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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    T-shirt project raises abuse awareness

    History senior Kara Cooper studies T-shirts that were part of the Clothesline Project outside the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday. The project featured colored T-shirts that represented different kinds of abuse.
    History senior Kara Cooper studies T-shirts that were part of the Clothesline Project outside the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday. The project featured colored T-shirts that represented different kinds of abuse.

    Colorful T-shirts commemorating victims and survivors of sexual violence flapped on clotheslines strung from palm trees on the UA Mall yesterday as part of a national project.

    The UA Feminists and members of the Panhellenic Council joined the nationally recognized Clothesline Project to show UA students the amount of violence still present in society today, said Elyse Carlsen, a business junior who worked on the project for a renewable natual resources class.

    A tent was set up Monday on the UA Mall for students who were victims or knew someone who experienced sexual violence. Students could write on color-coded T-shirts representing different categories of sexual violence, said Melissa Keller, a women’s studies sophomore and member of UA Feminists.

    Out of the 30 shirts created by both men and women this year, the most common on display were rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, incest or child abuse.

    “”It’s a form of healing,”” said Allie Morton, a regional development senior. “”They’re sending a message through their words and their art on the T-shirts. It’s really helpful.””

    The use of T-shirts was inspired by women’s old role of completing household chores like laundry, Carlsen said. Also, women would exchange information with one another while hanging their clothing to dry, she said.

    Keller said it has been some time since the UA worked with the Clothesline Project, but the OASIS Center for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence has helped provide materials for the project in the past.

    “”These shirts are all from just one afternoon with only those who passed by the tables,”” said Chelsea Claire Scott, a creative writing junior. “”Imagine if the whole UA population was involved.””

    Morton said rape and domestic violence are often considered private matters but need to be publicly recognized. She said she was surprised at the turnout on the Mall because people consider it a “”touchy subject.””

    Keller said the Clothesline Project is significant because it creates a dialogue on campus.

    “”(Clothesline Project) is a way to break the silence and set their past free,”” Carlsen said.

    The Clothesline Project was founded in Boston in 1990 and has continued as a national movement on college campuses ever since, according to the project’s Web site.

    Morton said she hopes the project continues every year, especially during April, which is Sexual Assault awareness month, and October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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