Gift From Within is proud to present: “The Door”

2005 Stacie Dubay All Rights Reserved.

A Woman’s Journey from Domestic Violence Victim to Survivor

by Stacie Dubay

A door. A suitcase.

Picture a woman. She is living in fear. Every breath of every second of every minute of every day, she lives in fear of the person she loves. She is filled with hope; she is filled with despair – a seesaw of emotion that accompanies the bruises, the burns, and the scars to her body…to her heart. One day she finally finds the courage to walk through the door, taking with her only a suitcase filled with years of living.

I invite you to view this art exhibit with your heart, your mind, and your soul. As you look at the door, you will see that one side is full of positive messages, while the other side portrays the darker images of abuse and violence. In a domestic violence relationship, the line between the good times and the bad times isn’t always so clear. The suitcase in the middle of the door represents this. If you open the suitcase up, you can see through to the other side of the door. In the suitcase are mementos of happy times, reminders of scary, hurtful times. The suitcase symbolizes the life of the woman traveling from victimization to freedom from an abusive relationship. She may have finally broken free from the past, but the memories will always be with her.

Open the door. Take a journey. Thank you for taking the time to care.

Directions: Move your cursor over the door panels and suitcase. Click panels to view larger versions of the images.

Concept and photos  2005 Stacie Dubay All Rights Reserved
Concept and photos  2005 Stacie Dubay All Rights Reserved.

Exhibit Information:

“A Woman’s Journey from Domestic Violence Victim to Survivor” was constructed to encourage thought and action as people go about their daily activities. It has been displayed in coffee shops, City Hall, university campuses, and hospitals. It is intended to honor the strength and courage of women and men who have experienced domestic violence.

When the actual exhibit is on display it’s meant to be touched. Observers are encouraged to “take the journey” and walk through the door, open the suitcases, look at the contents. Online viewers may click on the panels for a closer look.

Art has the power to foster change and this piece has accomplished more than I could have imagined over the past three years. A law professor taught her class around it; a men’s group organized an event to discuss men’s roles in ending violence; a woman was compelled to begin an animal foster care program after she read a statement on the door about a family pet being harmed to control a victim; another woman had her picture taken walking through the door and sent it to her best friend as a sign for her to leave her own abusive relationship; a group of Girls Scouts held a meeting around it; a domestic violence victim contacted her local domestic violence agency for services after seeing the exhibit; several eighth grade boys wrote heart warming letters about being positively affected by viewing the door during a class trip – one boy wrote, “The door in the art gallery moved me and touched my heart. The way the men were treating these women was devastating. It made me want to help these women and more women who are having trouble like that.”

Stacie Dubay, LMSW is the Counseling Supervisor at End Violent Encounters (EVE), Inc. in Lansing, Michigan. She received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University and her B.S. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She has been working in the field of domestic violence for eleven years. Stacie began creating art as both a physical and emotional escape. She hopes to educate communities, encourage dialogue, motivate others and validate others’ experiences.

If you would like to bring the exhibit to your community please contact Stacie Dubay at

Thank you to Gift From Within for providing the space for this exhibit.