We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” but recently survivors of domestic violence have seen that saying come to life through a program called Photovoice. Seven local residents have been able to find their voices through the participatory photography program called PhotoVoice, “PhotoVoice’s mission is to build skills within disadvantaged and marginalized communities using innovative participatory photography and digital storytelling methods so that they have the opportunity to represent themselves and create tools for advocacy and communications to achieve positive social change.”
PhotoVoice was facilitated by students from UNC’s School of Public Health to aid domestic violence victims in processing their experiences with abuse in a safe place. Participants included both primary and secondary survivors. Secondary survivors of domestic violence include friends and family members of the domestic violence victim who may have undergone their own trauma as a result of their loved one’s experience.
PhotoVoice provided survivors with a non traditional method of coping and healing from their domestic violence experiences. Pictures can be a way to express emotions that are hard to put into words. Having survivors take their own pictures increases personal empowerment. When asked what was most meaningful about this project one woman responded, “Using art to express and dissect our emotions and experiences.”
PhotoVoice had very positive feedback from their participants. One survivor stated PhotoVoice made her realize that, “I have come a long way in my own path towards healing.” This project, perhaps unexpectedly, helped participants realize how far they have come in their own healing.
For more information on PhotoVoice and our other support groups call our hotline at 919-929-7122.