Coventry textile artist, Julia O’Connell was delighted to bring The Women’s Quilt to the Shop Front Theatre, Coventry. This was a 2 day exhibition and included a panel discussion on the Friday afternoon and a stitch session on the Saturday afternoon. This exhibition was made possible with the kind support of Jess Pinson and Flo Swann. The exhibition was free to attend with donations going to support Coventry Haven Women’s Aid.
The Women’s Quilt was made to commemorate the 598 women killed by their current/former partner between 2009 and 2015, according to the data from the Femicide Consensus (Women’s Aid, 2017). This quilt was founded by Roxanne Ellis who started off this project with a Facebook group. She added a few friends who added a few friends and it soon gained interested. It really was amazing to see men and women working together on this quilt and having patches sent in from all across the world! The Quilt has opened up many personal and important conversations which are now happening between the Quilters and its audiences.
On average almost 3 women a week (140 per annum) are killed by a former/current partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015), in England & Wales. This is a horrific reality. These women could have been us, they are our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and colleagues. The Quilt is a reminder that each woman is not just a number but a name. Each patch was made with a lot of love and care to the attention of the woman’s personality. Quite often her own life is overlooked when the media reports her death and instead the media focuses on the murderer and their life. This is a massive travesty that essentially these women are written out of their own stories by the media and are often made a footnote in their own murder. This Quilt, as one of our volunteers said is “the most beautiful thing that shouldn’t exist”.
Jaime, who helped with the event said: “I so wish Hollie’s name wasn’t one of these. I’m a survivor myself and I became a volunteer for Coventry Haven Women’s Aid who helped me with their support and legal clinic and for the past 16 months I’m privileged to be able to say I am employed by them. I fight to keep us here for every woman and child living with abuse. This is my mission in life and I live, eat, breath Coventry Haven Women’s Aid. Nick, you & your family are welcome to visit us anytime. We are small but fight hard for each other, and for our women.’’
We would like to highly praise the work of Coventry Haven Women’s Aid and for helping bring the quilt to Coventry. We also wish Hollie’s name wasn’t on there, but all we can do is to continue to help others who find themselves in the same unfortunate situation.