Changing Perceptions with Pictures

OE_Christy Feb 2024 Blog_Image for Newsletter_03-18-2024

History of Photovoice

“Images contribute to how we see ourselves, how we define and relate to the world, and what we perceive as significant or different,” said creator and researcher of Photovoice Carolyn C. Wang. Her organization Photovoice is dedicated to ethical photography for social change. Photovoice is an artistic tool used to amplify a community’s voice regarding a particular subject, cause, or issue through photographic images with captions written by the photographers.

The concept of Photovoice has existed for many years. In 1992, Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris did a study with a group of rural village women in China. The women in the village were given cameras and asked to document their lives and environment for an entire year. At the end of the project, the group hosted an exhibit of their photographs. This exhibit gave the women a voice, a sense of control over their lives, but most importantly it raised concerns to policymakers of changes needed in their village. As for Photovoice, that project elevated them to international recognition.

Autofocus on Mental Health

In May of 2021, OneEighty conducted its first Photovoice, focused on Mental Health Awareness Month. Community members, staff, and clients submitted photos related to their personal experience with, or perception of, mental health struggles, mental wellness, or mental health stigma. The agency received 26 submissions (link to article: This project is preserved in a permanent gallery, located at OneEighty in the lobby on the 2nd floor.  It highlighted both positive and negative aspects of mental health journeys. The photos spark conversation regarding mental health, letting people know they are not alone, and empowering them to seek help, if needed.

A yellow rose with white petals

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Building Connected Communities

This year, OneEighty is bringing Photovoice back to commemorate April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every April since 2001, the National Sexual Violence Resource (NSVR) raises public awareness about sexual violence and educates communities on how to prevent it. This year’s campaign, Building Connected Communities, focuses on addressing social and structural factors that impact the way people live, learn, work, and play to prevent and end sexual violence. Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence.

Sexual Violence Statistics from

  • Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
  • Approximately 66% of rape victims are younger than 18, with approximately 34% under age twelve.
  • Over 53% of women and over 29% of men reported experiencing contact sexual violence in their lifetime.  
  • Rape and sexual assault affect women, children, and men of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
  • 8 out of 10 (80%) sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

A Story Through My Lens

During the month of April, submit a photo that expresses your experience with or perspective on sexual violence/assault, whether supporting a survivor or the healing process.  Include a caption: single phrase, poem, paragraph, quote, etc.  When you submit your photo, please state whether you would like your name or initials to be used or prefer to remain anonymous. All levels of photographers are welcome! Send a photo in JPG or PNG format to Gayle at or drop off printed photo at OneEighty’s front desk: 104 Spink Street, Wooster, Ohio. Submissions will be posted in a permanent gallery at OneEighty and virtually throughout the month of April.

Comprehensive and Compassionate Service for Survivors

OneEighty is dedicated to the prevention and intervention of domestic violence and sexual assault through education, community outreach, and victim advocacy.  If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence and needs assistance, call the OneEighty 24-Hour Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Hotline:  1-800-686-1122

We’re here to support you.

We help people change direction with programs for addiction, domestic violence, rape crisis, mental health, housing, and prevention and education. At OneEighty, we actively support an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction – restoring dignity and purpose, reimagining potential, and rebuilding lives. OneEighty offers counseling programs, intensive addiction treatment programs, group addiction treatment, residential services, victim services, recovery housing, and peer recovery.

OneEighty Resources

For those encountering a substance use crisis, please call OneEighty’s Substance Use Crisis hotline, available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, at 330.466.0678. For other resources, click the links below: 

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