Hanging laundry outside will serve a new purpose Monday when Greater Trail women exposed to domestic violence air out decorative shirts that speak of change.
For the first time, Trail FAIR (Family and Individual Resource Centre) Society is participating in The Clothesline Project that started over 20 years ago in the United States and has now spread around the world.
Local women, who’ve been exposed to domestic and other forms of violence, have been tapping into their creative side by hand painting images and messages on T-shirts that reflect their experience and their desire for an abuse-free community.
Their work will be hung on a clothesline downtown outside Ferraro Foods from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. to recognize Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April15-21).
“The creativity of the women is incredible and they have really appreciated an opportunity to send a message to the community about the need to end violence against women,” said Gayle Ghosh, outreach worker at the Transition House and co-facilitator of the Tuesday afternoon women’s weekly drop-in group.
“We’ve supplied paints, brushes and T-shirts and the women have taken it from there. Each T-shirt is unique and sends its own special message about the issue.”
Family, friends and support workers – who are also exposed to the impact violence can have – are welcome to make their own creation with paints and shirts available at FAIR. The general public can also make a statement at the event, where supplies will be on site.
The shirts will later be displayed at the Trail and District Public Library for the remainder of the week.
One in four women will experience violence at some point in their life, according to Statistics Canada, which also notes that 20,000 women in B.C. will suffer from this crime annually. Almost half of these women have children, who will also be exposed.
FAIR continues to support women leaving abusive relationships with the WINS Transition House, which has 10 beds.
The organization also offers a second-stage program for women who have been in the transition house for the maximum time of 30 days. This six-suite complex gives women more time to heal in a safe, supportive environment for an affordable price.
Ann Godderis, WINS Transition House community education worker, is confident that educating the public on this issue is the best way to promote change.
“If more people can recognize and speak out against violence against women, we have a better chance to increase women’s safety and hold offenders accountable,” she said. “Knowledge can help communities support women, youth and children who experience violence and prevent tragedies.”
To talk to someone about a crises situation, call the 24-hour Interior Crisis Line Network in the West Kootenay Boundary at 1-888-353-CARE (2273).