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Scarves stir awareness on sexual violence

by Deidre Jacobson

Corazon Scarves and Guatemalan weavers are partnering with Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW), weaving scarves to raise awareness and funds during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

Corozon Weavers
Corazon weavers make scarves for Sexual Assault
Awareness Month in April.

Part of the month’s focus on awareness about sexual violence is to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it. 

The Inland Northwest branch of Lutheran Community Services provides a spectrum of programs including therapeutic response for victims of sexual assault and trauma, sexual assault advocacy, prevention and education.

Corazon Scarves empowers Guatemalan women to live free of violence and oppression by providing a market for their products, said Debbie DuPey, its director.

Two women with the Guatemalan Cooperative, Corazon de Mujer, which means “heart of women,” began designing scarves after Debbie returned from a November-to-January visit in Spokane.

 Teal is the color for sexual awareness month but the weavers could find no teal-colored thread in Guatemala.

“The women did not let that deter them,” said Debbie.  “They quickly started pulling different thread colors out to see how they could create the right shade.” 

Within 15 minutes, they had the shade by combining green and blue threads.  They began creating scarf options.  The awareness ribbon was a new experience for them.  They have a strong embroidering tradition but it focuses on creating representations about their life and surroundings in Guatemala—volcanoes, rivers, animals and foods.

Each scarf takes nearly eight hours to weave. 

Debbie hopes to involve more sexual assault programs in the future, giving a donation from sales to their services.  She plans to develop another scarf design for domestic violence awareness month in October and another for breast cancer awareness month, also in October. 

People who purchase scarves on the website can enter the promotion code, LSCApril, when they check out and $5 of their purchase will be donated to sexual-assault programs.

Debbie plans to travel from her part-time home in Guatemala to Spokane in May to promote the scarves and will be available to speak to groups about the fair-trade program that provides a livable wage for women selling their traditional products. 

“There are many benefits for the weavers,” she said.  “The provision of a living wage empowers women in so many ways.”

They are not forced to work in unsafe environments.  Their children can have enough food and school supplies.

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