Charlotte, NC -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/17/2014 -- The crime of domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women. Less than 3% seeking community resources due to stigma. What if we could change that stigma by sharing the stories of survivors? Sandra and Odell Guynes, photographers and domestic violence advocates, started the End the Silence Exhibit in 2012. The couple took their passion for photography and used it to create social change around the issue of domestic violence. The exhibit provides women an opportunity to share their stories through portraits to create awareness on the crime of domestic abuse. Sandra and Odell are President and Vice President respectively of Pearls for Creative Healing, a non profit dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence heal through the use of art and art workshops.
"We wanted to create a community conversation around what domestic violence is and is not" says Sandra Guynes. "As a survivor I needed the community to understand I wasn't poor, uneducated or weak. I was in love with a man who became a different person, it takes time to find a way out of that."
Now in it's 3rd year the End the Silence Photography exhibit provides a glimpse inside the lives of domestic violence survivors and depicts the stories of the women who have made it out. Sandra, a survivor of domestic violence herself, wanted to provide women an opportunity to share their stories in hopes of empowering and encouraging others who are still in abusive relationships or hiding in silence.
"Participating in the exhibit allowed me a way to take off the mask finally," says Diane. A woman who after leaving her abuser went to a shelter. During her stay at the shelter her abuser found her and tried to break in through the window. Submissions for this year's exhibit are being accepted March 15th, 2014 and will end May 31st, 2014. Survivors can submit their stories for review from a selection panel in June 2014.
This year the Guynes' team will open the opportunity to eight local photographers. Providing training and mentorship in photography and storytelling technique as necessary to bring to life the images for the 3rd Annual End the Silence Exhibit which will take place October 18th, 2014 at 6:30pm at the McColl Center for the Arts.