In light of the recent criticism concerning Baylor University’s handling of sexual assault cases and National Sexual Assault Awareness month, students will be offered the opportunity to voice their sentiments on the issue this weekend.
Baylor University’s “It’s On Us” Student Advisory Council will host The Clothesline Project at 3 p.m. Sunday on Burleson Quad.
The Clothesline Project began in Hyannis, Mass., in 1990 as part of Take Back the Night, a march organized to end physical and sexual violence.
Clothesline Project participants are asked to draw on T-shirts to vocalize their personal encounters with violence or draw awareness to the gravity of the issue. The T-shirts are then strung on a wire and displayed in a public place.
“It was something that the students really wanted to do and so we wanted to make that happen. We got funding approved and go-ahead to make it happen,” said Title IX training and prevention specialist Sarah McPherson.
The national organization recognizes Clothesline Projects in 41 states and five countries.
“It is very much student involved and student-led because the students are the ones making the shirts and sharing their own experiences and their own thoughts and any myths they want to get rid of about sexual violence,” graduate student Gloria Holloway said.
Holloway’s alma mater had a similar event, and she said she hopes that the students at Baylor can benefit from the anonymity of the event. The display is entirely anonymous and allows survivors to tell their story without coming forward.
“I think it can be very powerful. It’s not coming from someone way up there or over there that they are not familiar with. It’s people that they may know. It’s something that they don’t have to do if they don’t want to,” Holloway said. “They can support friends and look at the shirts throughout the week.”
McPherson hopes that students who would not otherwise consider the relevance of sexual assault are impacted.
“I think it really makes the point come home for people when we realize this could be the person next to you or the person walking by you,” McPherson said.
Students are invited to decorate shirts on Sunday, where pizza and drinks will be served.
The shirts will be displayed until April 15.