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Protesters Fight Cuts To State Domestic Violence Services Using A Jarring Display Of Childrens' Shoes

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 1, 2015 10:05PM

Domestic Violence Legal Center Facebook

Domestic violence activists rallied outside the Thompson Center Thursday afternoon to protest the state's cuts to domestic violence services. To punctuate the rally they placed empty childrens' shoes on the ground to represent the potential victims of domestic violence who might go without state help this year.

The protestors and speakers, including State Rep. Litesa Wallace, a domestic violence survivor and State Sen. Heather Steans, called on state lawmakers to walk in children's shoes and envision a life without domestic violence services.

The consequences of not funding domestic violence survivors include women and children losing their lives, protesters said at the event. There are 17 counties in Southern Illinois that don't have any domestic violence services due to the budget crisis, according to a post by the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.

The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network asked activists to donate infant and children's shoes for an art installation to be placed at the center of the plaza during the rally to represent children are impacted by domestic violence. After the rally, the organizers said they would hand deliver a box of shoes to Rauner's office in the Thompson Center and mail a shoe to each legislator along with a letter demanding a resolution to the crisis:

"Victims and their children face the dire choice to stay in violent homes or leave and risk homelessness, as Governor Rauner and state officials continue to cut and withhold funds for vital domestic violence services," reps from the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network wrote in a statement regarding the rally. "Ongoing cuts exhaust the reserves of service providers, leaving them with no choice but to close crucial programs. Cuts are a choice, not a necessity. There's no excuse for putting women and children's lives at risk when Springfield can choose revenue instead."

Activists also posted about it on social media to raise awareness:

Domestic violence rally. End DV.

A photo posted by Yolanda Estrada (@madamsuperbia) on