Saturday, September 24, 2005
Here are two wonderful responses I received this month. Thanks to Naomi and Sarah for sending this info!
Threads of Compassion
by Sarah Sullivan
Threads of Compassion is a loosely connected group of survivors of sexual violence who desire to offer comfort and support to recent victims. The idea is simple. Any survivor of sexual assault or abuse is welcome to knit or crochet a scarf which in turn will be given to an assault or abuse victim when they enter the hospital for emergency treatment.
Having been through similar experiences ourselves, our hope is to offer support at a time when a person is feeling most forsaken, fearful, and vulnerable and in a simple way let them know they are not alone. The scarves are tangible objects that can be held, wrapped around the neck or shoulders, with the deeper meaning known only by the wearer.
The scarves represent a couple of things. One, that the victim is not alone. The second is hope. The knowledge that other people have been able to move forward after facing similar situations, can in turn give the victims hope that they also will find the strength to move on.
The added beauty of the scarves is that the gift is actually two-fold. Through making the scarves, survivors are provided an opportunity of helping other victims (in a very non-threatening way). Those who knit the scarves never come in contact with the specific person who receives their scarf. That is all handled through the local rape crisis center. Most hospitals now contact victim advocates when sexual violence victims come into the ER, and it is through this staff that the scarves will be presented to the victims. Each scarf will have a small card attached to it that explains the idea behind Threads of Compassion and information on how to contact their local crisis center if they need further help or support.
The site information on where to send scarves, links to knitting lessons and free patterns for many beautiful scarves, and to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) -- the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization.
Knitted Condom Amulets
by Naomi Dagan Bloom
Naomi designed these fun condom amulets to promote AIDS awareness among senior citizens. In New York City, where Naomi lives, approximately 27 percent of residents over 50 years old are infected with HIV. Many don't even know they have the virus.
In 1995, Jane Fowler, a 69 year-old grandmother founded HIV Wisdom for Older Women after learning that she had been infected with HIV. Fowler was a widow, and had never had sex with anyone except for her husband until after his death when, she told Dennis Duggan of New York Newsday, "I began dating a man I had known most of my life. I wasn't sexually promiscuous. I thought I knew him really well and I felt safe with him."
Unforunately, Fowler wasn't as safe as she'd thought. Duggan wrote, "Older people who feel they are inoculated against a sexually transmitted disease simply because of their age are walking through a minefield. Worse, even doctors who are capable of telling their patients the most dreadful things shrink from talking to older people about sex."
To contact Naomi and learn more about her Condom Amulets for awareness, visit her web site: City Worm.