(From The Campus Lantern – October 16, 2014)
For a few weeks now there have been decorated t-shirts hanging in the stairwell of the Student Center. The shirts are a part of the annual Clothesline Project here at Eastern, a visual display of t-shirts that spread awareness about domestic violence and abusive relationships.
The Project started in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1990, and has been happening at Eastern for the past few years. Students from the Women’s Center and Intercultural Center and members of on-campus clubs made the t-shirts, along with people on campus who may have been affected by domestic violence. Even people who haven’t been directly affected decorated t-shirts to show their support as allies of the cause.
Amber Domond, an Eastern student who works closely with the Women’s Center, said, “It was a profound experience to see all those people come in and show their support in ending domestic violence.”
The Clothesline Project gives victims, survivors, and allies a healthy outlet to voice their experiences with domestic violence. It is important that their stories are shared with the world to show support and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence.
Erika Sanchez, another student who works closely with the Women’s Center, said, “People take domestic violence lightly. They think it can’t happen to them, but the truth is that it’s very common and could be happening to their friends or family. The Clothesline Project helps to end the stigma that domestic violence is a joke.”
The Clothesline Project takes place during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which evolved from the first Day of Unity that was in October 1981. Eventually, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. It is important for college students to know that females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of intimate partner violence.
Next time you walk through the Student Center, take a look at the t-shirts hanging in the stairwell and show your support to those who are affected by domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about domestic violence, the coordinator of the Women’s Center, Starsheemar Byrum, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.