Clothesline Project makes declaration against sexual assault with high turnouts

 

Mamta Badlani, Staff Writer

University students displayed high levels of participation the week of Sept. 28 decorating t-shirts for the Clothesline Project, a community service event that bears witness to sexual assault and dating violence on campus and around the world.

The Clothesline Project has been in existence since 1990 in hopes of addressing the issue of violence against women. The program eventually reached global magnitudes, providing an international support network for survivors of violence.

This year, many student-run organizations including sports teams and the Greek community encouraged its members to attend and get involved. Students were able to create 59 shirts in just 90 minutes during a t-shirt decorating session on Sept. 28, forcing the event’s organizers to purchase more shirts.

The act of decorating a shirt aids in the healing process for victims of violence and raises awareness for the problem of violence against women. Each shirt may express an individual’s experience, the experience of someone else, or even a stand against domestic violence, Polly Englot ’16 said.

“Personally, I was motivated to be one of the main organizers because I’m a visual person and I love having a physical, colorful representation of declarations against sexual assault and dating violence, as well as declarations of support for survivor-victims of these crimes,” Englot said.

This project was made possible through collaboration between the Women’s Resource Center and Speak UP Bucknell.

“The Women’s Resource Center and Speak UP Bucknell have a shared mission in addressing sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on campus. Since Speak UP’s inception in 2012, the peers have been valuable partners in creating the Clothesline Project, staffing the t-shirt making sessions and helping to promote and install the project,” Director of the Women’s Resource Center Tracy Russell said.

“This event creates a venue for the voices of survivors and those who care about them to share their stories and take a stand,” Russell said.

The Clothesline Project is also a preview for October’s “No More” campaign. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is dedicated to increasing awareness and promoting the dialogue of such issues.

Students are encouraged to take notice of the decorated shirts on display and the meanings behind them. The shirts will be on display from Oct. 16 to Nov. 1 in the Bertrand Library stairwell.

“Our hope is that the display of the Clothesline in the library will be a source of comfort or encouragement for survivor-victims, and that it also helps to publicly reaffirm that our campus does not accept or tolerate these violent acts—even perhaps a demonstration of outrage that these crimes continue to be perpetrated,” Englot said.

“The project is designed to encourage people to realize and acknowledge that these issues happen everywhere, including Bucknell, and how we come together to support survivors and take a stand to prevent these issues are of critical importance,” Russell said.

Students can also look forward to the annual Take Back the Night event which will be hosted on the Smith Quad on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

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