Clothesline ProjectPosted by on June 26, 2010 in General
Happy summer everyone!
This year I got involved with a group at UCLA called the Clothesline Project. It’s one you will find on many college campuses around the country that aims to stop multiple and intersecting forms of sexual violence. It strives to break the silence surrounding sexual violence and to raise awareness about these crimes that affect so many people.
The big event the group has is the three days where we put up a line of shirts in an area on campus. The shirts are decorated by survivors of different types of sexual violence and hung by clothespins on a line. The shirts are color coded to show the form of abuse and whether the victim survived the abuse they experienced.
-White represents those who died because of violence
-Yellow represents the battered or assaulted
-Red, pink, orange are for survivors of rape and sexual assault
-Blue and green represent survivors of incest and sexual abuse
-Purple represent those attacked because of their sexual orientation
-Black are for those who were attacked for political reasons
There’s a tent set up around where the shirts are hung for any survivors who stop by to go inside and make a shirt of their own if they like. Alexa joined me in LA for a couple of days and we each got to make one. This is a powerful way for victims to express how they feel about what happened to them and get it out in a unique fashion. Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to put on mine…it’s tricky to condense so many emotions onto one shirt. Walking along the line, you’ll start looking at a shirt and as you continue going down one after the other it’s incredible to feel the anger, the hurt, and also to see the strength of each individual all displayed on a simple t-shirt and hanging side by side as if we are all standing together breaking the silence. Then to see the students who just happen to be walking by stop and really look at them, the shock on their faces is apparent as they read. There are just so many people who have no idea how often these types of incidents occur or even that they do at all.
What I really like about this group is the subtle yet powerful way they go about increasing awareness. The line catches your eye and really astonishes anyone passing by. Awareness and the voices of survivors are the most effective ways we can do something about this issue. To see all of the shirts representing such strong individuals makes me more proud than I can put into words and gives me the strength to never stop fighting. So thank you to all of you out there!