The Clothesline Project is a traveling display that comes to a local University here in Utah every year. I hadn't heard about it until this year when I got an email from an organization that I subscribe to, saying that volunteers were needed. After learning more about The Clothesline Project, I found out that it was designed as a way to raise awareness about all types of abuse in our communities, and provide support to survivors and families to the victims of abuse. The Project offers T-shirts to visitors, who are then able to write anything they wish on the shirts, concerning their personal abuse experiences. Each color of shirt represents a different form of abuse. Anonymity is respected. Once finished, the shirts are then hung on display for others to read.
I'll be helping out with the Project tomorrow, but I went to see the displays today out of curiosity. Having been a victim of emotional and sexual abuse, I was kind of afraid to go. I wasn't sure what I would find there, and how I would react to reading about other people's experiences. The first thing I read was a flier that had posted about the statistics of abuse. They were shocking! It read:
Research indicates that...
Over 80% of teenage boys and girls report being sexually harassed at school.
1 in 12 women are stalked in their lifetime.
1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifetime.
1 in 10 boys is sexually assaulted by age 18.
Only 1 in 10 female, and 1 in 100 male rape victims report it to the police.
At least 3 out of 4 rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the victim.
In Utah, victims of rape range from 2 months to 94 years old.
While men perpetrate approximately 90% of all serious violence, in 75% of the cases, man and boys are the victims of serious violence.
Teenage boys of all racial and ethnic groups are more likely to die from gunshot would than from all natural deaths combined (for their age group).
Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to women age 15 to 44 in the United states-more than car accidents, muggings and rapes, combined.
Research Estimates that...
1 in 4 US men will use violence against his partner in his lifetime.
1 in 8 US men in any given year beat their wives or girlfriends.
1 in 3 pregnant US women are battered during their pregnancy.
These are terrible statistics!! I amazed at how many men, women, and children are abused each day. This is not acceptable, and I am so grateful that there are organizations (Like the Clothesline Project, and B.A.C.A., to name a few) who are devoting their time to raising awareness of abuse, and putting a stop to it.
Another thing that touched me was that there were sounds that were played throughout the time I was there. Each sound represented an abusive crime that had been commited, according to statistics. The gong, which rang every 10-12 seconds, indicated a woman reporting being physically assaulted; the whistle, which sounded every two minutes, indicated that a sexual assault is being reported; and the bell, which rang 3-4 times throughout the day, represented a woman being killed by her intimate partner. It was a sad, but true, reminder.
I walked through the aisles and aisles of T-shirts and could not help but shed some tears. There was such a solemn, yet uplifting spirit about. I felt, as I am sure the others present felt about themselves, that I was stronger than my past experiences. Here are some of the shirts that were on display. I did not have a lot of time, so I only got to see about half the shirts displayed, but they made for great pictures.
White: For individual who died as a result of violent attacks.
Yellow: For individuals who survived domestic violence, and other forms of physical assault.
Pink, Red, or Orange: For individuals who survived rape, or sexual assault.
Blue or Green: For individuals who survived incest, or childhood sexual abuse.
Lavender or Purple: For individuals attacked due to their (perceived) sexual orientation.
Black: For individuals who became disabled as the result of an attack, or were assaulted because of a disability.
Grey: For individuals who survived verbal, or emotional abuse.
Brown: For individuals who survived spiritual abuse.
To my mom, You are my Hero for standing up to dad when he would punch us. But I'm sorry that you had to be the PUNCHING BAG. -GT
I WAS RAPED BY MY FATHER! I WAS 5 YEARS OLD!
I cannot read the words between the rips, and I forgot to write them down, but the bottom says:
I AM REAL
(This one was my favorite)
I AM MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW, I AM MORE THAN A MOMENT, I AM ETERNAL.
This Shirt Should Be Red!!!
To my mom- Raped by her brother-in-law
all 3 of my gorgeous systas raped, and for me violated sexually by the same man who raped my mom.
...Bless us and you.
(A tribute to Lori Hacking)
Born: Dec. 31, 1976 in Los Angeles California
Admired - Loved - Cherished
Murdered & thrown away on July 19, 2004
Found ina landfill on Oct. 1, 2004
(The back of the above shirt)
Lori Kay Soares
Things are not always as they seem to be.
Don't keep their Secrets
I urge anyone who is the victim of abuse, or anyone who knows someone who is the victim of abuse to break the chain and tell someone about it! Reach out; be a motivator against violence, and do not let it go on!
To learn more about the Clothesline Project, click HERE.
To learn more about the Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.), click HERE.