Airing dirty laundry on domestic violence
DOMESTIC violence shouldn't be our dirty secret, or dirty laundry - it should be spoken about freely.
That's the message from Social Futures' Dirty Laundry Day Project, which takes one of societies most untouched and un-talked of topics to the streets with an exhibition of t-shirts painted with messages by people who have experienced domestic and family violence.
In it's ninth year, Lismore businesses, community and council leaders gathered yesterday to send a strong, combined message - violence is not welcome in Lismore.
T-shirts will soon hang in shop windows in Lismore, Kyogle and Casino next to posters and information to spread awareness and to send a strong message that violence is not tolerated in our communities and help is available to those experiencing violence.
Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said: "The messages painted onto the shirts tell the stories of local women, young people and also men who have been brave enough to share their message, to raise awareness about violence and to let others know they are not alone.
"During the past nine years, more than 500 T-shirts have been created and designed by someone who wanted to tell their story.
"That is a lot of stories about violence and abuse in our region. But as a community we can do something about it, and bringing light and awareness to this issue is the first step.”
Local business woman Busara O'Reilly arrived in Lismore 13 years ago and shared her story at the event. She wanted to tell victims there was life after violence.
Ms O'Reilly was raised in Thailand by her grandparents from age two before moving to Australia at six - including her often-abusive grandmother after her criminal dad was shot and her brothers were murdered.
"I was left all day every day and a lot of bad things happened to me,” she said.
"When whole communities are able to talk about these issues it removes the stigma and opens the way for people experiencing violence to reach out and seek out because violence thrives in secrecy but together we can bring light.”
Anita Mansfield of Social Future said the whole community could play a role in looking out for each other.