April 11, 2012
Writer Wanda Laukkanen takes a look at this week's Clothesline Project at Pacific, where students are decorating T-shirts and hanging them around campus to raise awareness of sexual assault.
Colorful shirts make a powerful statement.
If you’re out and about on the Forest Grove campus during the warm sunny days this week, take a gander at the bright T-shirts swinging to the breezes on clotheslines around the UC.
It’s a pretty sight highlighted with a powerful message: Be aware of sexual assault and support its victims.
Organized by the Residence Housing Association at Pacific, the Clothesline Project is part of a national effort by college campuses in promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
RHA is supplying T-shirts and paints in a variety of colors, along with brushes, on the UC patio every day through Friday this week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone who wants to paint a message about sexual assault on a shirt and have it hung up for all to see. Participants also get a blue ribbon they may wear in support of sexual assault victims.
“It’s just a message to let people who have been sexually assaulted know that they are being supported,” said Kerstin Amezcua, a junior and the RHA leadership development coordinator.
She noted that students who prefer not to paint a T-shirt in a public location have the option of writing a message on cards that have been distributed to all the students’ UC mailboxes. The cards can be dropped in the RHA mailbox.
A variety of messages adorn the shirts already hanging on lines surrounding the UC:
- Respect is Sexy
- Be a man, help END sexual assault
- Plant seeds of love
According to RHA, nationally one in five women will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate from college. Those painting the T-shirts at Pacific are both supporters of victims of sexual assault as well as victims themselves.
“I was sexually assaulted when I was younger,” said one student, who was painting a shirt on a sunny morning. “I think this is really a good way to get awareness across.”