“You feel rage when you get a tiny little outfit in the mail,” said Ruth Ann Brubaker of Wayne County, Ohio, who helped put the exhibit together. “I didn’t know I could be so angry. Then you start crying.”
Clotheslines with billowing linens and long dresses are a common sight on the off-grid farms of Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, home to the nation’s largest Amish settlement. For many tourists they’re as iconic a part of Amish Country’s bucolic scenery as the rural lanes and wooden bridges, AP reports.
But for two days in late April, a clothesline with a different purpose was strung in a small indoor exhibit here. Hanging from it were 13 outfits representing the trauma of sexual assault suffered by members of the Amish, Mennonite and similar groups, a reminder that the modest attire they require, particularly of women and girls, is no protection.
Each garment on display was either the actual one a survivor wore at the time they were assaulted or a replica assembled by volunteers to match the strict dress codes of the survivor’s childhood church.
One was a long-sleeve, periwinkle blue Amish dress with a simple stand collar. The accompanying sign said, “Survivor Age: 4 years old.”
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