In honor of victims of domestic and sexual violence, Tech’s Women’s Center will be hosting its annual Clothesline project. Although the display of hanging shirts will not be presented until April, preparation is starting months in advance.
Students can stop by the Women’s Center during office hours to make a shirt representing violence against women for the Clothesline Project. The lines of shirts represent victims or someone who knows a woman who has survived some sort of sexual harassment.
This project’s goal is to show support toward victims and survivors of the discrimination against women. The event will also strive to help people deal with the feelings of lost loved ones. Because people might not be aware of the violence many women face, this event plans to raise awareness and will work to inform the society. The overall intention of this event is to create a network of encouragement.
The Women’s Center has been involved with this event since 1998 and coordinated with Pi Sigma Alpha to create the event this past year.
“The group I was with was Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, and we worked equally with the Women’s Center to put on Take Back the Night and the Clothesline Project,” said Andrew Jefferies, head coordinator of Take Back the Night. “We worked with the Women’s center to coordinate and essentially combine these events into one large showing.”
The event consists of a speaker along with a group for Take Back the Night marching around campus with chants and banners to advertise the cause. A poetry reading and candlelight vigil will take place after the march. This is a time to pay respect toward victims, survivors or the ones that have lost a loved one.
Each shirt color represents a particular women’s experience: beige or yellow for the assaulted or battered women; blue or green for survivors of sexual abuse and incest; lavender or purple for women who have been attacked for their sexual orientation; orange, pink or red for the survivors of sexual assault or rape; and white for women that have died due to violence.
"By the time a survivor is able to physically make a shirt, they have usually been on their healing journey for some time. It is difficult and most people shed a few tears while making their shirt at events,” said Diana Lalani, administrative associate in the Women's Center. “But most find that it is freeing to get the pain out and put the blame where it belongs — on the perpetrator.”
Once the shirt is made with the respective color, make sure to include the symbol or name of the feature that the shirt represents. Include the state, town or city where the shirt can be presented. When submitting a shirt, make sure to indicate the relationship of the maker(s) to the person represented on the shirt. Students also have the option of leaving their name, address and phone number.
The Women’s Center has shirts to offer during office hours, but students can provide their own in advance. Shirts can be brought the day or mailed to the Women’s Center.
Shirts should be made of a natural fabric and sewn together rather than glued. Students should use acrylic or textile paint and colorfast dye or indelible ink for the shirt’s memorabilia.
“The night we did it we had over 100 participants in attendance at the Clothesline Project and taking part in Take Back the Night events,” said Jefferies. “Feedback I heard was all positive and shows a great success in raising awareness of this important cause.”
The Clothesline Project is a group of people from diverse backgrounds. Together they represent the challenging of homophobia, racism, sexism and other oppressions. Many communities over the country participate in this event, which started in 1990. The project started in Hyannis, Mass. with 31 hanging shirts.