By Jennifer Contreras
Cal Poly Pomona’s Violence Prevention and Women’s Resource Center hosted their annual Clothesline Project last week, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
A clothesline was strung across an area of the University Quad, displaying shirts that the center has collected over several years. Each shirt had a written message and had been created by victims of domestic violence. Other shirts created by students, faculty and staff were also displayed to commemorate someone they knew who experienced the trauma of domestic violence.
Each component of the Clothesline Project has a significant meaning. The clothesline symbolizes the shared experiences, whether similar or different, that victims have a support structure.
Information on the clothesline stated that different resources are available for victims at the VPWRC.
The white shirts on display represented victims who have died as a result of domestic violence. The yellow shirts symbolized women and children who have been battered or assaulted. The red, pink and orange shirts were for women and children who have been sexually assaulted or raped.
The blue and green shirts represented woman and children who have survived incest. The purple and lavender shirts were for women and children who have been attacked for their sexual orientation.
Some of the shirts on display had short quotes written by its creator. Statements included “I never saw it coming,” “I do not have to forgive I will never forget daddy” and “Domestic violence never happens just once.” One shirt mentioned a sexual orientation attack, stating “Don’t b mad at me 4 being GAY, if you don’t like it, STAY AWAY!”
There were a number of shirts that had descriptive stories printed on the fronts. One shirt had a message that said, “She was 12, he was 19. He raped her. She thought it was love. Cuz that’s what he told her. He raped her until she was 18. Her parents knew about it and did nothing. So I do it all for her.”
Pachet Bryant, a second-year apparel merchandising and management student, is a part of the V Team, a club on campus that is associated with the VPWRC.
Bryant believes that the shirts provide a form of expression for victims of domestic violence.
“It’s their shirt,” said Bryant. “They can absolutely do whatever they want. It’s their expression, so this is pretty much a project to allow women and men to be able to express themselves. It’s pretty much a way to move forward from whatever past they may have.”
The Clothesline Project began in 1990. Victims use the project as a testimonial to show others that victims can become survivors of assault, rape and/or incest. Some view this project as a way to “air dirty laundry.”
The VPWRC said that the event has been more successful in prior years. In previous years, they once had numerous campus community members lending a hand. However, with a late start this year, they were short on volunteers.
Jairo Pineda / The Poly Post
Clothesline Project 2014
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