Line after line of shirts representing women who have experienced or died from violence will be strung across the Texas A&M International University campus on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2 from 12 noon - 6 p.m. for "The Clothesline Project," a visual display on the impact of violence against women.
The Clothesline Project, the first to be held in Laredo, is sponsored by the University's Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative in cooperation with The Children's Coalition. April is nationally observed as "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" and "Child Abuse Prevention Month."
Clothesline Project organizer Viky Garcia, member of the Initiative committee and director of the University's Career Planning and Placement office, explained the two-day event will begin with a brief opening ceremony at 12 noon on April 1.
"Persons who attend the ceremony will be asked to form a circle. To symbolize that 'the circle is cast,' four women will face north, south, east and west, with each direction representing women's abused bodies; abused minds and ignored wisdom; suppressed rage and anger; and women's grief and pain, respectively," said Garcia.
The opening ceremony will also include speakers from the University, La Frontera Battered Women's Shelter, and a local high school women's group. A moment of silence will be requested and audible reminders of the level of violence against women will be sounded. A gong will strike to indicate that a woman is battered every 14 seconds in the US. A whistle will blow to indicate that every minute of every day more than one woman is raped in this country, and a bell will ring to indicate that every day in the US 3 to 4 women are killed by their partners.
After the Ceremony, visitors and participants may walk among the displayed shirts from 12 - 6 p.m. or visit information booths staffed from 12 - 4 p.m. by representatives from local and area agencies which assist victims of violence.
The displayed shirts were created by women who participated in Clothesline Projects in San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Shirts made for Clothesline Projects celebrate a woman's strength to survive and provide an avenue for victims to courageously break their silence.
Because the process of creating a shirt helps survivors heal emotionally, Garcia encourages local victims to create shirts for the Laredo Project.
"Women who are survivors of violence or friends and family of women who died from violence may create shirts prior to the event and bring the shirts to campus before April 1. Shirts may also be created in the company of other victims during the Clothesline Project. A secured area will be provided where victims and friends and family of victims may safely work," she said.
Those who wish to create their shirts during the Project should bring their shirts and supplies with them. The free services of a professional counselor from the University's Office of Student Health Services will be available for those preparing shirts.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.