Thursday, 26 November 2009

YWCA, Sevenoaks

Yesterday was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women so a painted sign put up by an organisation that has been offering women support, including providing safe havens to those who suffer from domestic abuse, and has been campaigning on key issues that affect them seems appropriate enough for the occasion.
The Young Women's Christian Association was founded in 1855 when two groups, led respectively by Lady Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Robarts, joined forces. The former had set up hostels for young women from rural areas who had come to the cities for employment but who also needed protection, while the latter had formed a prayer fellowship to protect young women. The movement then rapidly spread throughout Britain and part of its empire, as well as to European countries and the US. Over time the objectives of the YWCA movement evolved and from the late 19th century social concerns started to take precedence over spiritual ones.
Unfortunately I couldn't find anything online about the history of the Sevenoaks branch of the YWCA, but at least the ghost sign is still there.

Young Women's
Chritian Association
Home of Rest, &

Actually the date of November, 25 to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was chosen to commemorate the murder in 1960 in the Dominican Republic of three of the four Mirabal sisters on orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo: Patria Mercedes, María Argentina Minerva and Antonia María Teresa, together with Bélgica Adela who survived to tell their story, were involved in the underground opposition to the country's strongman. Known as Las Mariposas (The Butterflies) they were detained on several occasions, tortured, and finally murdered. Their story through the lens of fiction was told by Julia Álvarez in In The Time of the Butterflies. As for Rafael Trujillo, he was the central character of Mario Vargas Llosa's brilliant novel La fiesta del chivo / The Feast of the Goat ('The Goat' was one of his nicknames).

Location: London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent / Picture taken on: 13/07/2008

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