– April 26th, 2013 by Alana Jeralds –

Each t-shirt tells a story

A clothesline of T-shirts hung in Mercer gym April 24 through 27, but these weren’t normal T-shirts, for each represented a different type of violence experienced by actual men and women.

One would not expect a T-shirt to mean so much, but The New Hampshire Clothesline Project shines a new light on what a simple shirt can stand for.

Along with the shirts stood red, wooden figures appearing as women. Each displayed a card upon their chest, reading their name, age, date of death, and how the woman died.

Ashley Cail, a student who organized the Clothesline Project this year, explains more about the cause, “The main purpose of the NHCLP is to raise awareness and to put a stop to domestic and sexual violence. This is something that happens too often and physically, as well as emotionally, scars those victims and their loved ones. Domestic and sexual violence does not only affect women, but men and children alike.”

The color of each shirt labeling what sort of violence occurred to the man or woman. White standing for women who have died from violence; yellow or beige representing women who have been battered or assaulted; red, pink, or orange for women who have been either sexually molested or raped; blue or green for women who survived incest or child sexual abuse; purple or lavender standing for women who have been attacked due to their sexual orientation; gray representing men who have been either victims or survivors of domestic or sexual violence and/or attacked because of their sexual orientation.

Cail, who is very supportive of this cause, says, “The amount of shirts that are on display is overwhelming, but the real emotion is when spectators start reading the shirts themselves. Most shirts have powerful messages of survival as well as death… It is a very powerful and emotional display of courage and inspiration since victims are able to, in a way, tell their story or have a loved one tell a story in memorial to break the silence.”

Freshman, Julia Isles, felt as though the amount of violence represented in the room appeared as “shocking” and Freshman, Carly Jennings, explained that the event as a whole was “inspirational.”

T-Shirt’s read, “I’m worthwhile, not worthless”; “Just a little girl where innocence was robbed before she was even big enough to wear this shirt”; “Speak up, make a difference”; “Put a stop to domestic violence.”

Shirts of different colors cluttered the gym, covering a substantial amount of space. The idea that each shirt represented a harmful event truly affected students who went to the event.

A Sophomore, Angela Brown, was moved to tears while looking at the T-shirts, “I literally teared-up and got all red and stuffy, especially after reading what each color meant. There are so many victims of such terrible things. It’s heartbreaking.”

Any student who attended the event had the option to decorate a shirt to represent any domestic violence she or he has known. These shirts could be created for the students, or they could be created for a loved one. The idea of this is to let those harmed by domestic violence to be able to let their emotions flood into the shirt, and then the shirt is able to be served as a testimony to the problem of violence.

Cail spoke of the importance of these shirts, “For these shirts to be made and put on display, this shows that people, men, women and children alike, are starting to have the courage to speak out and put a stop to domestic and sexual violence. It is a part of their healing process and may in turn inspire another who has been victimized to speak out and share their story of hope.”

Find more information about The Clothesline Project at: http://www.clotheslineproject.org


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