Silence the Violence

T-shirts promote awareness of sexual assault


The Clothesline Project returns to campus this week. The project’s displays are designed to help observers understand violence statistics. Archival Photo.

Over 1,000 voices will be free from storage boxes and hung on the clothesline again, ready to strengthen their right to be heard and support the new voices that will join them this year.

Each April and October, t-shirts are created by survivors of violence and displayed side by side to remind people of the real meaning of violence statistics. In hopes to use the display as a motivation to end violence, each shirt displays their creator’s feelings and gives an uncensored opportunity for a violence survivor to voice their personal experience.

“We don’t censor any of the t-shirts because our goal is to break the silence of violence,” said Jennie Briggs, director of the Equity in Education Center on campus.

In honor of sexual assault awareness month, the Equity in Education, Turning Point and Women’s Resource Centers sponsor The Clothesline Project at UVU. This is a worldwide recognition project, as the official Clothesline Project website estimates there are projects in 41 states and at least 5 countries. The project has been displayed on campus twice each year since 1998.

On April 5-6, between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the UVU Student Center Grand Ballroom, t-shirts made from former semesters will be displayed and supplies will be provided for people to make new shirts, which will be hung on a new line.

The color of each shirt represents a different form of violence suffered—from death, survivors of incest, rape, childhood sexual abuse, emotional or verbal abuse and so forth. Timed sounds will play throughout the project as an auditory reminder of violence frequency in the U.S., according to statistics.

The gong indicates a woman reporting being assaulted every 10 to 12 seconds; The whistle indicates someone being sexually assaulted every two minutes and the bell indicates the 3 to 4 women who are killed by their intimate partner each day.

As a part of the Clothesline Project, Bikers Against Child Abuse, B.A.C.A., will come and give a presentation about who they are and what they’re doing to help children feel safe after they have been violated. About 10 – 15 B.A.C.A. members will ride in and talk about their own personal reason as to why they ride with B.A.C.A.

Near the end of their presentation, a ten minute movie will be played about these “keepers of the Children.” The B.A.C.A. presentation will be held Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m.

The Center for Women and Children in Crisis program specialist, Mina Uscharawadi is giving a presentation April 6 at Noon in the Ballroom on sexual assault awareness and healthy relationships. People will still be able to come and make shirts while presentations are taking place.

Along with t-shirts, there will be three, 6-foot tables full of resources available for people to look at or freely take. Resources about what do to in violent relationship, red flags, what can men do to stop rape, elderly women’s poetry of abuse, resource lists of related events having to do with sexual assault, rape and abuse will be available.

“We try to have as much information as possible for people,” Briggs said.

If someone doesn’t want to make a t-shirt but still voice his or her story, there will be a journal available to write in.

“It’s a sacred place for people to come and know that they’re not alone.” Briggs said.

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