In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Women’s Resource Center presented the Clothesline Project from April 16 to April 20. The Clothesline Project allows the community to view a clothesline of shirts that are created by sexual assault survivors and their supporters to understand the feelings that they have experienced.
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is located on the second floor of the SMSU in room 221, and during the week of April 9 to April 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the WRC was open for anyone to come and create their artwork with provided supplies. The display of the different shirts was open for anyone to view and read in the SMSU lobby on April 16 until April 20 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Throughout the displaying of the project, there will be VOICE peer educators there to discuss any issues you may feel, questions you may have and will be able to refer you to any resource you may need. This display allows the students of CSUSB to witness the true feelings different survivors have endured in their experience with sexual assault violence.
The Clothesline Project was created in the 1990s to address the problem of violence that many women endure. According to the official Clothesline Project website, the project began in Massachusetts when Cape Cod’s Women’s Defense Agenda discovered that the number of men that had died in the Vietnam War was 58,000, while back home, the number of women that had died due to domestic violence was 51,000. The Clothesline Project started with just 31 shirts but now has expanded to millions around the world with the many different displays that other small organizations have created as well.
Each shirt color represents a different form of violence that someone has experienced. There are 11 different colored shirts that can be used, including white to represent someone that has died as a result of some form of violence, gray and brown being survivors of spiritual, emotional, or verbal abuse, and orange, pink, and red to represent survivors of sexual violence or rape.
The Clothesline Project that was displayed at CSUSB, however, do not follow the color representation from the original project. The Clothesline Project provides survivors and their supporters an outlet for their voices and experiences to be acknowledged and heard. This display provides physical evidence that many forms of violence and abuse are still prevalent in all of our communities.
The Clothesline Project has created a safe environment for survivors and their supporters to have their voices heard and have their stories acknowledged. In a society where we often have survivors that are uncertain of the reactions they may receive when giving their testimony, this event and project allows an anonymous way for them to feel a sense of relief and begin their process of healing. In order to fix the issue of domestic violence in our community, we must first acknowledge the problem and believe the survivors.