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2013 Spring Issue 4 (May 3, 2013)

Clothesline Project Raises Awareness of Sexual Violence

May 5, 2013
By Ben Strauss

This past Saturday, students gathered in the Sayles Hill Lounge to make t-shirts with markers and fabric paint and support victims of sexual violence. One out of every five women will suffer sexual violence in their lifetime, so there are approximately one billion survivors of sexual violence in the world.

“The right to one’s own body, the right to one’s own chosen sexual encounters, and the right to trust the ones you love are inherent rights,” said Diana Fraser ’14, a President of Pro-Choice Minnesota at Carleton.

“It is the very process of designing a shirt,” according to the Clothesline Project, “that gives each woman a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of her life. Participating in this project provides a powerful step towards helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded her experience.”

Each shirt color supports the suffering of a different abuse. White represents women who died because of violence; yellow or beige represents battered or assaulted women; red, pink and orange are for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green shirts represent survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple or lavender represent women attacked because of their sexual orientation; black is for women attacked for political reasons.

The Carleton clothesline will also contain support messages for survivors of abuse. “The survivors need to know that they are strong, capable, and loved,“ said Fraser.

According to the Clothesline Project, “They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.” Soon, Carleton’s clothesline will occupy a section of the Baldspot to spread awareness about the issue of violence against women.

In the end, the Clothesline will serve as an important reminder of victims who died from abuse and support for those who survived it.  The Clothesline “…will continue next year adding on to the shirts, stories, and support of this year. It will keep building and continue to represent Carleton students’ stories,” Fraser said.

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