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Fearless' annual clothesline project on display in Goshen for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The nonprofit agency Fearless’ helps victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Orange and Sullivan counties.

Blaise Gomez

Oct 11, 2023, 11:19 PM

Updated 251 days ago

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Fearless' annual clothesline project on display in Goshen for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Walk the line in Goshen and you’ll see hundreds of T-shirts with emotional messages from survivors of domestic abuse. One has “I still cry in my pillow” written on it; another reads “You tried to strangle me.”
Altogether, there’s more than 650 shirts this year outside of the Orange County government building for Fearless’ annual Clothesline Project for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It symbolizes a time when victims spoke to other women while hanging clothes to dry.
“What we know unequivocally is that domestic violence is predictable and preventable,” says Fearless! director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier. “This is a behavior that is learned, and therefore it can be unlearned.”
The nonprofit agency helps victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Orange and Sullivan counties. Fearless! held a news conference on Wednesday with local officials and law enforcement about the need for continued changes in the way domestic violence is perceived by society.
“Very few people are offenders, but we as a society have to change the conversation,” says Kostyal-Larrier. “We can send a different message from a very young age and create a paradigm shift in our children.”
Several officials addressed the need to toughen domestic violence laws to ensure perpetrators are held accountable.
“It’s very frustrating to see where we are in the world, and I know we are not going to change those things overnight,” says Sen. Rob Rolison. “What we can do locally in the protection of others and the support of others is important.”
Earlier this year, Sen. James Skoufis announced a change in state law allowing bail to be set for all domestic violence crimes.
In Orange and Sullivan counties, domestic violence hotline calls are up by 35% in the last five years, according to Fearless!
The agency says 33 women have been killed in domestic violence incidents in both counties since 2013.
Orange County Social Services Commissioner Darcie Miller says 40 – 60% of social service cases involve domestic violence. Miller says because of a partnership with Fearless! and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, county caseworkers undergo domestic violence training. Agency forensic evaluators will complete 25 hours of domestic violence training this year for the first time by Dec. 15.
“All of our supervisors and our staff are being trained in the Safe & Together model. It acknowledges the children at the center of the work that we do, and we want to keep them safe and together with a non-offending parent using all the tools we have available,” Miller says.
Kostyal-Larrier said the agency is in need of private and public funding to continue the work it does in the community.
“We shouldn’t have to, as an advocacy agency, beg for money, have bake sales or bring our own paper clips from home. Every victim and survivor is entitled to advocacy, healing and support services for something that was done to them," says Kostyal-Larrier
Fearless! was presented with a $12,000 check by Rock Hill motorcyclist Eric Egland after he recently returned from a North American motorcycle tour to raise awareness of domestic violence and raise money for victims.
“I really wanted to choose an organization that would affect somebody’s life tomorrow. Fifty dollars can put somebody up in a safe house for a while,” says Egland. "Women have walked up to me and said, 'It happened to me,' and I just can't wrap my head around that."


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