UVU students and the community will come together to break the silence of violence through the Clothesline Project on Oct. 23 and 24 in the Grande Ballroom. The project is held for survivors of violence, or those with loved ones who have experienced violence, allowing them to speak out and tell their story in a safe place.
Students are able to come and create t-shirts to express themselves and then display the shirts for the rest of the student body to see. Many t-shirts have pictures drawn, poems written or the entire story of their violence described, while others have been torn and shredded or covered in profanity.
“The Clothesline Project is a powerful witness of the violence many live with, and it provides a healing outlet for those who were forcibly silenced,” said Jennie Briggs, director of the Equity in Education Center, which is hosting the project.
T-shirts are not censored.
“Whatever people feel like they need to do to express themselves, they are welcome to it,” Briggs said. “What’s more offensive: That somebody wrote it on a t-shirt or that it is actually happening in our community?”
Although the majority of the shirts talk about the violence itself, according to Briggs, many of them focus on forgiveness and how the survivor found peace and hope in their life. The project is open to all men, women and children.
“It is a very empowering moment for them,” Briggs said. “Only a community informed about violence can end violence.”
The Clothesline Project has been held at UVU twice a year since 1998. According to the official website, the project began in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1990 when it was discovered in the same time that 58,000 soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them.
Typically about 150-200 new shirts are created each semester at the Clothesline Project. The project provides all of the materials needed for expression on the T-shirts.
The project is also supported by Turning Point and the Women’s Success Center.