Suspended purple dresses at state Capitol bring attention to missing women

Published: Mar. 8, 2017 at 9:51 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2017 at 4:29 PM HST
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(Image: Kaniela Ing)
(Image: Kaniela Ing)
(Image: Kaniela Ing)
(Image: Kaniela Ing)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over a dozen purple dresses suspended from state Capitol on Wednesday brought attention to missing women in observance of International Women's Day.

"Each dress represents a real woman," a sign posted near the display said. "Honor invisible stories. #iwd2017."

A group called Af3irm hung the dresses to honor the international day celebrating women.

The group is a transnational feminist organization that focuses on activism to spread awareness of social issues against women.

One onlooker noted the dresses blowing in the wind resembled ghosts -- and that was the intention of the symbolism behind the public art piece.

Some dresses displayed names like "Charli Scott" to represent an individual woman, in this case the woman killed by her ex-boyfriend on Maui.

Others had messages saying, "15 percent of Filipinas are killed from domestic violence-related crimes," "44 percent of incarcerated women are Native Hawaiian," or "Thousands of native American women disappear every year."

The dresses were up for the duration of the lunch hour rush before state deputy sheriffs removed the display, Khara Jabola of Af3irm said.

"It was a symbolic act of art and messaging," Jabola said. She calls it a form of "artivism," when art and activism collide.

A march through Waikiki will was also held Wednesday to show solidarity with the International Women's Day.

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