Shirts are hung up in October outside of the YWCA and represent the thoughts and feelings of domestic violence victims. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Shirts are hung up in October outside of the YWCA and represent the thoughts and feelings of domestic violence victims. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – For several years now, victims of domestic violence in the surrounding area have, on a voluntary basis, expressed their emotions and thoughts on T-shirts and hung them on a clothesline in front the local YWCA. Organization officials said that the project is completely done on a voluntary basis and many of those who express their emotions are doing so with the hope that it might help others in the area going through similar experiences.

One individual separated life between “shattered,” and “complete.”

On the “shattered” side were such words as, “shame,” “ugly,” “weak” and “hate.” On the “complete” side were the words, “loved” and “strong.”

Another individual wrote such phrases as “unloved,” “not happy,” “always looking over shoulder everywhere,” “school of hate,” “feeling alone,” “abuse is not love,” “abuse is control,” “domestic violence,” “always look for advice or help” and “she was brave and strong.”

Another shirt majored on the theme, “looking for the light at the end of the tunnel,” with peace, starting over, support, survivor, self-help and real love.

Over the years, the project has been there, especially during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to allow those who have experienced the stress of domestic violence to share their feelings on a voluntary basis. For many it has become a healing experience.

YWCA officials said that the shirts are not only limited to those who are residents of the YWCA. They are there for domestic violence victims anywhere who would like to participate on the domestic violence clothesline.

Other leaders such as Chelli Gamble have noted that the project is designed to allow them to share what domestic violence looks like to them.

“It’s designed to allow them to share what domestic violence looks like to them,” said Gamble. “It’s their way of giving us a glimpse inside of their hurt. It is a picture of domestic violence through their eyes.”

One shirt pointed out that being freed from domestic violence is coming to a place of living, loving and caring.

Another one states that the God of light empowers victims with power to survive and live. It was noted that with His help, victims can go from hopeless, hurt and broken to loving themselves, accepting themselves and becoming strong survivors.

“You created my prison but now I am free,” states another shirt.

Domestic violence awareness activities will continue through October into November, said Gamble.