Project Still Standing Breaks the Silence

The month of April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. April 2018’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.” As part of a mission to build a resilient community free from domestic and sexual violence, Buncombe County’s Family Justice Center, survivors, and the partner organizations of the eNOugh Committee have created Project Still Standing. In this powerful community art installation, survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse have embraced their voices to share stories of hope and strength.

“Our community is coming together to say eNOugh to domestic and sexual violence. The Still Standing Campaign highlights the strength and resilience of survivors, encouraging others to come forward and find the safety and support they deserve,” said Julie Klipp Nicholson, Family Justice Center Coordinator. Buncombe County is fortunate to have the Family Justice Center, a beacon of hope and a one-stop facility where those in abusive relationships can talk with crisis consultants, lawyers, housing coordinators, and more. From July 2016-July 2017, more than 400 people used the life-changing resources at the Family Justice Center, and 2018 has seen a 39 percent uptick in people accessing intake services at the Family Justice Center. From July 2016 – June 2017 there were 24,062 crisis calls made to sexual assault agencies in North Carolina.

To bring awareness to this issue, life-size silhouettes with a portion of a survivor’s story were created and are being displayed in libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, and community centers to help inspire our community to stand up against domestic and sexual violence and give victims the courage they may need to come forward. The silhouettes are as powerful as the stories featured on them. “I think it’s amazing to see these stories out in public,” said Katherine, whose story is featured on a silhouette. “I hope that the takeaway when you see these is that you understand this does happen to everyone and that my story could be their story.”

“Hosting a Still Standing silhouette is a visible way for businesses to show that they care about the safety and well-being of survivors. The silhouettes are powerful conversation starters,” says Klipp Nicholson. You never know when or where someone in an abusive relationship might be looking for help; if you would like to host a silhouette and help raise awareness in your establishment, contact Erin Bee of Helpmate at (828) 778-4714.

You’ll be joining the following community businesses and organizations:

  • All Souls Cathedral.
  • Biltmore Fitness.
  • Catawba Brewing.
  • Family Justice Center.
  • Malaprop’s Bookstore.
  • Mars Hill Campus.
  • Penny Cup Coffee.
  • UNCA.
  • United Way.
  • Warren Wilson.
  • Wedge Brewery.
  • YMCA Downtown.
  • YMCA Ferguson.
  • Zahiya Dance Studio.

To learn more about the Still Standing Project and the survivors who are embracing their voices check out buncombecounty.org/stillstanding

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted call the Family Justice Center at 828-250-6900 to schedule an appointment, walk-ins are also welcome. For 24-hour help call Helpmate at 828-254-0516 or Our Voice at 828-255-7576.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.