between you confidential.

The TEAL Project was started by Tim Brown, a friend of Jones, and already has received more than 1,700 likes on Facebook since it launched on Monday.

Brown, 24, went to high school in Bingham with Jones and was an organizer of a candlelight vigil held in her memory there a week ago.

The 24-year-old woman was stabbed three times, allegedly by her boyfriend, Justin Pillsbury, 38, at their Crosby Street apartment in Augusta last week. Police said Pillsbury admitted that he killed Jones, and he is being held without bail at the Kennebec County jail.

Brown, who lives in Fairfield, said that while growing up he saw his mother abused at the hand of boyfriends and family members. He said Jones was like a sister to him.

Teal, which is Jones’ middle name, is also an acronym for Together Each Angel Lives, a message that Brown said means that by raising awareness, lives can be saved.

“Having somebody as close to me as Jillian (die) because of domestic violence, it’s something that resonates very deeply with me. I think the message needs to be spread so that people who may be scared to speak up can have an outlet,” Jones said.

There were 5,459 domestic assaults reported in Maine in 2006, according to the most recent data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

At The Family Violence Project in Augusta, the number of calls and visits to the center have risen in the last three years, said Executive Director Deborah Shepherd.

In 2009 the center’s hotline received 3,890 calls, while in 2012 it received 4,561 calls. In 2009 the center saw 1,590 clients, while in 2012 it saw 2,239 clients, Shepherd said.

The rise does not necessarily indicate a rise in domestic violence, which is almost impossible to track because so many incidents are not reported, but does indicate a rise in awareness, she said.

“We are hoping that more people are aware they can get help. It’s important to tell someone and that is the result we are seeing,” she said.

The center offers guidelines for support and also encourages those who feel uncomfortable about going to a counselor to talk to friends or others.

People should feel safe seeking help if they are being mistreated by a loved one, said Thomas Blackstone, minister at the Green Street United Methodist Church in Augusta. He thinks almost every minister has listened to someone reveal that they are being abused or are concerned about a loved one who is.

“They should be able to talk without feeling like the person they are confiding in is immediately going to call the police, if that’s not what they want,” he said.

If you think someone you know is being abused, a good goal is to try to get that person in touch with someone who can help make a decision about whether the affected person should contact law enforcement and when to do so, he said.

Domestic violence is a crime, and it ultimately should be brought before law enforcement; but that decision is not always the highest priority.

“They want to feel safe. Maybe they’re contemplating leaving their spouse or partner, and that takes planning, especially if there are children involved,” Blackstone said.

In an emergency, he said, it is better to err on the side of contacting police if it appears that one or both of the people involved are in danger. If that’s not clear, contacting a local organization such as the Family Violence Project can put the person in touch with people who can make the decision, he said.

Brown said he thinks many victims do’not report or even talk about their abuse.

“It’s really discouraging that these people may think there’s no one to stand beside them or help them,” he said. The Facebook page is filled with comments from supporters, as well as links to information about recognizing and preventing domestic violence.

It can be viewed at https:77//www.facebook.com/TEALPROJECT.

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368rohm@centralmaine.com

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