Strings of Strength is a project to provide comfort items to survivors who share their stories with the Break The Silence Sunday team. More than 800 stories have been shared since BTSS began in 2015, and we wanted to find a way to tangibly honor those stories, to help survivors remember that they are believed, that they are strong, and that they are not alone. By creating shawls, scarves, and other items we hope to be able to provide those who share their story with something soft that will remind them of our common strength as survivors of sexual violence.
Here’s how it works…
- You (and maybe your group) create items of support (see suggested list of items below).
- You record the initials of the creator, and the fiber content on each item.
- You post them to BTSS (see below)
- We add a nifty little tag with your initials, fiber and care information, and a phrase of love and support (currently it will have the BTSS logo and say something like “your story is heard, believed, and held in love and grace”)
- We distribute them to survivors who share their stories at events like church conference meetings and the U.C.C.’s General Synod 2021 in Kansas City, MO.
- You enjoy the connection you’ve made to a survivor who now feels less alone in the world.
- You create more objects and we repeat this process until rape and sexual violence are no more.
Suggested items include…
- shawls – something like 24″ x 60″, give or take
- scarves – well, you know, a scarf is sometimes skinny, sometimes not; sometimes long, sometimes not; variety is key here, but scarves are clearly skinnier than shawls in width
- wubbies – my William had one of these when he was little, they’re about 12″ square (big washcloth?) and get carried around in backpacks and purses and such so when you need to know it’s there, you just reach in and pet it; the person who gave us William’s called it a wubbie and so here we are
- mini-wubbies – these would be coaster size, think about 3 or 4″ square, just enough to tuck in your pocket
- bookmarks – something skinny, maybe 1″ wide x 4 or 5″ long
- something else you dream up that would be a way for survivors to know they are believed, loved, and not alone
How do we create them?
- Something that involves thread/string that we haven’t thought of
- However it is you create, create with intention, sewing or knitting or stitching in love and care for survivors
Things to consider…
- Soft – the items should be soft, a comfort, like a good and healthy hug, a sensory plus for a survivor
- Or perhaps not quite so soft – someone is making cross-stitch hearts that will go in small metal boxes (think Altoids size boxes) that could be easily carried around, they won’t be soft and squishy, but rather strong and sturdy
- Colors – purple and teal are the colors for sexual assault awareness, but don’t let that limit you because we know about the diversity of people in the world and how their tastes and preferences for color vary so send us your browns, yellows, greens, blues, reds, oranges, grey, and everything you’ve got as we’re sure we will find a survivor who will fall in love with what you create; also think about pastels, and brights, and neons, and primaries, and the whole variety of colors and tones that exist in the world
- Diversity – survivors come in all kinds; men, women, and non-binary; first disclosing their experience after 70+ years and a young adult just beginning college and everything in between; of every ethnicity, and orientation, and physical abilities – our comfort items need to reflect that so go ahead and make that thing your brother loved, or the pic line cover your sister-in-law’s grandfather had when he was receiving chemo, or the needle felted heart your daughter wore under her uniform while serving in the Army, or … well, you get the idea because comfort comes in as many different ways are there are different survivors
- Care – if you’re making a wearable type object please make sure to let us know about care/washing instructions so the survivor can look after your creation
But wait, I’m not very good at knitting, crochet, or any of that…
Ah yes, we thought we’d get to that. You don’t think you have any skills or talents to lend to this enterprise, BUT you’re wrong. We don’t need masterworks here. We aren’t trying to win any competitions or blue ribbons. We’re trying to support survivors. We’ve already received two lovely woobies in the mail and on the envelope it said “crocheted with love (not necessarily skillfully crocheted)”, and they are absolutely beautiful and will make some survivor feel the love and solidarity of the universe. We need you and what you have to offer. So, no excuses. In knitting words … drop those stitches, pick them up backwards, and craft on.
OK, but really, I can’t craft…
Alright, we won’t push, but if you’d still like to help we would gladly accept donations for additional yarn, materials, packaging, storage, tags, and so on. We have PayPal and Venmo at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attach information to each item with
- the crafter’s initials (or your group’s name) AND
- the fiber content (for example, 100% acrylic or 70% mohair/30% acrylic, and so on) AND
- the care/washing instructions for wearable items
- Please include a contact name, return address and/or email so we can send you a thank you note for your contribution
- Mail items via whatever service you like to:
Break The Silence Sunday (BTSS)
c/o Moira Finley
130 E Green Bay St
PO Box 691
Bonduel, WI 54107
Questions that aren’t answered here?
Email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you!