Clothesline project raises awareness for sexual assault

by BRANDI ORTIZ/News Editor

Awareness of sexual assault is spreading at the South Plains College campus one t-shirt at a time.

With April being the National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Student Housing hosted the Clothesline Project in hopes of creating awareness about such abuse.

The Clothesline Project is a non-governmental organization created to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women. The project allows victims to express their emotions by decorating a t-shirt

Filling up the inside and outside of the Student Center with color, the Clothesline Project displayed more than 40 new shirts decorated by SPC students, faculty, and administration.

According to ClotheslineProject.org, the intention of the display is to honor survivors and act as a memorial for victims. It is also intended to aid in the healing process for those who were directly affected and those who have lost someone special to violence.

“The idea is to allow those who have been personally affected to have a voice and express about this awful reality,” says Kari-Ann Mitchell, hall director at Tubb Hall.

Started in 1990 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a group of women were motivated to create a program that would speak up and reveal the issue of violence against women. One of the women thought of hanging t-shirts on a clothesline to gain recognition of the issue. Because women often shared the latest gossip while hanging their clothes, they thought this would be an efficient way to spread awareness.

The earliest project in October of 1990 included 31 shirts as part of the annual “Take Back the Night” March and Rally in Hyanis, Massachusetts.

There are an estimated 500 projects nationally and internationally, involving about 50,000 to 60,000 t-shirts. There are currently projects in 41 states and five countries.

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Along with hosting the Clothesline Project, South Plains College also partnered up with the NO MORE campaign.

“We wanted to be unified with them,” Mitchell says. “NO MORE has the message of being proactive against sexual violence.”

The NO MORE campaign has become a unifying symbol to help raise awareness and create programs to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. From Super Bowl ads to supporting small programs, the NO MORE foundation is quickly becoming the most common campaign with its signature blue symbol.

This year, NO MORE is celebrating its 15th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the theme “Prevention is Possible” to help individuals and communities to understand how they can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual assault before it happens.

According to Nomore.org, there are many ways to join the fight against sexual assault. One could become proactive in supportive relationships and behaviors. Also, watch out for your friends. Sometimes close friends and family notice the abuse before the victim does. Be aware of red flags! If your partner is constantly verbally abusive, the physical abuse is not far behind.

Do not be afraid to report. There are people out there wanting to help in every way possible. Tell a trusted friend, a close family member, or just call the 24/7 hotline. You will always have a support system. Also, men can be violated as well. Do not be afraid; they will believe you.

“You are not alone. EVER,” Mitchell says. “There is no ‘type’ for a victim. Being that does not limit you to JUST being that.”

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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