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How to Help Survivors of Sexual Violence through Knitting

With Threads of Compassion leading the way, you can help promote healing and comfort for survivors of sexual violence by knitting or crocheting scarves. 

Sexual violence is a heartbreaking phenomenon that frequently leaves its victims feeling alone, ashamed, even unloved.

The statistics are staggering. Over 200,000 Americans experience sexual violence every year. And according to the Justice Department, 60 percent of all sexual assaults are never reported.

Since 2005, Threads of Compassion has provided support and comfort to survivors of sexual violence through handmade scarves.

The purpose of Threads of Compassion is to convey to sexual violence survivors that they aren’t alone. The home page of their original website states their mission beautifully.

The gift of a scarf not only shows the knitter’s/crocheter’s concern for the victim, but also expresses their sorrow for what has happened. Each scarf is made by someone who wishes to provide a small amount of comfort against the pain being faced, and by doing so, lets the victim know they are not alone.

The scarves are tangible objects that can be held, wrapped around the neck or shoulders, with the deeper meaning known only by the wearer. As each victim touches the threads of the scarves they receive, they are connecting with someone who cares about what has happened to them.”

How You Can Help

Threads of Compassion is now under the umbrella of STARS [Sexual Trauma Awareness and Recovery Services], a service provided by the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago.

The easiest way to help with its mission is to make a scarf. You can use virtually any pattern you wish. The only requirements: each scarf should be at least 5 inches wide and about 65 inches long.

Soft scarves offer tangible comfort to survivors. Therefore, knitters and crocheters should use the softest possible yarn.

Threads of Compassion originated in Chicago, Illinois. Several local chapters exist around the United States; most of these are based on Facebook. Conduct a search for “Threads of Compassion” and look in Groups and Pages.

If you don’t see your area represented, you may want to consider starting a chapter. Why not start it yourself or get a group of friends together? A terrific guide to starting your own chapter can be found on this page of the original ToC website.

Survivors receive scarves in hospitals and rape crisis centers all over the country. For many, this may be the first time they hear — even indirectly — that someone cares.

To learn more about knitting a scarf or starting a chapter, visit the Threads of Compassion web page.

If this cause holds a special place in your heart, please consider how you can contribute.

Eager to knit for charity but unsure where to start?
Click here to sign up for my free email course, Getting Started with Charity Knitting, and subscribe to the free Knitting Nuggets Newsletter.

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