While many women might complain about not having enough clothes to wear, four Ohio University students opted to wear just one outfit for the entire month of October.
The women each wore one dress for the entire month to raise awareness for child trafficking.
“The idea of the project is that victims of human trafficking have to literally and metaphorically wear the same dress every day,” said Hannah Dunn, a junior studying women’s history and secondary education, who participated in the project. “They wear this label of victim, sex object and slave every day. They cannot take it off.”
The project was started by the founders of The Daughters Project, a shelter in Northwestern Ohio that provides a home for victims of sexual abuse and child trafficking.
Emily Fish, another participant and a sophomore studying psychology, said she took part after hearing about the project from a friend in Toledo. She said she feels it is an effective way to protest the problem.
“As opposed to some kind of big protest with loud signs and door-to-door campaigning, wearing this dress is a much more subtle way to communicate the problem at hand,” she said. “I chose to wear the dress instead of being loud and in your face because girls who are forced into prostitution aren’t usually loud and in your face about their victimization.”
Both Dunn and Fish wrote for the entirety of the project on their blogs, emily-fish.blogspot.com and hannah-dunn.blogspot.com. Through their posts, the two said, they were able to explain their feelings throughout the month and also receive messages of encouragement.
Fish said she was extremely grateful for the feedback because the month was not always easy.
“At times, I was really discouraged with this project. I didn’t feel like I was receiving positive responses and honestly, sometimes I just wanted to throw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt,” Fish said. “But I’d lean on my faith, trusting that God has a good plan in mind for this, and suddenly good things would happen.”
While both explained the hardships they faced, Dunn said the obstacles did not stop their passion for the cause. She said she plans to do the campaign again in the spring.
“I hope people start to understand that just because we live in America, we are not immune to these issues,” she said. “I hope people start to cherish their own lives and gain a sense of empathy for those not so lucky.”