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With partnership, SWCC raises awareness of domestic violence

By Erin Trester, Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — To continue raising awareness through Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Southwest Crisis Center is partnering with the Clothesline Project, which has aided women against domestic violence for 20 years.

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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Monday and continuing through Nov. 1, the crisis center’s T-shirt display will be on the lawn of the Nobles County Government Center.

The Clothesline Project is a way for those who have experienced any form of domestic violence to express how that violence has affected them by using a T-shirt as a canvas. The shirts were created by women who have experienced or known someone affected by domestic violence; each colored shirt represents the form of violence someone has endured.

The Clothesline Project hosted T-shirt creation sessions in advance of the display for the women who chose to work with a group. The project, however, is completely anonymous, and T-shirts may also be made at home.

The project is free to all who participated. T-shirts and other supplies were funded by the Nobles Cooperative Electric Operation Round Up program.

“It’s always amazing the impact the shirts have to the people viewing,” said Sara Wahl, Director of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services at Southwest Crisis Center. “Everyone has their own personal reactions, and this really gives a voice to survivors.”

In recognition of the display, there will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Minnesota West commons. Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh and Anna Gronewold — the widow of Chester Gronewold and mother of Ashley Sullivan, who were both murdered at the hands of her daughter’s ex-boyfriend in 2010 —will be speaking.

Anna Gronewold is expected to share her personal experience with domestic violence and the effects it has in the hopes of encouraging and supporting women affected by it. Oberloh will offer a call to action and speak on the need to spread awareness about the effects of domestic violence, and also highlight the importance of the Southwest Crisis Center and projects like the Clothesline Project.

“Our goal is to raise awareness and to remind people that even though this is a small community, domestic violence is still an issue and we are not immune to it,” said Kari Voss-Drost, Coordinator of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services at the Southwest Crisis Center.

Along with the guest speakers, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women has compiled a list of women who have died from domestic violence so far this year, and the reception will conclude with a remembrance of all of the victims.

For more information, contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 376-4311 or visit