Dressing for impact

? Hillsboro women wearing dresses to raise awareness of women in slavery

Today, nearly 30 million people worldwide are trapped in various forms of slavery.

So a group of women in Hillsboro are fighting for the dignity and freedom of women worldwide by making one simple fashion choice: wearing a dress each day in December.

Standing together in solidarity: (from left) Brandi Hein, Laura Paulus, Jamie Driggers and Sara Wichert are wearing dresses throughout December with the goal of raising money for oppressed women worldwide. Patty Decker / Free PressJamie Driggers, Laura Paulus, Sara Jo Waldron, Sara Wichert, Cathleen Fish and Brandi Hein have formed a Dressember team to raise money and awareness for the plight of women in bondage.

Driggers said over the years her feeling toward injustice and poverty has evolved.

By raising money and awareness for Dressember, Driggers and others on the team seek to bring attention to the suffering that exists worldwide.

?There are women in bondage even here in the U.S.,? Driggers said.

It is a bad deal, Driggers said, to be a woman in many countries. Consequently, the team has set up a fundraising page with all proceeds going to International Justice Mission.

?Its goal is to get people out of slavery and oppressive situations,? she said.

The first Dressember fundraising year was in 2013.

That year, the Dressember challenge raised $165,000 for IJM.

?The Dressember team plans to raise more than $500,000 this December and will donate most of the earning to global anti-slavery, non-profit IJM,? according to information provided.

For Driggers, the idea of Dressember can help women in Third World countries.

?The empowerment of women around the world, yes, it speaks to me,? she said. ?I never felt like, I as a woman, have been mistreated. I have always been given a voice in my life, but I realize that is not something that is true for everyone.?

According to team members, anyone can participate in this cause by making a donation to IJM or a specific participant.

?IJM is a fantastic organization,? Driggers said.

Some people might question what femininity has to do with ending the oppression of women.

According to information Driggers provided, femininity can mean a lot of different things to different people.

Dressember is the celebration of being a woman and feminity is inherent to all women, manifesting itself in many different ways for different women.

Dresses are just one manifestation of femininity, but in no way is the organization saying that women need to wear dresses to be feminine.

Dressember, according to sources, is a chance to experience freedom through embracing that interpretation of femininity.

?It?s bigger than dresses, though,? Driggers said. ?Dressember creates an opportunity to advocate for the inherent feminity and dignity of all women.?

Along with participating in Dressember, Driggers said she also sells Fair Trade Jewelry.

This jewelry is made by women coming out of the sex trade or trying to educate their daughters or women trying to keep their children after their husbands abandoned them.

Most of the time, the only option women will have after being abandoned by their husband is to give their child up for adoption, she said.

?This specific artisan group I sell for offers women a job and they can keep their children.

?They have on-site daycare and their kids go to work with mom,? she said.

The money from the jewelry also goes for schooling and healthcare.

?Poverty should not be a reason to break up a family,? she said.

As Christians, Driggers said she and others cannot look away from this.

?It is not what Jesus would have us do,? she said.

For more information Driggers and other members encourage people to visit their team?s Web page at: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise/team?ftid=41443.

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