Heart & Soul 2017

On 21 May, members from the Interfaith Group on Domestic Abuse set up a stall at the Church of Scotland annual festival, Heart & Soul. The festival had a feature article in the Church’s magazine and below is the portion featuring the author’s experience and reflection of the IfGoDA tent:

‘My first port of call was to the Interfaith Group on Domestic Abuse tent with their display of shoes and the stories attached to them, at the foot (see what I did there) of the avenue. Janette Henderson was manning the tent from The United Church of Bute. This year many more stories were represented by pairs of shoes because although there were a fair few pairs on show, many more were in photographs around the walls of the tent.
“We used to have to carry lots and lots of pairs of shoes,” Janette explained. “But then someone had the genius idea of photographing them all with their stories, and now we can show many more of them at times like this. Of course the full exhibition is available – along with the shoes – to church groups or any other organisations that would like to have it. It’s very sobering and thought-provoking.”
It’s one of the displays that always touches me. I have a fair few pairs of shoes myself (ok, I have LOTS of pairs of shoes, much to Mr M’s despair…) and so I guess I look at these shoes with something of a connoisseur’s eye. I can see the hopes and dreams wound up in these shoes, some worn and battered, some pretty and flimsy, some wildly impractical. It’s an exhibition that always saddens me and yet, the fact that they’re there, on show, displaying the fact that their owner “escaped” is full of a cautious optimism for the future.’ – Jackie Macadam


Below are some comments from those who visited the IfGoDA tent:

‘Thank you for being here and for being the first tent I came to. Sadly, I am suffering abuse. I am moved by this display, especially by the shoes that are ‘anonymous’. Some of the comments speak volumes. It is hard to tell others. Some people in Church can be abusive too, women as well as men. Controlling partners who try to kill you are to be feared. It paralyses children too’. They can be manipulated by a controlling father, and that might include keeping them from being with their mum (as in my case) because their dad has all the money. I have been a supportive wife and mum but not allowed to have a ‘paying job’. So now, I am alone and missing my children and my husband tells everyone it is my fault. He tried to kill me when he was drunk one night, shortly after my parents died.’

‘Lip salve with a bar code – the numbers on the code are a helpline.’
(This comment refers to the cards the group handed out with helpline numbers printed on the back, making it unsafe for anyone, who is found to have the card on them, by their abuser.)

‘Shoes – Very powerful and moving, you can relate to all of them. Makes me realise how lucky I am.’

‘I found this exhibition so moving. It was really thought provoking and opened the lives that so many people, either by circumstance or by force, must try and live. I feel so blessed and realise I don’t thank God for his gifts. The abuse of women as demonstrated here is so unbelievable.’ – Josephine McGrath

‘May we all have peace. Thank you for speaking out and protecting the innocent. God bless you!’

Posted in Uncategorized.