Clothesline Project to provide healing experience for survivors of assault

April 10, 2017 | Events, UToday
By Madison Vasko



Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence. As part of the efforts to draw awareness to the devastating effects these attacks have on families and individuals, the UT Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program will host the annual Clothesline Project.

“The Clothesline Project benefits victims of sexual assault and their family members by acting as a vehicle for them to express their emotions by decorating a shirt that they feel is representative of how they feel or how the assault has affected them,” said Lena Salpietro, graduate assistant for the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program. “It can be an integral part of the healing and recovery process because it provides another avenue for the individual to break the silence that can often surround their experience.”

The Clothesline Project display will be held Wednesday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall. If it rains, the display will be in the Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge.

The T-shirt collection, which currently holds more than 200 shirts, coordinates a color to many types of abuse: white for those who died because of violence; yellow and beige for battered and assaulted women; red, pink and orange for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green for survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple for those who were attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women attacked for political reasons.

“This event helps spark campus-wide discussions about sexual assault and aims to help convey the enormity of the problem of sexual assault. Other survivors are able to see tangible evidence that they are not alone and that there are resources on campus to support them,” Salpietro explained. “This display is also extremely influential for those who have the opportunity to view the collection of shirts; they are able to see that sexual assault is a pervasive issue and that real people are affected by it.”

Salpietro added there are many resources available for survivors of assault on UT campuses, including the Counseling Center, YWCA advocate, campus advocate, sexual assault and domestic violence counselor, and a 24/7 hotline — 419.530.3431. Title IX accommodations, advocacy and assistance filing a University complaint also are available.

If you would like to create a shirt to be included in the display, it may be brought to the Counseling Center in Rocket Hall Room 1810 during office hours, Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This event is one of many UT is holding for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For a complete list, click here.