Using a clothesline, YWCA Dayton’s Preble County Office created a powerful display of violence statistics that often go ignored.
For the last week of April, at the Preble County Courthouse, a pop-up clothesline was displayed with each shirt is made by a survivor of violence or by someone who has lost a loved one to violence. The color of each shirt represented a different type of violence.
For example, white represented someone who died because of violence, blue and green represented survivors of childhood sexual abuse and yellow represented survivors of domestic violence.
“All of our shelter clients participated this year, including several kids. The shirts show their different journeys and also are a powerful display of violence crime statistics.’” said Miranda Armstead, director of rural strategy.
YW’s Preble County Office installs the annual exhibit as part of a national movement – originated in Hyannis, Mass., in 1990 – that serves to raise awareness of assault and abuse.
YWCA operates the only domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center in Preble County, providing a critical and locally-run lifeline to survivors of violence. This exhibit is a way each year for Preble County residents who are survivors of violence to bring awareness to their neighbors about types of violence that often happen behind closed doors.
“A T-shirt is something that everyone has. This reminds us that domestic violence and sexual assault can happen to anyone,” Armstead said.
The clothesline is also a visual way to represent the differences and similarities in survivor experiences. Some designs represent how a survivor felt during or after they experienced trauma, while others contained simple message about supporting survivors and stopping the cycle.
The exhibit was displayed in April in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, from April 23-29.
Along with giving Preble survivors a powerful way to express themselves, Armstead said she hopes the display also sparked conversations and awareness among visitors.
For help, anyone can call YWCA’s Preble County Crisis Hotline at 937-456-6891 or 24/7 crisis text/chat at ywcadayton.org.