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Clothesline Project seeks to spread awareness about interpersonal violence

Sixty-six white shirts with messages expressing solidarity with victims of sexual assault are currently hanging outside of Frist Campus Center, as part of the Clothesline Project,a national initiative which was started in order to raise public awareness about interpersonal violence.

The overarching aim of the project is to put up displays nationwide to show support for victims of sexual assault while also raising public awareness about crimes against women, according to theClothesline Project’s official website.

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Emily Kraeck '17, the vice president of education for Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education, was largely involved in organizing the project on campus. She said theClothesline Project is displayed every year during Sexual Assault Awareness month as part of Take Back the Night programming.

Take Back the Night, which took place on April 21 in the Butler Amphitheatre, is an event which takes place nationwide as a way to break the silence surrounding sexual violence.

This year, there are 66 shirts hanging up on the clothesline, which was the maximum number that organizers could fit on the line, according to Kraeck.

Kelly McCabe '18, a SHARE peer, said the project has historically been a joint collaboration between SHARE and the Women*s Center.

The shirts for this year were created during a study break at the Women*s Center on April 20 so that they could be hung up during Take Back the Night, according to McCabe.

McCabe, who has participated in theClothesline Project for the last two years, explained that students went to the Women*s Center last week to decorate plain, white shirts with messages for the project. Many shirts have messages of solidarity, such as “you are not alone” or “this is for you.”

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“There’s this one shirt that’s really powerful that says ‘I’m stronger and brighter than the stars that you hurt me under.’ So sometimes people address [the messages on the shirts] to their abusers,” she said.

Other shirts tie the campaign back to the University with messages such as “Princeton stands with survivors” and “sexual assault is a Princeton issue,” highlighting the fact that sexual harassment remains an issue on campus.

Jordan Dixon, program coordinator of the Women*s Center, said that she was really moved by the messages which people had shared.

“I would encourage everyone to take a moment to read the t-shirts and reflect on how they can create a safer community in their own way, in their own lives,” she said.

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In the past, the shirts were not always hung up in one large display, according to McCabe. Last year, some of the shirts were showcased in a small display in Frist, while other clotheslines were put up in the six residential colleges. However, McCabe noted that she thinks that it’s more powerful for people to see the entirety of the project in one large, common space.

McCabe noted that as a result of the shirts' prominent location, she has heard many students noticing and voicing positive feedback about the project. “A couple of people who have made shirts this year or in the past have expressed that they’re really happy to see them up where people can see them,” she noted.

Angélica Vielma '18, who has been involved with the project in the past, notedthat the Clothesline Project's increased visibility is really important in being able to spread a very important message about sexual assault.

"Due to confidentiality and privacy concerns, issues of sexual assault are usually, and justifiably, shrouded in anonymity. Being able to create a tangible and diverse show of support for survivors is meaningful and necessary," she said.

Frances Ling '19 noted that when she saw the shirts hanging outside Frist, she was reminded about "the important issue of sexual harassment that is easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our every day lives"

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