Peices of the Essex County STOP Domestic Voilence Task Force Clothesline Project were hung on the lines for the event on Oct. 16.
Members of the Essex County Task Force Against Domestic Volence honored victims of the crime in a ceremony on Oct. 16 at the County offices.
“Mourning those who have died; celebrating those who have survived; and unifying those who support victims,” was the goal of all who attended the event.
Outside the tent set up for the event were purple blocks spread on the ground to symbolize a memorial for victims of domestic violence. There were white blocks to symbolize survivors. Between the blocks were red roses.
Hanging over the roses and blocks were shirts made by victims or friends and family of victims of domestic violence. The shirts, decorated by victims of domestic violence or thier friends and family are part of a National Clothes Line project to air the voices of victims. The project gives an avenue to those affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.
A young woman held a t-shirt hanging from the clothesline close to read the hand written messages. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was at the ceremony as a survivor.
“I don’t want my husband to know I’m here,” she said.
The woman said she had been married for five years, and for the last three years she suffered physical and verbal abuse by her husband. She said that it was a co-worker who essentially saved her by giving her and her two children a safe place to stay. The services offered by STOP also helped her to be ready to move on with her life. She hopes any one suffering from abuse at the hand of a partner finds the courage to leave and find assistance from the community partnership.
“Don’t ever think someone is going to change, you have to go, get help, and leave,” she said. “If not for your children, so they don’t have to go through that, do it for yourself.”
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Randy Douglas said during the ceremony that domestic violence is a problem that affects all members of the community.
“Four million American are victims of domestic violence every year, and one third of Americans are witnesses of domestic violence,” Douglas said. “Only a coordinated effort of all member of the community can help end violence against women.”
District attorney Kristy Sprague said through all of the court cases she sees annually, it never ceases to amaze her how more and more cases of abuse and domestic violence come through her office instead of less.
“Events when awareness is central helps victims realize they are not alone and there are people here to help,” Sprague said.
The event was attended by Susan Kelly, Program Director for the STOP Domestic Violence program, Assemblywoman Theresa Sayward and Senior Caseworker for Essex County Angie DeGroff.
For more information on how STOP can help victims of abuse and their families call (888) 563-6904.