Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual assault and domestic violence and may be disturbing for some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and survivors and allies across the country have been supporting and standing in solidarity with one another against this pervasive and deeply personal issue. To promote healing and growth, the Women’s Center at NC State is creating the Colors of Healing coloring book, featuring designs from students that represent strength and empowerment that will be released in November.
According to Carlyn Wright-Eakes, interpersonal violence prevention education coordinator for the Women’s Center, the Women’s Center regularly distributes similar coloring books, but this project is the first original, collaborative effort to create one of its own with contributions from students. Wright-Eakes hopes that the project will be beneficial for survivors.
“We have lots of coloring books that we’ll often give out or use with students that have experienced interpersonal violence, but we’ve never done one where we’re creating our own,” Wright-Eakes said. “We’re excited to see what comes from it.”
The deadline for submissions has been extended to Oct. 31, in the hope that more students share their drawings and words of affirmation, Wright-Eakes said.
“It is an opportunity for...anybody who has been impacted in some way by any form of interpersonal violence to create their own design,” Wright-Eakes said. “We will combine [the submitted designs] all together and create a PDF that will be available for the survivor community to download and use as a grounding and healing exercise.”
The book’s full title is “The Colors of Healing: Designs for Survivors by Survivors.” Juniper Nie, a fourth-year studying communication media who serves as the vice president of The Movement, a division of the Women’s Center, said the project is a meaningful way to uplift the voices of those who identify as survivors.
“It’s a way of providing a platform and a voice for individuals,” Nie said. “The whole theme is to provide quotes or phrases that help you through hard times, and we thought that would be a good idea, especially during a pandemic.”
While the initial release of the book will be in a digital format that can be printed by individuals, the Women’s Center also hopes to distribute printed copies, Wright-Eakes said. Nie echoed this idea, adding that being able to hold something physically can be more comforting now, considering the digital age we live in.
“There’s various affirmations and phrases that could assist with your daily self to just keep going, keep fighting, especially as we’re in a pandemic,” Nie said. “Being stuck in front of screens all the time, it does help a little to see little aspects of the Women’s Center, or even encouragement from other peers on a piece of paper or book or something tangible.”
Ongoing quarantine conditions have exacerbated many of the issues survivors of interpersonal violence face, as outlined in an article from NC State’s Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity in April. These individuals may be facing volatile or triggering home environments, as well as decreased access to in-person resources. To combat this, the Women’s Center has been hosting many virtual events on its Instagram Live.
Previous events this month have included the Silent Witness Exhibit, honoring lives lost to interpersonal violence, and an “Interpersonal Violence in the Southeast Asian Community” workshop. On Halloween, the center plans to hold its annual “Candy, Condoms and Consent” event, which promotes information about what consent means as well as rape prevention, to a livestream on both the Women’s Center and The Movement’s Instagrams, Nie said. They also host a weekly virtual counseling session every Monday.
In light of the extended submission deadline, the Women’s Center plans to release “The Colors of Healing: Designs for Survivors by Survivors” in November of this year. They hope the simple concept will bring a meaningful amount of change and healing for students, Nie said.