North Texas Daily

Clothesline Project hosts first event at Discovery Park

Clothesline Project hosts first event at Discovery Park

A row of different colored shirts dries in the sun at the Clothesline Project event Tuesday afternoon at Library Mall. Tiffany Ditto | Contributing Photographer

Clothesline Project hosts first event at Discovery Park
October 17
00:31 2016
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Clothesline Project organizers stand with their shirts at Discovery Park Oct. 11  | Crystal Arevalo-Vazquez

In hopes to raise awareness about domestic violence against women, the University of North Texas Multicultural Center and the Denton County Friends of the Family, will host several events for domestic violence awareness month throughout October.

One of the events, the Clothesline Project, plans to honor victims of domestic violence by allowing students, faculty, or anyone wanting to participate to decorate T-shirts with encouraging stories or messages for survivors. At Discovery Park on Tuesday, students got the change to participate.

Uyen Tran-Parsons, co-chairperson of the Domestic Violence Committee at UNT believes the project gives participants the ability to give a voice to many who don’t have one. It gives participants the opportunity to speak their minds whether it’s a survivor or for a friend or family member who has been affected by domestic violence.

“It allows people to engage to the extent they are comfortable with,” Tran-Parsons said. “Not everyone is an extrovert activist but this is one way you can still speak up and speak loud for those who aren’t able to.”

The committee, which is housed out to the survivors advocate office through the Dean of Students, is one of many committees with the mission to bring awareness and educate people about domestic violence.

The clothesline project is a national movement that started in 1990 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts to bring awareness to communities about violence against women. Since then, the project has expanded to college campuses. The project serves as a way for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a blank shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be displayed for others to see and share their experiences.

“We’ve had the opportunity to host the project for 8-10 years on campus,”said Damian Torres director of the multicultural center. “This project is one of many ways we can outwardly express support and advocate for individuals that have been impacted by violence. Not just to be able to identify with domestic violence but also to advocate for someone, I have read a lot of stories that say ‘my sister’ or ‘my mom.’”

This was the first year the multicultural center hosted the event at Discovery Park in order to reach out to more students. The multicultural center funds all the supplies for the event.

“We have a bin of blank t-shirts, every color represents a different type of violence,” Torres said.

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A shirt hangs on a clothesline at Discovery Park. A white shirt depicts a person who has died from domestic violence. | Crystal Arevalo-Vazquez

The shirts are color-coded to show the form of abuse and if the victim survived the abuse they suffered. White shirts represent women who died because of violence; yellow or beige represents battered or assaulted women; red, pink, and orange are for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green t-shirts represent survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple or lavender represents women attacked because of their sexual orientation; black is for women attacked for political reasons.

“Ultimately, we want to make it easy for students or anyone walking by wanting to participate,” Torres said.

Every semester, the multicultural center hosts the project at least once, this semester they have hosted it three times. In the spring, the project is typically hosted in April during sexual assault awareness month. The objective is to give a voice to those victims who have been marginalized or give a voice to those who aren’t able to speak up with some of those items, Torres said.

For Tran-Parsons, the event allows her to peek into the lives of her fellow classmates.

“I think it’s very important for people to understand that domestic violence happens on a college campus,” Tran-Parsons said. “Getting to see the stories that our students write on the shirts is one way for see personally that it can be the person you’ll sitting next to in your class.”

Lee Stovall who is a graduate assistant at the multicultural center with the duty of taking over the project and coordinating it, has enjoyed the feedback from participants.

“It’s really important to create awareness and facilitate dialogue surrounding issues like sexual assault and domestic violence,” Stovall said. “I think the feedback has been pretty positive overall.”

The final showcasing of the project will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 20th in UNT’s Library Mall.

About Author

Crystal Arevalo-Vazquez

Crystal Arevalo-Vazquez

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