Students Prepare for
Annual Clothesline Project
by Maryanne Tomazic '10
Last year's Clothesline Project attracted a wide response on campus.
Every year along the front sidewalk of Parrish Hall, a line of shirts are pinned up along a clothesline. Brought to campus in 2004 by Veronica Lim '07, Nicole Belanger '08, and Patrick Rock '09, the Clothesline Project encourages community members who are affected by sexual violence to express themselves anonymously by decorating t-shirts and then displaying them. Through the shirts they make, participants are able to raise awareness about the issue and remind students that, while Swarthmore may be a relatively safe place, acts of violence still affect those here.
According to event organizers, the Clothesline Project often serves as a method of healing for survivors and their family and friends. "There's this huge stigma that is associated with coming out as a survivor, especially as a woman," notes Ally Grein '10, this year's coordinator. "It allows people to air their experiences, thoughts, and feelings without having their shirt be attached to them."
Members of Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi will run this year's Handprint Pledge Project.
Shirts are provided a week before the unveiling around campus in Upper Tarble, the Gender Education Office, and Worth Health Center. Each t-shirt color corresponds with a category of sexual violence: red shirts represent rape or sexual assault, blue stands for incest or sexual abuse, white for murder, yellow for domestic violence, and purple for violence because of perceived queer or trans identity.
This year, members of Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi will run the Handprint Pledge Project under the direction of the Clothesline Project Committee. The Handprint Pledge allows people of all genders to place their handprint on a sheet of cloth to symbolize their pledge to not act violently towards another in a sexual manner. Community members will have an opportunity to provide their handprints during the airing of the clothesline t-shirts.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, there are several campus resources available. Assisant Dean and Gender Education Adviser Karen Henry '87, the SMART Team, and the Counseling and Psychological Services staff are all available for support and any questions you may have. Public Safety and Worth Health Center are also available 24 hours to provide needed care. If you are interested in joining Swat Survivors, a closed group for victims of sexual violence, contact SwatSurvivors@hotmail.com for more information.