This month, the Junior League of Owensboro continues its mission to strengthen women’s empowerment as we enter the second year of our annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). This week-long campaign harnesses the power of social media to educate people in the local community about the prevalence of sexual violence and the ways in which these traumas strip victims of the freedoms and protections that belong to them.
“In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men are violated by contact sexual violence in their lifetime,” said Stacey Davis, president of the local Junior League chapter. “In Kentucky, those numbers are even more staggering, with 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men being victims. The residual trauma that survivors experience is massive, including limited access to healing programs and discrimination in pursuit of basic needs, among countless other concerns. Our goal in this campaign is to call local attention to this issue.”
To create awareness for the Little Black Dress Initiative, Junior League members will wear the same black dress for five consecutive days, January 25-29, to illustrate the physical and emotional devastation that afflicts survivors of sexual violence. During the campaign, League members will use their personal social media platforms and email to post a picture of their dress each day, along with local information about the issue of sexual violence and a link to the campaign site where supporters can make donations.
In October 2019, the Junior League of Owensboro held its first Little Black Dress Initiative, during which we raised money for OASIS shelter in support of women and children who have suffered from domestic violence. League member Jen Vogel says this of her experience:
I wore my dress all week, including to a public ribbon cutting, and felt very self-conscious. There are women out there who have only one nice outfit for job interviews or maybe not even that. There are women whose only concern is keeping themselves and their families safe, let alone what they have to wear. Participating in LBDI was eye-opening for me. We raised funds for a good cause, and I hope we can repeat last year’s success.
This year we are focusing the campaign on sexual violence against both women and men. All monies raised through this year’s campaign will help fund resources and programs at New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services of Owensboro, our local organization offering counseling to survivors of sexual assault, as well as education and training programs to increase awareness and help prevent sexual assault in our community.