Stories of abuse, courage: ‘A Day In My Shoes’ opens

After eight months of planning, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre’s photographic exhibition, “A Day In My Shoes”, opened at the National Gallery on Friday to a packed crowd in Grand Cayman. The exhibition, a fundraiser for the centre, tells the story of 37 women, from tales of abuse, domestic violence, courage, and hope to stories of inspiration or loss of a loved one.  

The photographic images – which feature women anonymously in their favourite pair of shoes – were shot by United States-based photographer Amy Martin-Friedman, who travelled to the Cayman Islands in March for a three-day shoot to photograph each of the women in their chosen setting. 

Ms Martin-Friedman, a freelance photographer with more than 20 years experience, conceived the idea for the project in 2008 when she wanted to use her creative skills to help women in her local community. A victim of domestic abuse herself – and a lover of fabulous shoes – it seemed like a natural fit.  

Over the years, “A Day In My Shoes” has raised money for various shelters across the US. Following a chance meeting with Lyn Boone a CICC supporter at a shoot in Baltimore, Ms Martin-Friedman collaborated with the centre to bring the project to Cayman. 

“The night was amazing,” Ms Martin-Friedman said. “Through the horrible reality of abuse we’ve created something beautiful to celebrate women having a voice and to not fear life, but to embrace and live it. We’ve raised awareness through a creative medium, which helps women know they’re not alone. 

“I’m honoured to do this work and I will treasure my time and these amazing women I’ve met here. This was a dream come true and I found myself pinching my arms many times throughout this journey. Dreams come true and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.” 

Proceeds from the event, which includes money raised from each photo shoot, ticket sales for the exhibition opening night, as well as the sale of a glossy coffee table book, will go directly to helping with the day-to-day operating costs of the centre’s shelter for abused women and their children. Allison Clark, fundraising chairwoman for the centre said that estimates show the event has raised $12,000.  

“We are thrilled with the turn-out at the opening of the exhibit,” Ms Clark said. “Not only have we raised important funds for the ongoing operations of the shelter, but we have raised awareness within the community. All of the women who took part in the photography project are very courageous and we thank them for standing up against violence and supporting the work of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.” 

The exhibition will be on display at the National Gallery until 11 November in honour of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The coffee table book, which features all of the photographs from the Cayman shoot, is on sale at The National Gallery, Books & Books, Red Sail Sports, The Book Nook, and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. 

The crisis centre is a charitable organisation that provides safe, temporary shelter and support services for abused women and their children, as well as education programmes regarding domestic abuse and sexual violence. Last year, the centre provided safe shelter for 120 women and children. Their location is kept secret, so that all who are assisted know they are safe. 

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