Friday, October 23, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: "Speaking Without Tongues", Durham, NC 10.20.2009


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Shortly after I read artist Michelle Major's post on for Monday, I saw an article in the local weekly free paper about a group I'd never heard of called . One thing, as it so often does, leading to another I found myself heading west to Durham on Tuesday evening to the artists reception for an exhibit called "Speaking Without Tongues". While Hidden Voices supports all marginalized communities and not only survivors of domestic violence, this event was dedicated to DV survivors who chose to tell their stories through their art. Some are painters, some photographers, some are musicians, some poets. All of them have a story to tell. And while I don't know their individual circumstances, I know their stories only too well.

"Hidden Voices"
Durham, NC - October 2009 (Click to embiggen)

These are the same stories I read twice a week on Violence UnSilenced, and for all their differences, they are disturbingly formulaic. The names change. The zip codes and income levels change. The ethnicity and religious backgrounds vary widely. The stories, however, do not.

Domestic violence is the great equalizer. If you take away references to neighborhoods and schools you can't tell if the person telling the tale is an affluent white woman with a Masters Degree who has been married 43 years or a 23-year-old single mother with a GED pouring coffee for the truckers on the Interstate. It is a problem that recognizes no class divisions, that respects no boundaries. And perhaps you think you're not affected by it because you're not in the 25% of women or 7% of men who have been, are now or will be in an abusive relationship. I say you're mistaken. You may not be taking a punch in the face, but I guarantee you that someone you know is.

"Hidden Voices"
Durham, NC - October 2009 (Click to embiggen)

As luck would have it, I will have another opportunity to see these courageous artists in a different kind of performance. And if you live near or will be in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro, so will you. There will be another, different kind of performance on Tuesday October 27 at The Reynolds Theater in the Bryan University Center at Duke. And so that you (and I) don't have to endure the same confusion over directions and parking, I've included a handy quick reference map below with a link to Google Maps. It should take you right to the door. Parking for the Bryan Center is in the large deck adjacent to it on Science Drive and cost $5 for the reception and I'd expect the same for the next event.

If you're looking for other ways to help, read this article: Carrie's answer to that question has a list of great suggestions, but I'd like to add a couple of things for anyone who has a blog, a website, an account on FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter or some other social network. And it won't cost you a nickel to do any of them.

  • Publish a link to VU on your page/blog: http://violenceunsilenced.com/
  • Link to, or better yet, embed the promotional YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wnxaSs4wZY
  • Visit and comment on as many of the survivor stories on VU as possible (new stories are published weekly on Monday and Thursday). Give those courageous enough to speak out the validation and support they deserve. Because for every story that's published, there are hundreds that are still ongoing. And someone somewhere is reading her (or his) life story in the words of another.
And if you need any assistance figuring out how to do any of these, feel free to contact me. (My function with VU is mainly tech support, so if you contact Maggie with a tech question she's gonna send you to me anyway.)

Refuse to Not See.


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1 comment:

Mama Zen said...

Marvelous, marvelous post, Mojo!