Dirty laundry helps to heal
WOMEN and men will be airing their dirty laundry in the Lismore CBD from today to raise awareness about domestic violence as part of the Dirty Laundry Day Project.
Devised six years ago by Niki Gill, the Dirty Laundry Project allows more than 50 domestic violence victims of both sexes to tell their stories, to share their messages, to raise awareness about violence and to let others know "you are not alone" - on t-shirts.
Dirty Laundry Day Project art facilitator Rose Hand said creating the t-shirts gave a voice to people who suffer in silence and pain and allow them to air their dirty laundry without fear or shame.
"I think the Dirty Laundry Day Project is the perfect opportunity for people the chance to art that expresses their suffering, their pain, and the good side of how they're feeling now," she said.
"The fact that they can express pain, the suffering, the healing, and the determination not to be there again in a few words, and then print or paint it has an incredibly powerful impact on people."
Yesterday 20 women chose to either paint or screen print a t-shirt or two, which will be hung in Lismore CBD shops with the help of school students.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, up to 80% of women who have experienced intimate partner violence or sexual assault did not report it to the police.
The Dirty Laundry Day Project is supported by domestic violence victim and Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.
"If we are to stop the family violence epidemic that is threatening Australia we need to have very difficult conversations," Ms Batty said.
"Family violence happens behind closed doors.
"Women and children often do not speak out due to shame and fear.
"The Dirty Laundry Day Project aims to change this and that is a good thing."
A special installation has been created by the Casino Community Men's Shed and supported by Bunnings Lismore, which will display the t-shirts at Lismore Shopping Square for the week of White Ribbon - November 23-28.
A domestic violence awareness and information stall at the Square will be manned by staff and volunteers from a range of local groups working with domestic and family violence.
There will also be fun activities for kids throughout the week.
This year's Dirty Laundry Day Project and Domestic Violence Information Stand has been supported by The Northern Rivers Social Development Council; via a NSW Health grant through the Lismore Domestic Violence Liaison Committee; and via funding support from Connecting Home, the Family Referral Service, Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Child & Family Network Inc and OTCP.