Finding Our Voices

Gabriel Byrne sold out event raises $20K for FOV

Wed, 03/13/2024 - 12:15pm
    The Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brought $20,000 to Finding Our Voices and a whole lot of sunshine to survivors of domestic abuse in a sold-out event for the statewide nonprofit at the Camden Opera House.  
    The night before the Academy Awards and a week before St. Patrick’s Day, March 9, the award-winning Irish actor, producer, and author hosted a screening of his 1995 movie “The Usual Suspects,” then engaged in a lively in-person question and answer session with an electrified crowd that included Governor Janet T. Mills. Byrne not only offered to do the event for free for Finding Our Voices to break the silence and shame around domestic abuse, but donated costs associated with the event so every penny of ticket sales would go directly to Maine survivors.
    Topics touched on in the Q&A by the star of 90 feature films and author of the memoir “Walking with Ghosts” included the filming of “The Usual Suspects” and the similarities between Dublin, Hollywood, and Midcoast Maine where he has lived quietly (until now) for 10 years.
    Byrne ended the three-hour program by praising the “vitally important” grassroots, nonprofit organization Finding Our Voices, and thanking audience members for not only funding the group's “frontline fight” against domestic abuse in Maine by buying a ticket to the event but, through their attendance, raising their own awareness of the issue.   
    “There is a sense of collective pride in being part of something that truly helps in a really visceral, real way for the people who are suffering amongst us,” he said. “I’m really proud of the work that [Finding Our Voices] is doing, and that this little part of the world is open to it. It is an honor for me to be asked to be here.”

    Q&A moderator Patrisha McLean, founder and CEO of Finding Our Voices, said, “It is hard to find words to describe the kind-hearted soul that Mr. Byrne is, and how amazing what he did for Maine survivors of domestic abuse is by lending his voice to us in a way that still has the state of Maine buzzing. Love is stronger than hate,' sums up our survivor-powered efforts and the people and communities all across Maine stepping up to help us however they can. This includes displaying our posters in their public bathrooms and business windows, sponsoring our programs and events, and donating services, time, and money. And here comes Gabriel Byrne to amplify this notion with such a whole-hearted gift." 

    Finding Our Voices is the grassroots, survivor-powered nonprofit breaking the silence of domestic abuse across Maine. McLean shared the story of how the domestic violence arrest of her celebrity husband in Camden broke her own 29-year silence of “what was really going on in our hilltop estate.” She said it was the the astonishing number of women in her community letting her know upon the headlines of the arrest that they too had gone through domestic abuse that led to Finding Our Voices, which became a nonprofit three years ago.
    Finding Our Voices survivors that helped to staff the event wore yellow that is the signature color of Finding Our Voices to represent, according to the McLean, “the light we are bringing to our sister-survivors still in the dark.” 
    The Camden Opera House picked up the cost of licensing the screening of the movie. Contributing to the $20,000 total were sponsorships by Susan and Shane Flynn and Lisa Gorman, as well as proceeds from a pre-event reception at the new Camden wine bar, "First Fig.”
    McLean said proceeds will provide emergency assistance for women survivors to get out and stay out of danger at home, including help with short term emergency shelter, first month apartment rents and security deposits, car repairs, legal consultations, and home security devices.
    “Considering that our Get Out Stay Out Fund gave out $26,000 in just the first two months of the year to women and moms all over Maine,” she said, “the money that Gabriel Byrne raised for us will allow us to continue to provide a critical hand-up to the far too many women in Maine being terrorized by the most dangerous bullies out there, those who hurt the people they purport to love.” 
    Finding Our Voices mitigates the financial abuse, stigma, and isolation that are key factors in trapping women and children, with innovative campaigns including talks to students, online support groups, and pro bono, dignified dental care now with 26 Maine dentists and dental labs in three states participating. 
    For more information on Finding Our Voices visit