The Clothesline Project raises awareness of domestic violence


In honor of April’s domestic violence awareness month, The Clothesline Project has come to Shippensburg University.

The Clothesline Project, which began in Cape Cod, Mass., in 1990, is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt.

While making shirts seems fun, it is a powerful tool toward getting help.

The Clothesline Project notes, “It is the very process of designing a shirt that gives each woman a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of her life.

“Participating in this project provides a powerful step toward helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded her experience.”

Once the shirts are completed, they are hung on a clothesline open for public viewing.

The shirts provide powerful and anonymous testimony to the problem of violence against women.

Photo by Alexandra Nicastro / The Slate

The Clothesline Project shirts are on display at SU and Wilson College throughout April.

Along with opening communications about domestic violence, the shirts serve as a way for survivors to heal from their experiences through artistic expression.

The shirts are on display in the Ceddia Union Building from April 3 until April 10.

Shippensburg University was introduced to The Clothesline Project through Wilson College in 2010.

Stephanie Erdice, director of Shippensburg University’s Woman’s Center, said, “Students at Wilson had wanted to take part in the project but were concerned with anonymity due to the size of the school. Students worried their shirts could be linked back to them and became hesitant to begin The Clothesline Project.”

With interests so high at Wilson, they approached Shippensburg University to form a partnership.

Combining the shirts from Wilson College and Shippensburg University decreased the chances of association between student and shirt.

Different color shirts are used to represent the various forms of violence.

White — women who died because of violence; yellow/beige -— battered or assaulted women; red/pink/orange -— survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue/green — survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple/lavender — women attacked because of their sexual orientation; black — women attacked for political reasons.

While all those who have lived through violence have been victimized, they are not victims. The Clothesline Project defines a victim as “A woman who has died at the hands of their abuser.” The brave women who have lived to tell their stories are survivors.

The shirts are displayed at both Wilson College and Shippensburg University through April 10 and will end their tour on display at WIN Services of Franklin and Fulton County, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, WIN Services will be holding a vigil open to the public at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Chambersburg, Pa.

For more information on The Clothesline Project, visit their website at

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