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Painted T-shirts addressing violence against women hang along a clothesline above the Union atrium. The shirts were made for The Clothesline Project, hosted by Weber State University’s Women’s Center. (The Signpost Archives)

It’s not just art: the Clothesline Project encourages survivors to decorate a shirt in a stand against violence. T-shirts created by survivors of violence, or in honor of someone who has experienced violence, hang from clotheslines in public locations as a public, visual display.

Women’s Center Safe@Weber Advocate Paige Davies said Weber State University participates in the project as an ongoing effort to raise awareness about abuse in the community.

Students could visit the Women’s Center or stop in the Shepherd Union Atrium on the 26-28 of last week and paint a shirt.

“About twenty to thirty students create these t-shirts with positive messages for others to appreciate,” Davies said. “Some include, ‘Got consent?’, ‘You are Strong and Brave.’, and ‘Healing is Possible. These messages can be powerful and inspirational to others who have gone through traumatic experiences.”

Originating in Hyannis, Massachusetts, the Clothesline Project website says that the project started in 1990 when a member of the Cape Cod’s Women’s Defense Agenda learned during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them. Since then, it has ballooned into a worldwide effort.

The Clothesline Project honors survivors as well as victims of intimate violence. Anyone who has experienced such violence, at any time of their life, is encouraged to come forward and design a shirt. Victim’s families and friends are also welcome to participate.The color of each t-shirt represents different kinds of abuse:

White represents victims who died because of violence.

Yellow or beige represents abused or assaulted survivors.

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 represent individuals attacked because of their sexual orientation.

Black represents individuals attacked for political reasons.

It is the very process of designing a shirt that gives each person a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of their life. Participating in this project provides a powerful step towards helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded their experience.

T-shirts will be on display in the Shepherd’s Union Atrium and in Davis Campus D3 Atrium throughout the first week of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

For more information on the Clothesline Project Campaign, visit http://clotheslineproject.info

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