Breaking the silence

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Illustration by Drew (Click on image to see full screen.)

Without the general population’s notice, every two minutes a sexual assault occurs here in the U.S.


With silence, the problem only grows. Only 40 percent of sexual assaults or rapes are reported and only six percent of rapists ever serve a single day in jail.


To create awareness of violent and sexual crimes, the Clothesline Project is breaking the silence. It provides survivors or their families a safe environment and medium, a colored t-shirt, to speak their voice, release their pain and move towards healing. Their shirts will then become part of the project, which is open to the community to view.


“Some of the shirts do have graphic content on them. But I ask, what is more offensive: that it is written on a t-shirt or that it is happening to women, men and children in our community?” Said Jennie Briggs, who helps put together the Clothesline Project and is the director of Equity in Education.


The Clothesline Project is held twice a year, and while many may not realize that these crimes happen here, between 150 and 200 new shirts are made each semester at UVU. Between 2,000 and 2,300 people view the project every semester, as well.


Part of the ambience is the silence that is literally broken by a series of noises that are timed with national statistics. Whistles, bells and gongs go off in patterns to show abuse, rapes and deaths.


Not only does the project bring the problem to the forefront but it also helps the survivors.


“It is critical that survivors of violence and abuse know that they are not alone,” Briggs said. “The Clothesline Project at UVU is a safe place to come and express what has happened to you or a loved one and as you hang your t-shirt, you will know that you are not alone and that there is hope for healing and happiness.”


Clothesline Project:
April 3-4 in the Grande Ballroom

BACA Presentation:
April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Grande Ballroom


By Andrea Whatcott

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