Clothesline Project gives opportunity to 'break the silence' on sexual assault

Video: Footage of the t-shirts from the Clothesline Project hanging near Student Union Building 1. The international initiative allows anyone to make t-shirts with messages pertaining to female victims of violence.

Turn Off the Violence week began Monday with the arrival of hand-painted t-shirts bearing the voices and messages of those affected by sexual assault. Dangling in the wind near the main sidewalks on George Mason University's campus, the t-shirts make up the Clothesline Project, which runs through Thursday and is one of the week's several activities designed raise awareness and prevent violence in relationships.

“The Clothesline Project is an international initiative to honor female victims of violence,” said Connie Kirkland, the director of Sexual Assault Services. The project has taken place at George Mason every year since 1997. The project features a clothesline with t-shirts that have been illustrated by students and faculty.

Kirkland said there are about 700 t-shirts from past projects that are hung up each morning and taken down at night. In addition, students and faculty are welcome to make their own t-shirts for the clothesline.

Kirkland said anyone can make t-shirts with messages pertaining to female victims of violence as long as the message is not one of revenge toward the perpetrators.

The clothesline will be placed between Student Union Building 1 and Harris Theater from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Tuesday features Take Back the Night, an international initiative that has been featured at Mason since 1988.

“Take Back the Night is supposed to empower young students and make them feel OK about being outside at night,” Kirkland said. “We’ll have speakers talking about services around campus and some survivors (of violence) who will detail their experience.”

Kirkland said there will also be a performance. The assembled crowd will then march around campus. The evening will conclude with a reception at the Johnson Center.

Survivor Space, an event that allows people who want to quietly discuss an incident with counselors and advocates, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the grove between SUB 1 and Harris Theater.

The counselors are from Sexual Assault Services and Counseling and Psychological Services, Kirkland said.

The final event of the week is “The Goddess Diaries,” a play written by Carol Campbell, an Oakton playwright.

“The play is about many stages of a woman’s life,” Kirkland said. She said it features dancers and music.

“It’s a good place to go on a Saturday night,” Kirkland said. This will be the first time the play is performed on Mason’s campus. Admission is $5 with proceeds going to the Mason Victims of Violence Fund.

The play will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Harris Theater.


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