Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies


Kathleen March

Second Committee Member

Mazie Hough

Third Committee Member

Renate Klein


This thesis defines service-learning and domestic violence, while describing how bringing students and communities together through service-learning courses can build and has already built bridges for victims of violence against women. Collaboration is essential in the quest to raise awareness about domestic violence through education. This thesis will demonstrate through data and photojournalism this collaboration between students of SPA/MLC Service-Learning Classes of UMaine from 2006 through to and including 2011.

As the themes in this thesis develop the reader will also begin to question what lies just beyond our borders and behind closed doors for women of the twenty-first century. There are two compelling quotes that say in a few words what this thesis is all about. Isaac Newton stated, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” We (women) are often lost in society behind those walls, living in the shadows of forceful and oblivious patriarchal societies and communities. In order for these women to take a stand and feel empowered to demand equality, say nothing about their human rights, the entire community needs education: education of the what and why and when of violence against women, and then the how and where and who of combatting such violence against women. First we have to ask ourselves: What is violence against women? Why does violence against women happen? When do acts of violence against women occur? And then, we need to follow-up with: How can violence against women be prevented or greatly reduced? Where do we go from here? Where do we start? Who needs to take responsibility and who needs to step up and lead the society and communities toward equality for women and intolerance for violence against women? Violence against women is being perpetrated each and every day, but building bridges through education is a fundamental and vital component in combating this societal malaise. As Ralph Ellison points out, “Education is all a matter of building bridges.”

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Isaac Newton

“Education is all a matter of building bridges.” Ralph Ellison

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