The University of West Georgia Health Education Department hosted the Clothesline Project in Love Valley Oct. 24-27. This project is to raise awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. During the days of the event, students, faculty and staff were able to decorate a white shirt with their story or a message to others and have them displayed on a clothesline around Love Valley.
“We believe that every month is Domestic Violence Awareness month,” said Omarion Smart, Health Educator and Peer Mentor at the University of West Georgia. “You should never ignore victims or diminish their stories and we should encourage those who have and have not come out and share their experiences.”
The white shirts were decorated with a variety of colors, with each color representing a different group of survivors. White represents those we have lost due to violence. Yellow represents battered and assaulted victims. Red, pink and orange represents survivors of rape and sexual assault. Blue or green represents survivors of incest or child sexual violence. Purple represents those attacked due to gender identity or sexual orientation. Finally, black represents women who are attacked for political reasons.
“We’ve had a really large turn out,” said Smart. “The students on campus really showed how much they support each other and support our victims. My favorite part of this event is seeing all of the messages lined up next to each other. Seeing the student body come together to support those who have been wronged, or are still being wronged and haven’t spoken out.”
This project provides UWG’s community a new way to speak out against violence. It gives survivors a new avenue to share their story, and allies a new way to show their support.
Hanging each t-shirt up in a visual display allows viewers to see just how many students have been impacted by sexual and domestic violence. The event provides insight into the statistics that oftentimes are ignored or looked over.
“We are here to give a voice to the voiceless and encourage survivors to share their stories,” said Smart.
The Clothesline Project aims to increase awareness of the impact of violence and abuse, to honor a survivor’s strength to continue and to provide another avenue for them to courageously break the silence that often surrounds their experience.
If you or someone you know have experienced sexual or domestic violence or abuse please reach out to Patient/Victim Advocates on campus at (678)-839-0641 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-(800)-656-4673.