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The Clothesline Project: Sexual Assault Awareness Month at South

The Clothesline Project

April 24, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to honor the survivors and raise awareness among students, staff and community members, South Seattle College’s Gender Equity Center is participating in The Clothesline Project.

Beginning in 1990, The Clothesline Project addresses the issue of violence against women, and invites those affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts are then hung on a clothesline to be viewed as testimony to the problem of violence. A clothesline was chosen to reflect close-knit neighborhoods where women would often exchange information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry, and to echo laundry work, which has historically been considered a women's role.

The Gender Equity Center’s clothesline is on display just outside their office in the Jerry Brockey Student Center, and features t-shirts of all colors and sizes marked with drawings and phrases reflecting on impacts of violence. Each t-shirt displayed outside the Gender Equity Center represents a different form of abuse.

“I wanted to make sure that we were sending a message to the campus community,” says Sol Damaris Mendez, Program Manager for South’s Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. “I intentionally put a piece of paper next to the clothesline, so when people are looking at it they can write down their initials. It helps people see that there are people on this campus that are aware of this problem.”

“The project is important because it shows that we have a strong support system here on campus,” says Ula Maaele, a student employee in the Gender Equity Center. “There is a lot of blame when it comes to sexual assault, especially among its victims, so I hope that the project brings up some conversations among students.”

“It’s so important that people feel safe in a learning environment,” says Lauifi Tauiliil, an A.A.A. Network Administration student at South. “My hope is by raising awareness among men and women, people will start educating themselves, and then start making the necessary changes not only in themselves but in our communities.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, contact one of following resources: