Story by Adrianna Triche, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of clotheslineproject.org
Throughout the year, the Aquinas College Women’s Studies Center holds many different women-related events to recognize the importance of numerous issues that may go unnoticed otherwise. This year the Women’s Studies Center held the Clothesline Project in downstairs Wege Center.
The Clothesline Project has been around since 1990 and originated in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The program was formed to bring attention to the issue of violence against women. It is a way for women and their families to express their shared feelings by decorating shirts and hanging them on a clothesline–this acts as a testimony to the violence women have faced and continue to face.
According to the clothesline project website, each woman tells her own story in a unique way using words or artwork to decorate her shirt. Each shirt color represents the different type of violence endured: white for the women who have died; yellow or beige for battered or assaulted women; red, pink, and orange for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green for survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple for the women who have been attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women attacked for political reasons.
Dr. Amy Dunham Strand, Director of the Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center,said, “In its twenty-fifth year, the Clothesline Project is an important, longstanding testimony to the problem of violence against women here and around the world. At root, though it is a ‘silent’ display of t-shirts, the Project is really about raising a collective voice against violence; likewise, while the t-shirts are displayed without wearers, the Project makes visible the often invisible lives of those affected by violence against women. As such, it is about honoring these lives.”
After years of suffering abuse in silence, women were brought together to express their need to be heard. During the Vietnam War 58, 000 soldiers were killed. While these brave soldiers were fighting for freedom in another country, here in America, 51,000 women were fighting their own war and lost.
The issue of women’s violence is one that has been downgraded and made to seem not as shocking as it really is. The Clothesline Project is one form of addressing the women’s fight against violence. It will not stop the violence completely, but will bring attention to the plight of women around the world.