Airing dirty laundry

There have been numerous memorials made for many events, such as wars, battles and other tragedies. Officials are already discussing how to memorialize the victims of the heinous terrorist acts in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

But one tragedy that has gone largely unrecognized is the tragedy of sexual violence against women and children in America. In the Clothesline Project, victims, friends and family members of victims design shirts documenting their experiences and ?airing society?s dirty laundry? on clotheslines. The project is on display at Centre Gallery in the Marshall Center through Friday.

You bastard
I was only 4 years old


The founders of the Clothesline Project aim to increase awareness of violence against women and children by having the victims and survivors memorialize their own struggles. Some students may remember the project from last spring semester, when it was displayed outside the Marshall Center.

?I had never been so torn apart than I was when I first saw the project, and I believe the gallery setting will help it gain more exposure,? said junior Michelle Rehrig, coordinator of the gallery exhibition.

You were supposed to be
my best friend


With white walls and a lack of ornamentation, Centre Gallery?s atmosphere lends poignancy to the project. Most visitors walk through the exhibit in respectful silence, and this contributes to what has been deemed ?The Silent War? of violence against women and children.

More than a thousand Clothesline Projects have been established since 1994 worldwide, yielding more than 75,000 shirts. The project has become a national symbol to raise awareness of sexual and gender violence in America.

For all the little girls &
boys who have to learn
that “No” doesn’t mean


Another goal of the Clothesline Project is to honor the survivors and victims of violence.

?Visitors are encouraged to design their own shirts in the gallery or bring a designed shirt from home,? said Rehrig.

Most contributions are anonymous, or they just include first names, such as, ?For Rachel.?

?This is one of few shows we?ve done that is interactive, where visitors have the opportunity to create the art,? said Gina Benedetto, assistant gallery director.

The Clothesline Project also provides a forum for dialogue regarding issues of violence against women and a network of support and information. Shirts have been designed by victims and survivors of rape, incest, child abuse, domestic violence and persecution for actual or perceived sexual orientation.

And this is not just for women, as shirts dealing with sexual violence against men and violence against homosexuals are represented.

13 years have passed
and it still burns


Each shirt is like a page out of the diary of someone who has had to cope with violence.

Still, many students may not view this exhibition as high art by any stretch of the imagination, but this is not the point.

?I found it ironic that (negative) emotions can lead to healing,? said one viewer.

Sexual abuse facts

One in three American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime ? the highest rate in any country that compiles this information.

  • Sixty-one percent of all rape cases involve victims who are less than 18 years old
  • Only one in 25 college rape victims report the crime to the police
  • One in four female college students have either been raped or suffered attempted rape
  • Rape victims are 8.7 times more likely to attempt suicide
  • Four women per day die at the hands of male partner
  • Among college students, 22 percent report having experienced physical violence in one or more dating relationships
  • Every two minutes a women is sexually assaulted somewhere in America

    (Source: Clothesline Project)

    The Marshall Center Gallery is located at CTR 102. For more information contact gallery director Sunni Barbera at 974-5464

    Contact Andrew Pinaat