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Raising awareness of Domestic Violence through Shoes

Speaking Out Against Domestic Violence Through Shoes

"These were the shoes I was wearing when...."

"Sometimes smiles are not always happy. Just a mask to hide the hurt" - Kelly

23 May 2018

Members in Scotland have been highlighting the horrific impact of domestic abuse through a powerful shoe exhibition. Hilary Moran represents Mothers’ Union in Scotland on the Inter-Faith Anti Trafficking Group produced a display called, “The Souls of our Shoes – A journey into and out of Domestic Abuse.”

“Its primary purpose is to raise awareness of domestic violence. We do this a number of ways through talks, workshops, conferences and the shoe exhibition,” said Hilary. “Our recent ventures have been into secondary schools and I have taken it into prisons. They asked for workshops for the prisoners and prisoners,” she continued.

The exhibition was shown at Mother’s Union’s General Meeting in Edinburgh in September 2017 and is now being used throughout the UK and Ireland by other members. 

Comments from prisoners and staff at Her Majesty’s Greenock Prison and Shotts Prison

“I think domestic violence is sick. No excuse, physically and psychologically and a guy that does this is a wimp and does this to make them a victim of them. Out of order!” – Olly

“Today it was thought-provoking. Made me think about what’s going on in the world and how sick people is. It’s crazy to think how people hurt people like this” – Joel

During the school visit, teachers accompanied pupils from all year groups. Various support agency leaflets were available and pupils were invited to write observations, comments and questions on a “talking wall”. Staff were on hand to chat with pupils who may have been adversely affected by the exhibition. Many viewed the exhibition a second and even third time, returning in the break and during their lunch break.

Here’s what some of the pupils and teachers said:

I’m not ashamed to say I was in an abusive relationship. I divorced him! – Miss Bream, Happy Now (Teacher)

“My father was domestically abused by my step mother. It broke his spirit and I would never want anyone to ever go through it. – Matthew

“It’s bad that they are supposed to be soulmates and they are getting hit. I feel terrible.” Student