You may not think it happens in your community, but a new project is showing otherwise. In fact, it’s very clear just how many people can be impacted by sexual abuse and assault.
It’s called the Clothesline Project and it’s apart of sexual assault awareness month.
“The shirt is going to have a quote from Isaiah 61.”
Survivors of violence are creating t-shirts that will be displayed on a clothes line for others to view.
Each t-shirt design represents a story of someone hurt by sexual abuse or assault.
“Release from darkness the prisoners and comfort those who mourn…” These survivors did not want to be identified but say the do want people to know the importance of this project.
“The assault is one thing that really hurts but holding onto that secret for a long time that continues to hurt people. And so being able to use something like this to publicly acknowledge it is a big step for people to be able to take.”
Mary Ingham with Crisis Intervention Services helped organize the clothesline event. “In all honesty if one survivor reaches out for help as a result of one of these events, it’s been successful, because we’re helping one more person heal,” she says.
She explains that each color represents a different type of violence, red and pink represent survivors of rape or sexual assault, blue is survivors of incest or sexual abuse and white is for the survivors of women who have been murdered as a result of sexual or domestic violence.
“People can walk in and see the t-shirts that have been made by their friends, their neighbors, other people that live in our community and see how violence has impacted our lives,” Ingham adds.
She says being able to express themselves through the t-shirts can help some victims heal better than they may have through conversation
“Letting go of the secret is one of the first steps to healing and that’s so important for people.”