-- — At the Safe Passage annual meeting, held at Tri-State Artisans Oct. 11, executive director Jane Yorn noted Jaime Mustaine “has been part of the Safe Passage family for a long time. She really stands as a powerful role model for everyone else who comes through our doors.”
Mustaine, the night’s guest speaker, recalled how domestic violence affected her 10 years ago. “I was on the street without a place to go after struggling to escape with my three kids to the emergency room. The last fight, the one that made me realize it was life and death, ... gave me the courage to leave.”
Although outreach services at the Batesville-based facility began in 2001, shelter doors opened three years later, so Mustaine didn’t have Safe Passage as an option. “The kids and I struggled to find a place to sleep for six weeks ... six long weeks with no money, few clothes and only a desire to keep the kids safe.”
Soon she utilized Safe Passage’s counseling services and began the healing process. She also learned life skills and to value herself and set goals. “Ten years ago I never dreamt I would have my college degree, have eight years of experience in corporate America and be standing here as a business ownerî of Tri-State Artisans.
“Back then I believed the words I was told daily (by my abuser): ‘You are nothing and you will never be anything.’ ... Today, I believe if I set my mind to something, nothing will stop me.”
In a year and a half in a bad economy, the Batesville resident grew the gallery from two artists to 39, some of whom teach art classes there. Paying it forward, Mustaine enjoys mentoring Safe Passage families at the 125 E. George St. shop. “Now, not only can I support other artists, but I can show the women who come here with their lives shattered, fearing for what tomorrow may have in store for them (that) there is hope ...”