Last week, many multicolored shirts adorned the west sidewalk near the UCR Bell Tower to raise awareness of sexual and domestic violence. Hosted by the UC Riverside Women’s Resource Center and the Sexual Assault and Violence (S.A.V.E.) Peer Group, the campus’ annual rendition of a national event known as “The Clothesline Project” was held from Oct.12-14.
The Clothesline Project is meant as an opportunity to begin a conversation focused on sexual and domestic violence. “The historical goal is ‘airing your dirty laundry’…domestic/relationship violence used to be hidden behind closed doors and through the Clothesline we [shed] light on the issue” explained Romanie Arterberry, Student Affairs Officer at the Women’s Resource Center.
Students were invited to share their experiences through making a shirt or to honor those who have been victims of these crimes. The S.A.V.E. Peer Group stood by providing support for any who might be negatively triggered by the display, or simply to talk with passersby.
Katheryn Valle, a philosophy major who felt compelled to make a shirt, shared afterward: “I feel as though I have let some energy or memories out from underneath. It’s kind of like a switch, you kind of, like in a way switch on everything that you can remember from all that into the shirt … My general advice for everyone who goes through something like that, it’s kind of something I say to myself: ‘Everything will be ok in the end, and if it’s not ok it’s not the end.”
Many UCR students, faculty and staff have participated in the Clothesline Project throughout the years, and every shirt on the lines at one point or another was made by someone connected to UCR.
Kris Moisa, an honors student who has been working with S.A.F.E. for over a year and who also made a shirt honoring victims, stated “When you make a shirt, that’s your voice, and since we do this project every year and we use old shirts, your voice will transcend the years. The general takeaway is awareness and power. You’re taking you power back by telling your story. Sometimes people just need to talk or need their story to be heard, and that’s why we were there.”
Moisa is currently working on a capstone project entitled “The Recent Effects of the Anti-Rape/Anti-Sexual Assault Movement in College Campuses,” which she will present through UCR’s University Honors.
The UCR Women’s Resource Center has been deeply involved with the UCR campus since August of 1973, working to advance feminism, prevent rape and to promote LGBTQ and prisoner’s rights.
The Women’s Resource Center’s next scheduled event is a free film screening of “Escalation,” to take place in Hub 355 Wednesday October 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both the film screening and The Clothesline Project are intentionally taking place during October, which is Relationship Violence Awareness Month.