The Tennessee Tech University Women’s Center and sorority Zeta Phi Beta host the 12th annual Clothesline Project on campus April 6 in recognition of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Clothesline Project, a display that offers a voice to those affected by domestic and sexual violence, will be presented in the Roaden University Center Tech Pride Room on Tuesday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The room will be filled with shirts designed by people who have either fallen victim to violence or know someone they care about who has.
“Witnessing is part of the solution,” said Diana Lalani of the Women’s Center. “By coming and viewing their testimonies, you are affirming their healing and affirming their release. It’s not boring. It’s not frightening. It’s inspirational.”
In its 12th year on campus, this is a Women’s Center event held in collaboration with Zeta Phi Beta.
“One year a student made a shirt and then phoned her mother in another state and talked about how she felt afterwards,” said Gretta Stanger, Women’s Center director. “Her mother also wanted to make a shirt and drove hundreds of miles the next day to be at the exhibit. She, like many others, reported a sense of relief after creating the shirt and knowing that it would then be displayed in the years to come.”
Held each year in April to correspond with National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this year’s event will also be held on the same night as the sixth annual Take Back the Night March aimed at ending violence against women and children. The National Clothesline Project was founded in 1990 by a group of women in Massachusetts to address the issue of violence against women. Since then, the project has expanded to an estimated 500 displays each year nationally and internationally.
“People often make the mistake of thinking this is for women only, but we welcome all survivors,” Lalani said.
The colors of the shirts represent different kinds of abuse and sometimes offer tribute to those who have not survived. White represents women who have died as a result of violence. Yellow is for battered or assaulted individuals. Red or pink represent survivors of rape of sexual assault. Blue and green shirts are for survivors of incest and sexual abuse. Purple represents violence based on sexual orientation. Shirts can be made any time at the Women’s Center in Pennebaker Hall Room 203 or at the event.