‘In Someone Else's Shoes,’ presented by Santander Bank is an interactive exhibit that spotlights the financial hardships of an abusive home. The stand-alone house built in partnership with domestic violence and financial abuse experts and experience creation studio HELO.
During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, HELO Director Annie Saunders recreated a normal American, suburban home and placed it in the centre of the busy World Trade Centre Station in New York. With over 250,000 commuters each day and a hub for finance, HELO with Santander partnered with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
Together, they brought to life the financial abuse survivors often encounter in such a private and lonely space. People passing by were invited to step inside someone else’s shoes and go into this seemingly happy home. The audience one by one would go into each room and experience a glimpse into the systemic and structural factors that enable a domestic violence situation and make it difficult to escape.
Experience creation studio HELO’s challenge was to create an immersive and interactive experience about something private, in such a loud, busy and transitory space. How HELO did this was first, reveal hidden truths, “the most dangerous place for a woman in the world is her home” to make the secret no longer hidden which creates the first step for change. The next is empathy, in someone else’s shoes.
Finally, it is investing and working with the survivors to acknowledge and create moving and forward-thinking experiences together.
The immersive experience reflects the layers and complications of domestic violence circumstances through first-hand audio, location-specific sound effects grounding guests in the societal and historical context of the issue. The 12-minute journey was intended to help visitors understand why it's difficult – and sometimes impossible – for those affected by domestic violence to "just leave."
The exhibit was accompanied by 15-second online videos of financial abuse survivors stories and a website committed to helping survivors reclaim their identity and reach financial freedom.