The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Clothesline Project, private chance to heal through public display

The Clothesline Project is on display at Brooks Campus through the month of April. Photos by Anaiah Liserio

By Anaiah Liserio

Break the silence, share your story.

Words like “rape,” “stop,” “no,” “sex,” and a questioning of “why?” fill the once blank fabric of T-shirts at this year’s Clothesline Project at Texas A&M-San Antonio held April 1-30 in recognition of Violence Prevention Month.

The Clothesline Project continues from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. today in Room 339 of Main Campus Building, and 3 p.m.-6 p.m. in Room 128 of Brooks City-Base Campus. T-shirts are provided.

The Clothesline Project is a national program that addresses the issues of violence against women by displaying T-shirts emblazoned with personal stories, some painful to read, that memorialize individuals’ experience by making public — some for the very first time — stories of violence, battery, assault, incest, rape and abuse. The project provides healing to survivors of violence and educates the public on the prevalence of violence.

Student life and wellness kicked off the project April 2 in Room 339 of Main Campus Building, and in Room 128 of Brooks City-Base Campus by throwing a T-shirt party.

The T-shirt party is an event that gives survivors the opportunity to share their own experience, or someone else’s experience with sexaul assault or violence by writing their story on a blank T-shirt according to color. Each color represents an event of sexaul assault or violence.

  • White: Someone has died because of violence.
  • Yellow/ Beige: Someone who has been battered or assaulted.
  • Pink/ Red/ Orange: Survivors of rape and sexual assault.
  • Blue/ Green: Survivors of incest and sexaul abuse.
  • Purple: Someone attacked because of their sexual orientation.
  • Black: Someone attacked for political reasons.
T-shirts hang from the stairwell at Main Campus as part of Violence Prevention Month. Students are invited to write down their own stories of violence or tell the story of someone who has been affected.

T-shirts donated from the “I heart my university” T-shirt swap will be given to all participants.

“I haven’t had a chance to read all the T-shirts,” business accounting junior Elaine Dishman said of the T-shirts at Brooks Campus, adding that one “tugged on my emotional strings.”

The mentioned T-shirt describes a young girl who was molested by a family member.

“It’s kind of sad, especially if the parent didn’t believe the child,” Dishman said. “I have relatives in the Philippines and there’s a lot of child abuse there but it’s getting better.”

Rape and Crisis Center statistics reported that one in four college women between the ages of 18 and 25 and one in five men are sexually assaulted.

“The sad thing is that 60 percent will never report it,” volunteer coordinator Nicole Castro said.

Castro added that the Clothesline Project is a great move for sexual assault awareness and a great form of artistic expression.

“The social stigma is that no one wants to talk about it,” Castro said. “People are very prone to blame the victim.”

According the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, which makes an average of 207,754 victims of rape and sexaul assault each year.

The San Antonio Police department’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) showed 492 reported cases of rape, 4,672 cases of aggravated assault and 89 cases of homicide.

“I think recognition programs where people with similar stories share their victimization is a great healing aspect,” said Chief John E. Coleman, associate vice president for campus safety and security. “Violence is something I am very familiar with. I’ve seen violence, victimization, and when people are violated especially with violent encounters people never feel safe or trust again.”

Coleman briefly shared a personal family story. He said his cousin was murdered violently 30 years ago at the age of 19.

“She was sexaully assaulted and stabbed,” Coleman said. “Her parents never got over it. It changed them forever.”

Both exhibits are displayed along the staircase at Main Campus, and at the main entrance windows of Brooks Campus.

For more information, call Jolene DesRoches at 210-784-1336

Join the Conversation

© 2024 Jaguar Student Media | Texas A&M University-San Antonio. All Rights Reserved. All Rights Reserved.
San Antonio Website Design & Development - Backyard Studios
Join Our Newsletter

Get the Mesquite News delivered straight to you.