Clothesline project bears witness to violence

Bearing witness to crimes against women
Posted Friday, November 15, 2013 - 3:27pm

The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to the violence against women. During the public display, a clothesline is hung with shirts. Each shirt is decorated to represent a particular woman’s experience, by the survivor herself or by someone who cares about her.

The Clothesline Project was started in fall 1990 in Hyannis, Mass., with 31 shirts. Since then, projects have begun in communities all across the country and in other countries as well.

The purpose of the project is four-fold:

• To bear witness to the survivors as well as the victims of the war against women.

• To help with the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or are survivors of this violence.

• To educate, document, and raise society’s awareness of the extent of the problem of violence against women.

• To provide a nationwide network of support, encouragement and information for other communities starting their own Clothesline Projects.

On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 3-4, USU Eastern presents the Clothesline Project in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center Multi-Purpose Room. On Saturday, October 5, it will be displayed at the Carbon Recreation Center Building on Carbon Avenue and 100 South. All are encouraged to come and view the shirts on display, and to create a shirt of their own design. Private area is provided for anyone wanting to create a shirt for themselves or in tribute to another person, living or deceased who has experienced violence in their lives. All shirts are anonymous, and all shirts and art supplies are provided at no cost.

The shirts are color coded to show the form of abuse and whether the victim survived the abuse they experienced.

White represents women who died because of violence

Yellow represents battered or assaulted women

Red, pink and orange are for survivors of rape and sexual assault

Blue and green shirts represent survivors of incest and sexual abuse

Purple or lavender represents women attacked because of their sexual orientation

Black is for women attacked for political reasons

In April of this year, we held our first Clothesline Project on the USU Eastern campus. It was an overwhelming success. Over 70 shirts were created by students and members of the surrounding community, bearing witness to the fact that violence against women does, in fact, exist in the lives of those around us and is a factor for those we associate with every day.

Statistically speaking, one out of every two women will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime.

Every single minute of every single day more than one woman is raped in America.

Before the age of 18, one out of three girls and one out of five boys will be the victims of incest or sexual assault.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a great way to show support for this cause. The display of the Clothesline Project on Saturday will be at the finish line of the Carbon County 5K Walk/Run for Domestic Violence Awareness.

Please come. Bear witness and help with the healing.

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