In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness month Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Women’s Resource Center (WRC) hosted True Life: My Experience With Domestic Violence, an exhibit that displayed poems and artwork contributed by victims of domestic violence and children of survivors of domestic violence. The exhibit also showcased work from people who have committed acts of violence.
“It’s always really powerful. Folks who attend are very moved by it,” said Ellen Lassiter-Collier, Program Coordinator for Women’s Resource Center. She explained how the shelter’s artwork helps children and survivors to process and heal because she has coordinated this event for the last several years.
Last year the artwork and poems were submitted by only EMU students, but this year the Women’s Resource Center acquired new pieces through a collaboration with shelters for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, SafeHouse located in Ann Arbor, and First Step in Wayne County.
“They have plaques with their stories of who they were and how they were killed at the hands of their partner,” Lassiter-Collier said. “Those are real women from our area that unfortunately truly victims of domestic violence.”
This year’s exhibit also featured the Silent Witness Project, a silent exhibit that highlighted red silhouettes of women that have loss their lives to domestic violence. A bell continued to ring during the exhibit to represent every time a person was sexually assaulted.
“It went off multiple times while I was in there,I think having the silence and having that direct connection to the person helps you see them as real people and not just a statistic,” said Sanyu Lukwag, EMU student. She felt the silent exhibit was impactful, and worked well as an art piece.
The Women’s Resource Center is a component of EMU’s Diversity and Community Involvement (DCI).
“Students have said how powerful the exhibit was, and how they were moved by it,” said Jennie Rokak, Graduate Assistant, Women’s Resource Center. “We have still have events coming up so we have a lot of students interested in spreading the knowledge and spreading the awareness as well,” she said.