Who are you?
Threads of Compassion is just the name of a group of people who want to offer some comfort and support (in a small way) to those who have been sexually assaulted or abused. The majority of scarves we receive are made by people who have experienced sexual violence in their own lives, and know all too well the pain that victims face.
Others are made by friends and family members of assault survivors, or by people who want to do something to stand up against the sexual violence they see in the world around them. In addition to offering some comfort and hope to those who have survived this violence, we also wish to start breaking through the silence and shame that surrounds rape and sexual abuse and to let people know they don’t have to suffer alone.
The main reason we have chosen scarves is because they are very simple to make, which allows more people to be able to get involved and contribute. One aspect of Threads of Compassion that we never planned on, but yet has proven to be huge, is the effect simply making scarves has on survivors of sexual violence. So many have written thanking us for giving them the opportunity to reach out and offer support to other victims. This helps them in their healing also.
The other reason is scarves can serve as a tangible reminder that the victim is not alone. They can be worn, touched, and held . . . a symbol of support you can wrap yourself in knowing that each stitch was made with concerns and thoughts for you. But it is also a silent and private form of support. To others the scarf is merely an article of clothing. The true meaning is something only the owner knows.
Do I have to wear it?
That is up to you. Some choose to wear the scarf as a way to feel supported during painful times of stress. Others merely keep it in view, such as draped over a chair, to serve as a silent reminder that they are not alone, that there is someone else out there who understands. Still others choose to keep the scarf in a drawer and then pull it out during those times the pain feels too overwhelming and they need something to hold onto. There is not a right or wrong way to use the scarves.
Do you really think a scarf is going to take away the pain I’m feeling?
We wish there was something we could give you that would take all your pain away. The scarves just provide a small amount of support and comfort while you are dealing with your pain. In no way do we mean to imply that a scarf is all you need to feel better. We know all too well the amount of pain victims of sexual assault and abuse face. A victim of sexual violence needs an abundance of support, way more than one scarf can provide.
Organizations such as RAINN can help you get in touch with agencies that can give you the additional support you need. Here in Chicago, C4, Heartland Alliance, YWCA and Rape Victim Advocates are a few organizations. We encourage all sexual violence survivors to reach out to others for help. You don’t have to face this alone.