Statement by Executive Director, Lysetta Hurge Putnam on the recent Domestic Violence Homicide on Cape Cod

We extend our greatest empathy to the family of 35 year old Mary (Molly) Fratantonio of Cotuit as we learned of her killing at the hands of her husband on February 28th.   Our hearts are with her children, extended family, loved ones and community members who knew and loved her.  This is a tragic reminder that domestic violence holds no demographics, and that a domestic violence homicide affects the family of the victim and the entire community.  

Independence House is committed to providing support services for family, close friends, neighbors, schoolmates, colleagues, or any member of the community affected by this or any homicide, whether or not it is related to domestic violence as part of our Homicide Survivor Program.  

We know that incidents like this might also impact individuals who are experiencing or may have experienced abuse.  All Independence House services are free and confidential and available to anyone in our community on Cape Cod at any of our locations, through our 24 hour hotline at 800-439-6507, on our website at , or at a location of their choosing. Teens in need of support may also access our online counseling chat through a dedicated teen website at .   

Deadline for Submissions Extended to March 16th for "Let Your Voice Be Heard!"
As part of the focus on Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February, the Independence House Teen Program has set an event in motion that will engage teenagers across Cape Cod to be leaders among their peers in the campaign to end dating violence.
"Let Your Voice Be Heard" is a call for teenagers to write and perform original music with provided guidelines. The lyrics of the song must be inspired by spreading awareness of teenage dating violence and reflect a pledge about being the change they wish to be among their peers and in the community about healthy relationships, respect and transforming social norms.
Contest submissions will be accepted through March 16th in the form of a video performance.  All videos will be set up on a voting page hosted by Cape Cod Broadcasting Media (CCBM), the contest's main sponsor, and the public will vote to determine the final contestants.  Finalists will perform their entry live at the Cape Cod Community Media Center on March 31 st when winners will be determined.  Master of Ceremonies for the event is Cat Wilson, local disc jockey and 'That Girl in the Morning' on CCBM's Cape County 104, and host of Ocean 104.7 "The Cheap Seats," a show dedicated to promoting local and original music. Numerous prizes will be awarded and the grand prize winner will receive a professional recording of their winning song from Seasound Recording Studios.
Contest information, including entry form and guidelines, can be found on both the website as well as, a dedicated website that also provides confidential live-chat assistance through smart devices to teenagers needing help with their own personal dating relationships.
Teen dating violence includes patterns of abuse from an intimate dating partner that may include emotional, physical, verbal, sexual and digital abuse.  The number of high school students nationally who experience a form of teen dating violence each year exceeds 1 million students.  Approximately 75 percent of students have never had a conversation with a parent about domestic or sexual violence.
Thank you to "Let Your Voice Be Heard" sponsors: 

APRIL is Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a series of events on Cape Cod
Independence House, in collaboration with The Clothesline Project, The Cape and Islands Enough Abuse Campaign and Cape Cod Community College, is scheduled to present a series of events in April to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

On April 11th-12th, from 11:00 am through 5:00 pm each day, the entire Cape Cod collection of The Clothesline Project will be on display in the Quad at Cape Cod Community College.  The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to violence against women. Each t-shirt is created and designed to represent a particular person's experience as a survivor or by someone who cares about the survivor or victim of domestic or sexual violence. 

On April 11th at the College, a showing of the movie "Spotlight" will take place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Tilden Arts Center. On April 12th, the movie "It's Not Just Jenna" will be shown from 2:30 pm-4:30 pm in Lecture Hall A and is sponsored by the Cape and Islands Enough Abuse Campaign. 
Additional events are being held in Provincetown earlier in the month.  On April 7th from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Independence House will be the featured organization at the Writer's Voice Cafe's monthly workshop held at the Provincetown Library.  Discussion will also include The Clothesline Project and participants will have the opportunity to create their own t-shirt.  On April 8th at the Provincetown Library from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, the Cape and Islands Enough Abuse Campaign will host the movie "Spotlight," followed by discussion and refreshments. 

The public is invited to attend all events throughout the month of April. If you are a group or organization that would like to either host The Clothesline Project or learn more about the Cape and Islands Enough Abuse Campaign, please contact Chris Morin at or call 508-771-6507 x230.

Independence House is a member of the Cape Cod and Islands Enough Abuse Campaign, providing adults and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to put an end to the silence of child sexual abuse. 
Independence House and the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office present National Crime Victims' Week on Cape Cod
Independence House is partnering with the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office to bring a series of press conference style events to four locations on Cape Cod.  The project is supported by a National Crime Victims' Rights Week Community Awareness Project sub-grant awarded to Independence House by the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) through a cooperative agreement with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs and US Department of Justice. 

The National Crime Victims' Rights Week is an annual campaign designed to raise awareness of victims' rights and services, highlighting local programs, celebrating progress achieved, and honoring victims and the professionals who serve them.  This year's theme --Strength, Resilience, Justice-- reflects a vision in the future in which all victims are strengthened by the response they receive, organizations are resilient in response to challenges, and communities are able to seek collective justice and healing. 
  • On Monday, April 3rd, at 5:00 pm, we welcome the Brazilian community for an event at the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, 372 North Street in Hyannis. The public is invited.
  • On Tuesday, April 4th, at 9:30 am, we meet with Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School students.
  • On Wednesday, April 5th, at 1:00 pm, we welcome the senior community at the Sandwich Council on Aging, 270 Quaker Meeting House Road in East Sandwich. The public is invited.
  • On Thursday, April 6th, at 10:00 am, the week will conclude by meeting with students of Nauset Regional High School.
Representatives from the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office, Independence House, and local Police Departments will be speaking at these events.  If you would like to receive information such as flyers and brochures to distribute in your community, please contact Chris Morin at or call 508-771-6507 x230.

Mentors in Violence Prevention and "Game Change," the Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership Update

In December of 2015, a formal announcement was made by Attorney General, Maura Healy's   Office that Independence House, Inc. was named as one of six domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations to receive part of over $250,000 in grant funding from the Attorney General's Office and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation to partner with, and provide support to schools participating in "Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership."
Last fall, the partnership commenced and is taking a multi-faceted approach to violence prevention education by providing training for students, faculty and coaches at 90 public high schools in Massachusetts. It also includes an innovative partnership that pairs schools with local domestic violence and sexual assault service providers to provide ongoing support.
The Game Change Partnership enhances our existing Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program which Independence House facilitates in nine high schools on Cape Cod. The Attorney General's Office divided the state into six regions and Independence House, assigned to Region 6, includes three schools off Cape.  Four schools receiving training as part of the Game Change Partnership are Sandwich High School, Plymouth South High School, Plymouth Regional Charter School and Weymouth High School.   Students of these schools receive all day training and learn about the red flags for dating violence, sexual coercion, bullying, stalking, and about bystander intervention and what one can do to stop or prevent all forms of teen relationship violence.  The students are then charged with creating an event to bring the message of healthy relationships to the rest of the student body.
This school year, Independence House's certified MVP counselors who facilitate the MVP curriculum to nine high schools on Cape Cod are focusing on social norms in all of the participating MVP schools. The focus includes what social norms look like and how they affect relationships.  MVP students are currently looking at the social norms they see in their own schools and making determinations on those they would like to change.    At Monomoy High School, students are assessing the impact of alcohol culture and ideas of sexual consent in the community.  Students at Barnstable High School are focusing on community feelings concerning gender identity and sexual orientation and how living in a hetero-normative society impacts those perceptions.  Students at Sandwich High School are also evaluating gender, but in the context of relationships, dating violence, gender norms, and gender disparity.  Sturgis West is focusing on cultural views in their school on gender identity and transphobia. 

The projects mentioned, as well as those of other schools, are currently in motion. These students are the leaders of tomorrow and affirm their understanding of acceptance, respect and the value of diversity.

Thank you to the men (and women) who made the 2017 Cape Cod White Ribbon Day a memorable 5th anniversary. This important annual event brings men together in solidarity to take a pledge to be part of the solution in ending violence against women and all gender based violence.  

Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau
Thank you to speakers: Chief Frank Frederickson of the Yarmouth Police Department, Independence House Executive Director Lysetta Hurge-Putnam, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, Assistant District Attorney Michael Patterson, Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings, State Senator Julian Cyr, Barnstable State Representatives Tim Whelan and Will Crocker, and Independence House counselor Adam Campbell. 

Thank you to organizers:  Officer Melissa Alden of the Yarmouth Police Department and Chris Morin, Independence House Director of Prevention, Education and Outreach.

And special thanks to the numerous community members, police and fire departments in attendance.  

Photos of 2017 White Ribbon Day (courtesy of Deborah Martin from the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office)

The Listening Project
While Independence House serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we are also charged with its prevention.  Ending violence requires a multi-discipline approach to address the complexities and the need for solutions.

Beginning in 2017, we are conducting the "Listening Project," an idea taken from the work of The Rural Southern Voice for Peace/The Listening Project.  This project will consist of a year-long process of interviews with people of all experiences, disciplines, ethnicities, sexual orientations and ages who have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, domestic or sexual violence.  We are listening, and want your thoughts on how the Cape Cod community can play a role in helping to prevent domestic and sexual violence. There will also be opportunities to be part of a focus group for this project.  In 2018, Independence House will be presenting a Violence Prevention Conference where the results from this year-long project will map out a plan to help stop domestic and sexual violence.

Participation in the Listening Project does not require you to be a client, former client, or have a relationship with Independence House. If you are interested in assisting us with an individual interview or being part of a focus group, please contact Chris Morin at or call 508.771.6507 x230 for further information.  Confidentiality is assured.

Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Healthy sexuality is at the core of a young person's development.
"Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives." Source:
Independence House introduces the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum to students in grades 7-9 in 2017The OWL curriculum helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. With a holistic approach,  OWL provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health and cultural influences on sexuality. 

Independence House is partnering to co-facilitate the OWL curriculum with The First Parish Brewster, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. The curriculum is a secular curriculum that contains no religious references or doctrine.  
The facilitated curriculum for this age group will begin in the spring, meet at Independence House's Hyannis office and run once weekly for 8 weeks. Exact dates for the program will be formed dependent on those enrolled. 

Enrollment is being accepted now.  Contact Michaela at or call 508.771-6507 x241.  To learn more about OWL, visit

Independence House in the Community
  • In January, Independence House teen counselors presented to health classes at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School about gender violence and the psychology of abuse.
  • In February, Independence House Outreach, Prevention and Education Director presented to the staff of Health Imperatives in Hyannis on the services of Independence House and the 'red flags' of abusive relationships.
  • In February, Independence House teen counselors collaborated with Cape Cod Shelter and Domestic Violence Services to create a presentation delivered to seniors at Falmouth Academy about social norms and relationships in college. 
  • On March 8th, Independence House counselors will be at the Monomoy High School Tabling Fair and the Clothesline Project will be displayed.
  • On March 11th, Independence House will take part in the Year-Rounder's Festival at the Town Hall in Provincetown from 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
  • On March 14th, from 8:30 am- 1:00 pm, Independence House teen counselors will be participating in the first-ever "Youth Summit: My Choice Matters Cape Cod" at Cape Cod Community College. Stephanie Briody, co-founder of Behavioral Health Innovators, Inc. describes the goal of the summit "to provide a safe place outside of school, to engage students in conversation about choosing healthy behaviors, to reduce substance abuse." The event will include peer messages from students in recovery from addiction, activities for students in grades 6-12, and group discussion and exercises on healthy decisions regarding substance abuse. 
  • On March 16th at 5:30 pm, Independence House teen counselors will be part of the Youth Prevention Forum at Cape Cod Community College.
  • On March 19th, Independence House will have a table at the 59th Hyannis Rotary Club's Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show at Barnstable High School at the invitation of WE CAN, who will be present at the table on Saturday, March 18th and Independence House at the table on March 19th. 
  • On March 23rd, Independence House will present to the New England Archivists Board of Directors on their Code of Conduct content, bystander intervention and how to present this information to their general membership.
  • As a member of the Age-Friendly Yarmouth Community, Independence House will be present at the Housing forum on March 30th, from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm at the Yarmouth Senior Center. 
  • On April 8th, Independence House will take part in the Non-Profit Fair at Preservation Hall in Wellfleet from 11:00 am-4:00 pm.
  • On April 18th, Independence House will present to the U.S. Coast Guard in Woods Hole on sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention.

Groups and Counseling in the Community
Upcoming Spring Groups: 
In Hyannis:
  • Sexual Assault Support Group, Wednesday evenings, beginning April 5th, in Hyannis: an 8 week group providing a safe space for female adults who have been affected by sexual violence at any age. The group combines creative and relaxing activities allowing survivors to share their thoughts and feelings. Education and information is shared during the group, as well as, safe coping skills that can be easily utilized outside the group.  Interest in attendance: Contact Annie at
  • Male Survivor Support Group, Monday evenings, beginning April 3rd, in Hyannis: an 8 week group which provides a safe space for adult men who have been affected by sexual or domestic abuse either during childhood or as an adult. The group will address topics such as causes of violence, who perpetrates violence, myths about violence and how to heal from violence. The facilitators will share useful coping skills and other strategies to cope with the trauma that can accompany abuse at any age. Interest in attendance: Contact Nanci at  
  • Domestic Violence Support Group, Thursday evenings, beginning April 6th, in Hyannis: an 8 week group providing a safe place for female survivors who have been affected by domestic violence. The group will contain both psycho-education and an opportunity to process emotions. Group topics will include understanding domestic violence, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, anger, self-esteem, stress and coping, as well as coping skills and gratitude.   Interest in attendance: Contact Alyssa at
  • Seeking Safety Group, Thursday afternoons, beginning March 16th, in Hyannis:  an 8 week group that is designed to continually integrate attention to trauma and substance abuse simultaneously to promote the most successful recovery possible. The curriculum used in this group was developed by Lisa Najavits and is used world-wide. Interest in attendance: Contact Liz at
  • Healthy Relationships Teen Group, Monday evenings, beginning April 3rd, in Hyannis:  an 8 week group geared towards teenagers 14-17 years of age, who have been impacted by teen dating violence. This group will focus on building healthy relationships. Group discussion will be guided by the needs of the group.  Topics include boundaries, consent and different types of abuse.  Parent/Guardian consent will be needed to participate in the group.  Interested in attendance: Contact Kristen at 
  • Healthy Relationships Children's Group, Thursday evenings beginning April 6th, in Hyannis: an 8 week group geared towards children ages 7-10 who have been impacted by domestic violence. The group will focus on building healthy relationships and is activity based with topics including feelings, self-esteem and communication. Pizza will be served.  Parent/Guardian consent will be needed to participate in the group.  Interested in attendance: Contact Kristen at 
Ongoing Groups: 
  • Adult counselors of Independence House continue to provide weekly self-esteem and seeking safety support groups at both the Barnstable County Corrections Facility in Bourne and the Community Corrections facility in Hyannis.
  • At the Independence House office In Falmouth, an adult domestic and sexual violence support group is ongoing weekly on Thursday evenings.
  • In Hyannis, an adult Spanish/ Portuguese speaking domestic and sexual violence support group is ongoing on Tuesday evenings.
  • Independence House counselors continue to provide a financial empowerment group to adult residents of Safe Harbor.
  • Independence House child counselors continue to provide a group to child residents of Safe Harbor.
Individual counseling at locations in the community:
  • Independence House counselors provide weekly individualized counseling for those requesting services and are residents at The Village at Cataumet.
  • Independence House counselors provide weekly individualized counseling for those requesting services and are residents of Emerson House.
  • An Independence House counselor is available on the 2nd Friday of every month from 10:00 am- 12:00 pm at the Mashpee Senior Center for individuals wishing to speak confidentially and in a private setting about any form of abuse they might be experiencing and to receive information and resources. 

