"Raped me, beat me, stole my pride and faith, and made me afraid...but my spirit rose up and I found courage and hope."
That's one of the messages told in The Clothesline Project, a public display that educates, documents, calls attention to violence against women, and celebrates women's strength to survive.
Texas A&M International University will host a free exhibit of The Clothesline Project on Monday, April 3 and Tuesday, April 4, from 12 - 7 p.m. both days, with an opening day ceremony at 6 p.m. Monday, April 3 on the University Green.
The opening day ceremony will include a brief address by Sister Rosemary Welsh, a performance by the University's Dance Troupe directed by Bede Leyendecker, the playing of an abuse victim's 9-1-1 call, a moment of silence for victims and survivors of violence. The ceremony will also include participation from the Girl Scouts, Cigarroa High School's "Secrets to Success," Casa de Misericordia, and the District Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit.
The public is cordially invited to attend the opening day ceremony and the exhibit.
The Clothesline Project exhibit features over 120 t-shirts, each created by or for women who have experienced violence. Each shirt tells a woman's personal story of pain, fear, horror, and of her unbreakable spirit and victory over violence. Over 30 of the featured shirts were created by local survivors. The other featured shirts were created by survivors from San Antonio and Corpus Christi.
Local survivors who wish to add a shirt to the exhibit may submit their shirt to the University's Office of Public Affairs, located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268. A secured area will also be provided on campus from 12 - 5 p.m. both on days of the exhibit where survivors and friends and family of survivors may safely create shirts for the Laredo Clothesline Project. A limited number of shirts and supplies will be available for those who wish to create shirts and free counseling services will be available for those preparing shirts.
The Clothesline Project shirts will be displayed strung on clothesline along the University Green. Clothesline Project exhibits are displayed in the fashion because doing laundry has traditionally been considered women's work and this is a project by women for women; because women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their laundry and this is a project in which women share their experiences and form strengthening bonds; and because this is a public display, hung for all to see, that "airs society's dirty laundry."
As visitors walk among the shirts, they will hear audible reminders of violence against women. A gong will strike every 14 seconds to indicate the rate at which women are battered in the US, and a whistle will blow every 60 seconds to indicate that in America more than one woman is raped every minute of every day. A bell will also ring to indicate that every day in America 3 to 4 women are killed by their partners.
The concept of Clothesline began in 1990 in Massachusetts and has since been used throughout the world.
The Laredo Clothesline Project began in 1998 through the University's Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative. This is the third consecutive year the University has hosted the exhibit. The University holds the event every April in observance of "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" and "Child Abuse Prevention Month."
For more information on The Clothesline Project at A&M International April 3 - 4, please contact the University's Office of Public Affairs at 326-2180. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.
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