This October for Week Without Violence, YWCA Southeastern MA partnered with Bristol Community College’s Women’s Center, UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Women, Gender, & Sexuality, The Women’s Center of New Bedford, and Global Learning Charter Public School to co-host five events across New Bedford and Dartmouth. It was truly wonderful to see so many individuals and organizations working together to raise awareness about supporting survivors and ending sexual and domestic violence, all with a common goal in mind: together, we can one day end gender-based violence.
YWCA staff displayed the Clothesline Project at Bristol Community College’s New Bedford Campus and at UMass Dartmouth. T-shirts that are designed and decorated by women and children survivors of violence, as well as by loved ones of those who face abuse, were hung on display for students, faculty and staff to view and reflect on. Each shirt tells the survivor’s story in their own unique way. Courageously stepping forward, each woman and child has used their own painful experience to break the silence around the issue of gender-based violence. The form mixes therapeutic art practices and public exhibit to give victims back their power and voice in a way that does not ultimately require them to say the words out loud. Nonetheless, the message is clear. These messages were also in full view at the Domestic Violence Awareness Month Candlelight Vigil, hosted by The Women’s Center of New Bedford. YWCA staff followed in the silent procession and then attended the memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Church, where the t-shirts hung from pillar to pillar. At Global Learning Charter Public School in New Bedford, students took turns reading and signing the Week Without Violence Pledge.
It has been over 200 days since the House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585) and it is time Senators took the reauthorization of this bill seriously. That’s why YWCAs across the country are organizing in a National Day of Action to urge the Senate to bring this bill to the floor now! Join us on November 7th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET to tell Senators that survivors and service providers can’t wait – they must reauthorize VAWA today!
Why wait for November 7th to take action? Tell your Senator to reauthorize VAWA today!