Wallingford native Kayla Murphy, a TikTok influencer, is selling “spooky shirts” throughout the month of October to raise money and highlight domestic violence resources.
Last year Murphy, who now lives in Wethersfield and works in marketing for QAM Architecture, decided to design her own spooky shirt after she couldn’t find a shirt she liked. She sold them through word-of-mouth and social media, but this year she decided to build her own website for the cause.
“I was like, you know what? October is domestic violence awareness month, I love spooky season,” Murphy said. “Maybe if I sell this shirt that is kind of cute, maybe people will want to buy it and the proceeds can go to this. I just wanted to do something that made me feel good.”
Murphy, 25, has a personal connection to the cause. She was assaulted by an ex-boyfriend she met on Tinder.
Now, over a year later, Murphy is telling her story and raising awareness.
“I think the most important (goal) is that people don’t feel alone,” Murphy said. “I’m really grateful with the amount of support and encouragement I had and I understand that isn’t a luxury that everyone can experience.
Last year, Murphy split the approximately $600 she raised with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Murphy is planning on supporting these two causes again this year. With every shirt she sells, $5 goes to the organizations.
On TikTok, Murphy explores different places and foods, largely in Connecticut. She has more than 100,000 followers and her content garnered more than 2 million likes on the platform.
Ruth Bruno, resource and communication coordinator for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said Murphy’s fundraiser helps out a lot.
“Obviously on the financial side, but aside from that, just raising awareness the way she does is incredible because sexual violence, whether it’s harassment or assault or manipulation, whatever form it takes, is a topic that many people find difficult to talk about or they avoid talking about it and then that just makes it that much harder to address,” Bruno said. “Kayla is absolutely fearless in bringing these topics of domestic and sexual violence to the forefront and she’s truly breaking down barriers to get these conversations started.”
For Murphy, the goal is also to help others find resources.
“Stay strong, but get out,” Murphy said. “Please get out. There’s a lot of resources that can help you.”