Project educates on violence, assault, abuse

ADRIANA MIENE, Staff Writer

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On Friday, Oct. 26, the women and gender studies program will be bringing The Clothesline Project to UNI’s campus. This marks the fifth year the project has visited UNI.

“Although we are an academic program, a big part of women’s and gender studies is activism and advocacy, so that’s why we put on a lot of these programs on campus,” said Sara Naughton, a programming graduate assistant with the program. “The Clothesline Project — I feel the biggest parts of it are about support and awareness about issues of violence, abuse and assault. But also, it can be a very healing experience for survivors to be able to decorate a T-shirt with their story, see it hung up for all to see and be able to know that all those T-shirts represent different stories and they are not alone.”

The Clothesline Project is a national campaign that addresses violence against women. The program started in Massachusetts in 1990 but has since spread world-wide, taking place every October in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, DVAM originally started as a “Day of Unity” in 1981. Soon, the day became an awareness week, and by 1987, it was an awareness month. The first toll-free domestic violence hotline also became available that year. Two years later, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Clothesline Project is an interactive event in which those who have been affected by violence in any way — first-hand or otherwise — can decorate T-shirts to shed light on the issue and how many are affected.

T-shirt-decorating events were held in the Maucker Union on Oct. 22, 23 and 24. According to Naughton, approximately 30 shirts had been turned in by noon on the last day. Campus community members were encouraged to decorate their shirts with their thoughts and feelings on relationship violence and/or sexual assault as well as supportive messages for survivors.

The T-shirts will be displayed in the Maucker Union courtyard, extending up to Rod Library, on Oct. 26. T-shirts from the previous four years will be hung throughout Sabin Hall. In the future, the WGS program hopes to combine all the T-shirts into one big display if they have the people power to do so.

There will be a table set up outside Maucker Union with resources and information about the Clothesline Project all day on Oct. 26. For more information about the women’s and gender gtudies program or the project, students can visit the WGS office in Sabin Hall 225 or email them at [email protected].

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