Abuse Survivors Invited to Participate in University's Clothesline Project

Women who are survivors of violence and family and friends of murdered women are invited to create shirts representing their experience for "The Clothesline Project," a visual display to he held at Texas A&M International University April 6 - 7.

The Clothesline Project puts a human face on the statistics of violence against women, explained event organizer Viky Garcia, director of A&M International's Career Planning and Placement office.

"The Project celebrates the strength of survivors and provides a testimonial to those who did not survive. It educates the public about violence against women, increases awareness, and, most importantly, provides an avenue for healing and recovery," explained Garcia.

Because the process of creating a shirt helps survivors break the silence and helps those who lost a loved one to violence express their deep loss, she encourages anyone who has been affected by this type of violence to create a shirt for the Clothesline Project.

T-shirts, shirts, and blouses created for the Project should be made of durable material and, if possible, should utilize the following color-coding system established by the Project: white for women who have been murdered; yellow or beige for women who have been battered or assaulted; red, pink, or orange for women who have been raped or sexually assaulted; blue or green for women who are survivors of incest or childhood sexual abuse; and purple or lavender for women who have been attacked because of their sexual orientation.

The color code is not mandatory if a different color or pattern has a special significance or if a shirt worn by the survivor or murder victim is used.

Shirts may be created using permanent paints, markers, embroidery, stitchery, or other embellishments.

"You don't have to be an artist to create a moving tribute. A shirt can be simple or elaborate. The power is in the personal," said Garcia.

Messages, poems, or pictures may be incorporated into the shirt design to convey a personal remembrance or tribute. For privacy and for legal reasons, only first names or initials may be used. Shirts for murdered women may also include date of birth and death and any pertinent information about her death.

Shirts should be submitted to A&M International's Office of Career Planning and Placement, located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library room 157, by April 2.

All submitted shirts become the property of A&M International's Clothesline Project and will not be returned since they will be displayed in Clothesline Projects for years to come.

Shirts submitted by local survivors, along with shirts from San Antonio and Corpus Christi Clothesline Projects, will be displayed on clotheslines strung across the grounds of A&M International on April 6 - 7. The two-day display is sponsored by the University's Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative. The Initiative first brought the Clothesline Project to Laredo last year.

For more information on creating a shirt for the Clothesline Project, please contact Garcia at 326-2260. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Additional information may also be obtained by email at vgarcia@tamiu.edu or gabym@tamiu.edu.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu