The New Britain chapter of Threads of Compassion provides an opportunity for those wanting to take a stand against sexual assault by offering comfort and support to recent victims/survivors. The idea is simple: anyone whose life has been affected by sexual assault or abuse is welcome to knit or crochet a scarf, which in turn will be given to a victim/survivor of sexual violence 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 forsaken, fearful, and extremely vulnerable, and in a simple way let them know they are not alone. There is an aura of silence surrounding sexual assault. Many victims/survivors choose to keep their assault a secret from their family and friends. Others may have no one to tell, or choose to talk about it and are blamed and called names by their loved ones, causing them to once again be silent about their experiences. Still others may have confided in those who wish to be supportive, but are lost in how to respond and nothing. Their fear of adding more pain by saying or doing the wrong thing results in more silence.
This silence is heartbreaking to the victims/survivors – a silence that offers no validation to the pain they are going through and that adds to their feeling of isolation. Although there is no universal response to sexual violence, this silence often produces shame. The mission of Threads of Compassion is to break through this silence by acknowledging the pain and letting people know they don’t have to suffer alone. The gift of a scarf not only shows the maker’s concern for the victim/survivor, but also expresses their sorrow for what has happened. Each scarf is made by someone who wishes to provide a small amount of comfort against the pain being faced, and by doing so let the victim/survivor 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. As each victim/survivor touches the threads of the scarves they receive, they are connecting with someone who cares about what has happened to them. A meaningful message given through a few threads of yarn.
Threads of Compassion New Britain offers an opportunity for victims/survivors to help other victims/survivor in a very non-threatening way. The scarves are donated to the Sexual Assault Crisis Service of the YWCA New Britain (SACS) where counselor advocates will bring them to the hospital when meeting victims/survivors seeking emergency medical treatment. Everyone remains anonymous and those who knit the scarves never meet the specific people who receive their scarves. Attached to each scarf will be a card with information about Threads of Compassion as well as other resources if they need further help or support.
About Threads of Compassion New Britain
The original Threads of Compassion was started in Chicago, and you can read more about it here. Liz is a longtime knitter and crocheter as well as a certified Sexual Assault Counselor Advocate. Liz has been a part of SACS since 2010 and is currently the Volunteer Coordinator.