Women Victims of Violence Invited to Participate in Clothesline Project

Women who are survivors of violence and friends and family of women who died from violence are invited to submit shirts created to represent their experiences for "The Clothesline Project," a public visual display that humanizes the statistics of violence against women.

Shirts submitted by local survivors along with over 100 shirts from San Antonio and Corpus Christi Clothesline Projects will be displayed on clotheslines strung across the grounds of Texas A&M International University on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2 from 12 noon - 6 p.m. The event, the first of its kind to be held in Laredo, will begin with a brief "Healing Ceremony" at 12 noon on April 1. Representatives from La Frontera Halfway House will participate in the ceremony. A 9-1-1 tape will be played, a moment of silence will be requested, then April will be proclaimed as "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" and "Child Abuse Prevention Month." After the Ceremony, visitors and participants may meet with representatives from area agencies that deal with women, sexual assault and domestic violence, and view the Clothesline Project display. The two-day event is sponsored by the University's Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative.

The Clothesline Project educates, documents, and raises society's awareness, explained event organizer Viky Garcia, member of the Initiative committee and director of the University's Career Planning and Placement office.

"The Clothesline Project increases awareness of the impact of violence against women. It also celebrates a woman's strength to survive, and provides an avenue for victims to courageously break their silence," said Garcia.

She added that the process of making a shirt for the Project helps the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or who are survivors of this violence.

Shirts, blouses or t-shirts submitted for The Clothesline Project should be made of durable material and, if possible, should follow the color-coding system established by the Project to signify different acts of violence on women.

White shirts are for women who have died from acts of violence against them. Yellow or beige shirts represent women who have been battered or assaulted. Red, pink or orange shirts represent women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. Black shirts represent victims of gang rape. Blue or green shirts signify women who are survivors of incest or child sexual abuse. Purple or lavender represents women who have been attacked because they are lesbian or are perceived to be lesbian. Grey is symbolic of attacks due to race, color or creed.

The color code is not mandatory if a different color or pattern has a special significance for the victim.

Shirts for a survivor should be submitted by the survivor herself. If this is not possible, shirts should be submitted by a friend or family member with the survivor's written permission To respect the survivor's privacy, only first names or initials should be used on submitted shirts. For legal reasons, the submitted shirts may display only the perpetrator's first name or initials.

Shirts for women who died from violence may be submitted by friends or relatives. These shirts should have the woman's name, date of birth and death, hometown, and any other pertinent information about her death. A shirt worn by the victim may be used, if desired.

Shirts may be submitted to A&M International's Office of Career Planning and Placement, located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library room 157 West, prior to the event. Shirts may also be brought to the event on April 1 or 2.

All submitted shirts become the property of The Clothesline Project and will not be returned.

Those who prefer to prepare shirts in the company of other victims may bring their shirts and supplies to the University during The Clothesline Project. A secured area where victims and friends and family of victims may safely work will be provided. The free services of a professional counselor from the University's Office of Student Health Services will be available for those preparing shirts.

Garcia said that shirts can be created using permanent paints, markers, embroidery, stitchery, or other embellishments. Shirts can be simple or elaborate.

"You do not need to be an artist to create a moving personal tribute. The beauty of this project comes from remembrance and the process of healing and recovery," said Garcia.

For more information on The Clothesline Project at A&M International April 1 - 2, please contact Garcia at 326-2260 or the University's Office of Student Health Services at 326-2235. 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