Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Clothesline Project

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last week our class participated in The Clothesline Project alongside the Red Flag Campaign. Part of our responsibility in our Family Violence course was to be in the Clothesline Project room. It was so encouraging to see how many people came by to show support. I was in the room for two hours on Tuesday, October 19th. While I was in the room, at least 8 people came in to make T-Shirts with supportive messages to those who have survived all forms and types of domestic violence. We were also required to hand out some form of information to students. I placed 5 brochures in the Clothesline Project room and placed 10 other around campus. It is my hope that students actually took them, and they can help at least one person be more aware of this all too common issue that faces our society. Our school has been featured on The Clothesline Project’s webpage. I have included the link in the title above :)

On October 21, 2015 we had a guest speaker, Ms. Kate Loring. She spoke to our class about her daughter, Claire, who was the victim of a murder-suicide. As she told the story of the last months of her beloved child’s life, it was scary how easily I was able to pinpoint the red flags in the relationship Claire had with her murderer. It was also disturbing how many points of intervention there were. The abuser frequently talked of suicide, using it as a point of manipulation. Evidently he wasn’t afraid of killing himself but he probably knew Claire couldn’t just let him go while he was making those claims. At the end of her speaking, she asked if we had any questions. I felt so guilty becuase all my questions were about the perpetrator. I wanted to know if his family ever reached out to her? (Luckily, another brave student asked this question!) Why didn’t he just end his own life? Why was he so selfish to take her life too? Why did he think he had the right to end her life? Why did nobody take the warning signs seriously? None of these questions will ever be answered. Mainly because there is nobody who can answer them. He’s dead. In our class discussion, we talked about it was “easier” for Claire’s family to deal with her death because he too was dead. They didn’t have to deal with a trial or knowing that he’s breathing and is still able to see his family. I hope to never know the feelings felt by her family and loved ones.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will deal with domestic violence in their lifetime. You are 70x more likely to be killed after you’ve left the relationship. Why aren’t we as a society more outraged by these numbers? Why is this still a “family matter”? This is a “we are all humans that deserve to be treated with love” problem. No one should put their hands on you, let alone someone who “loves you”. We need to change. But, where do we start? I have no idea and it’s beyond frustrating.

Claire will never know how much her story has impacted my life. I never met her, and yet she has taught me so much. I wish she could realize how brave she was to be able to leave her abusive relationship. Some women stay for 20+ years, but she was strong enough to leave. Unfortunately the statistic was correct; she was in more danger because she did leave. I hope she’s looking down on me as I type this, knowing she’s taught me a valuable lesson: be a strong woman that stands up for herself.

Rest In Peace, Claire Cucchiari-Loring (1983–2006)