Ornate Footwear Designed By Domestic Violence Clients on Display
Each October since 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month unites people across the nation to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived, and reaffirm their commitment to end violence against women and their children.
Domestic violence affects every segment of society, but is rarely spoken about because of fear, shame, or embarrassment. Raising public awareness is critical especially for those women and children who are at risk of becoming the next victims.
Center for Hope and Safety (CHS) is working with fifteen Bergen County area libraries that will be displaying their “Baring Our Soles” art exhibit. This exhibit showcases ornately designed footwear created by domestic violence clients as part of CHS’s Art Therapy program. These decorated shoes are an expression of the journey that domestic violence victims take as they work through their trauma toward a more optimistic future. The exhibit which also includes individual narratives written by the client, illustrates the hopeful and promising life-saving services that CHS provides women and child victims of domestic violence.
Marta Levy, Director of Children’s Services and one of CHS’s Art Therapists explains “The project gives the victims an opportunity to explore and share internal emotional connections with their shoes. As they complete their designs and write down their stories, the shoe is no longer just a shoe. It becomes a symbol of breaking the silence of each personal survivors’ journey.”
Throughout the month, libraries in Bergenfield, Elmwood Park, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Norwood, River Edge, Saddle Brook and Woodridge will be showcasing the exhibit (please call for hours). The agency is pleased that these libraries are joining in our efforts to raise awareness of this vital issue. The exhibit will help others gain a better understanding of our clients’ experiences – they will be able to “walk in their shoes.”
For over 40 years, the agency has offered refuge to thousands of women and children by providing a diversified continuum of services that focus on attaining safety, empowerment and self-sufficiency. CHS’s life-saving programs for domestic violence victims in Bergen County include: a 24-hour hotline; a confidential emergency shelter; transitional housing, crisis counseling; case management; children’s programming; legal assistance; Hispanic outreach; financial literacy and work-readiness training; follow-up services; and community education. CHS 24-hour hotline is 201-944-9600.