Clothesline Project does more than air dirty laundry

Clothesline Project does more than air dirty laundry

In the spring of 2007, I was enrolled in Dr. Kedron Bardwell’s Advanced Public Policy class. As a political science major, I thought it would be a good way to get another elective finished.

As class started, I expected the usual: some packets, some readings and some papers. I had no inkling that an assignment for Dr. Bardwell would help me find my passion and turn into a huge part of my life.

As a major portion of the class, each student was supposed to pick a world social issue and find a project that would educate the Simpson community about it.

As I was thinking, I pondered major social issues. Should I do something about poverty? Or AIDS? Hunger? I decided that I would focus on violence against women.

In high school, I became familiar with The Clothesline Project, a demonstration to end violence against women. The Clothesline Project had been done at colleges in my area, and had received a little publicity.

Essentially, the Clothesline Project is a silent demonstration to end violence against women. The project itself consists of a bunch of t-shirts that all bear a message expressing opposition to violence against women.

It works in two ways, first by literally airing dirty laundry, and also by making conversations start. It’s a very visual project, which works to show people that violence against women can’t be ignored.

The one problem I foresaw was that frequently the Clothesline Project is done with an anti-men slant. This was not an attitude I appreciated or wanted to emulate. I believe that while men may be the reason women get hurt, just as many times, they’re a reason why women stay safe.

When I was thinking of ways to do this project I decided that I would work hard to include Simpson’s male community. I know from personal experience that my male friends make sure I get home safely at night.

With this in mind, I decided to make the Clothesline Project encompass everyone on campus. After the great success I had last year, I expanded the project and thought of every possible organization that might be interested in helping.

The response I’ve had has been overwhelming. Now, I’m asking you for help. Do you have an interested in making people aware of violence against women? Want to start conversations to facilitate change? Then go look at the Clothesline Project next week. It’ll be up from March 24-30.

Ask questions. Start conversations. Silence spreads violence. So please, for every woman everywhere, use your voice.