Join "Team Independence House" now and get your spot in the New Balance Falmouth Road Race
The Independence
 House running team is forming now for this year's New Balance Falmouth Road Race to be held on August 20, 2017 -- about 165 days away!     

Why wait to make a difference?  
If you are a runner and interested in making a commitment, contact Sandy Faiman at

Independence House seeks special help with two projects

Independence House has a permanent traveling Silent Witness exhibit. These life-size wooden silhouettes draw attention to and depict the names of domestic violence homicides that occur in Massachusetts each year.  In October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the exhibit is displayed at the Independence House Community Breakfast and then travels Cape-wide throughout the year at various locations. 

Our Silent Witnesses are in need of soft quilted travel pouches that will help protect these life-size silhouettes for many years. If you are interested in helping organize or take part in this special project, please contact Chris at or call 508-771-6507 x230.

We are looking for a lot of muscle, creativity, and donations that will help design and build a sitting garden at the Independence House office in Hyannis behind our gray ramp.  The garden may be a respite for some and a place of joy for others. The sky is the limit on the vision. The hopeful outcome is that this will add to the beauty of the work that has already been completed to the building and grounds at Independence House. 

Our wish list includes many volunteers to help clear, prepare and create the area. Also needed are donations of garden art, possibly water features, soil, decorative rocks, shade loving plants and flowers, stone features, benches, etc. Would you like to volunteer or contribute to this project?  Please contact Donna at or Chris at
24-HOUR HOTLINE: 800-439-6507 

For appointments, please call Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm:

MAIN OFFICE, HYANNIS:  160 Bassett Lane, Hyannis, MA 02601
Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm, Friday 9am-5pm.  Walk-ins welcome. 

Other locations: 
FALMOUTH: 220 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 200, Falmouth, MA 02540 
(Mon 9am-7pm, Tue 9am-5pm, Wed 9-11am or by appointment, Thu 9am-6pm,   Fri 9am-5pm, walk ins welcome)
ORLEANS: 5 Namskaket Rd. Unit 1, Orleans, MA 02653
(Mon 9am-5pm, Tue 11am-7pm, Wed 9-11am, Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-5pm)
PROVINCETOWN: 2 Mayflower Ct., Provincetown, MA 02657 (Thursday by appointment)
To assist with 209A abuse prevention orders and 258E harassment prevention orders, Independence House Court Advocates are available in ALL Cape Cod District and Probate Court Houses during normal court business hours. 
FALMOUTH DISTRICT COURT: 161 Jones Ave, Falmouth
ORLEANS DISTRICT COURT: 237 Rock Harbor Rd., Orleans
BARNSTABLE DISTRICT AND PROBATE COURT: 3195 Main (Court Complex), Barnstable
Independence House Domestic Violence Advocates are available at the  following police departments:
YARMOUTH POLICE DEPARTMENT: Tues & Fri 9am-12pm 508-775-0445 x2181
FALMOUTH POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mon, Tues & Fri 8am-4pm 774-255-4527 x4550

Independence House is a long standing
member of  Jane Doe, Inc.

Independence House is the proud recipient of the 2016  Cape and Islands United Way Community Investment Grant