T-shirts raise awareness of sexual violence in the community

Posted by Lori Shull - Wednesday, March 27 2013


thumb ClotheslineThe Tech Pride room in Tennessee Tech University’s Roaden University Center will be strung with T-shirts that bear witness to violence against women April 2.

The Clothesline Project is a national effort to raise and as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

“Witnessing the display can be part of the solution. It’s not boring. It’s not frightening. It’s inspirational,” said Diana Lalani, who works in the TTU Women’s Center.

The Clothesline Project started in Massachusetts in 1990 and since that time, the project has spread across the nation and world. Though the project began to highlight violence against women, TTU’s version has always been gender-neutral.

“Because violence is often perpetrated against women, people mistakenly believe this display is for women only, but we welcome all survivors and witnesses,” Lalani said.

T-shirts made in years past return to be hung, but every year, people affected by violence on the TTU campus and in the Cookeville community make more. Shirts are color-coded for people who have died or have been battered or attacked for their sexual orientation. Other shirts symbolize survivors of rape, sexual assault, incest or child abuse.

“Every year, as we pull out the familiar shirts and add the new ones, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by how many from campus and Cookeville are willing to share their accounts,” said Gretta Stanger, director of TTU’s Women’s Center and associate professor of sociology. “These shirts help others visualize behaviors that we may not want to recognize or talk openly about, things like child abuse, relationship violence and sexual assault.”

The shirts will be on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2. For information about creating or submitting a shirt to the Clothesline Project, visit www.tntech.edu/women/clothesline.

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