Domestic violence is suddenly on the news, and former NFLer Ray Rice is responsible for that. But DV is present every day in the lives of our communities, whether visible or not. The circles widen from one push, one punch, endless denigration, into the community.
DV used to be surrounded by silence, but no more. The big question has been, “Why do they stay?” There is a new program that hopes to broaden and deepen that conversation, using the words of survivors and the people who love and support them. Our Story Project, an adjunct to Family Shelter Service, a domestic violence organization in Chicago’s western suburbs, has been gathering those words through writing workshops that are healing for the writers, and illuminating for the community at large.
Now those words are collected in the book, Hope Grows Here: Stories of Resilience, which offers accounts and stories from survivors, complemented by art from another program of the agency. Our next one will contain work from the larger community and that might mean you. We are looking for voices from the Chicago area and across the country.
Our Story Project is sponsoring a Writing Contest, with cash prizes, an open invitation for anyone to submit, and even a well-known judge, Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife. Visit www.ourstoryproject.org, for details. Just click on Writing Contest.
If you are a police officer, a nurse, a teacher, a neighbor, a parent or child, a friend, a coworker, a survivor, you have your own story to tell. I invite you to share yours in the form of stories, essays, or poems. If that is not for you, then why not take a look at the site and read some of what is already there. We’re listening.
Note: Information on the books and the project, including a guided journal My Journal, My Voice, developed for the project but not limited to DV issues, is available on the site.
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