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The Clothesline Project


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In 2014 alone, nearly 240,000 sexual assaults will occur in the U.S. – nearly one every two minutes, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

The Clothesline Project pays tribute to those impacted by sexual assault, and serves as a voice for those who wish to share their stories and “break the silence.”

The Clothesline Project hopes to:

* Bear witness to survivors and victims of sexual assault.

* Help with the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or are survivors of violence.

* Educate, document and raise societal awareness to the extent of the problem.

* Provide a nationwide network of support, encouragement and information.

The Clothesline Project began in Cape Cod, Mass. in 1990 to address the issue of sexual violence. “It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt.”

The tradition began with a clothesline and a shirt – “women’s work.”

Within the Clothesline Project, individuals decorate shirts – telling their stories and sharing their struggles. From writing a personal statement, to leaving the shirt in tatters, individuals are encouraged to represent themselves and their experiences.

“It’s a healing process for many people,” said Lynn Otterson, Women’s Center director.

This year marks UIS’ 20th year partaking in the project. Shirts made by individuals this year, as well as years prior will be on display in the LRH Lobby during Take Back the Night this Friday.

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