Tracy Scott, a junior at the University of Toledo, takes in the messages from victims of domestic violence written on T-shirts that hang from a clothesline. The display, located on UT's campus, is one event during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the last several months, Lucas County has experienced nine cases of domestic-violence related murder-suicides, officials say.
Tracy Scott walked slowly through the Clothesline Project at the University of Toledo yesterday, stopping at each T-shirt and taking in feelings of rage that were written by women she's never met.
Then she stepped a few feet farther and saw something even more unexpected: A red, life-sized wooden silhouette that was created in memory of her friend and co-worker, Susan Cox, 43, who was killed by her estranged husband in June.
Ms. Scott wiped away tears after viewing the figure and memory plaque for Ms. Cox, who along with another co-worker, Shantel Hendrix, 27, was shot by Archie Cox.
Ms. Scott was working at the time at Barney's Convenience Mart in North Toledo when the two women were killed - and then Mr. Cox turned the gun on himself.
"I'm not really ready for it, but it's good for people to see," said Ms. Scott, 33, a junior at UT who's studying social work.
Ms. Scott viewed the two separate exhibits during the midst of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to which university leaders are bringing attention with a series of recent and ongoing activities.
The Clothesline Project contains personal tributes on T-shirts from women and their family members who attend or work at UT. They focus on such incidents as murder, rape, incest, child sexual abuse, and hate crimes.
The silhouettes were part of the Silent Witness project, which brings attention to those murdered in acts of domestic violence. Yesterday's display had 17 memorials, including one for Shynerra Grant, 17, a Start High School graduate who was killed two days after Ms. Cox, also in a murder-suicide that involved Miss Grant's former boyfriend.
Yesterday, many people who knew Miss Grant and are now new UT students also stopped by the exhibit, organizers said.
The event this month at UT is especially important in light of a rash of domestic-related murder-suicides in Lucas County, which totaled nine in recent months.
The incidents triggered a town hall meeting on domestic violence last week in downtown Toledo. Several hundred people attended and many survivors spoke.
On campus, UT police Officer Tressa Baskin has been offering a new program this fall semester to students on Sunday nights.
Called "Healthy Boundaries," it focuses on recognizing healthy relationships and is ultimately aimed at preventing possible acts of violence and abuse.
Diane Docis, coordinator of the UT Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program, said educational programs and exhibits are having an impact. She added that it helps people to see the expressions from survivors so they know they can come forward too.
"I think there's a growing awareness of this being an issue on college campuses," Ms. Docis said.
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