Displays encourage folks to speak up and combat domestic violence

University Park, Centre County, Pa. - At the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Penn State's campus, you'll find t-shirts pinned together, sleeve to sleeve, symbolizing people who share something no one should have in common.

 Jennifer Pencek, Programming Coordinator of Penn State Gender Equity Center, explains the significance of the Clothesline Project, a national campaign raising awareness for domestic violence.

"I think far too often, people imagine domestic violence as being something that maybe isn't as prevalent as it really is," Pencek said.

Each design was created by a survivor or a loved one of a victim of domestic violence.

Each color represents the type of abuse they endured.

Pencek said the display is a powerful way to share some of the toughest stories.

"This is coming from these people's hearts, so I think being able to see the reality of domestic violence is really powerful," Pencek said.

Beneath the apparel are 13 empty place settings for victims of domestic abuse from 1998 to 2015 in Centre County, along with descriptions of the situations they were in.

Mary Ohashi, Prevention Educator for Centre County Women's Resource Center, said they're real stories with real consequences.

"For six of these cases, these perpetrators spent a lifetime in jail," Ohashi said.

Currently, a man from Bellefonte, Charles McGhee, is facing murder charges in connection the death of his wife, Courtney.

While his fate remains in the hands of the court system, Courtney's death opened up another conversation about abuse in our region.

But Ohashi said it's important to remember the other lives lost.

"Each place is a person, someone we lost. someone who's life was forever taken," Ohashi said.

And the responsibility we all have to speak up and help those who may have lost their voice.

"It's a community issue. For us to change domestic violence we need to raise awareness of it happening in our community," Ohashi said.

Both the Centre County Women's Center and the Gender Equity Center at Penn State offer confidential resources.

For more information on CCWC, click here.

For more information the Gender Equity Center, click here.


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