The Clothesline Project: Survivors of Domestic Violence Tell Their Stories



This October the Women’s Resource Center and the non-profit organization Community Works are hanging handmade t-shirts in Stevenson Union as part of The Clothesline Project. The project, in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, aims to bring attention to issues of violence and abuse.

“The Clothesline Project is a visual representation of survivor stories,” says Erica Lautrup, the student heading up the project. “We have survivors of domestic violence, as well as sexual assault write their stories on the t-shirts.”

The shirts themselves are a medium for victims of domestic abuse to share their testimonies with others. Different colored shirts represent different forms of domestic abuse and whether or not the victim survived the attack.

“Domestic violence is kind of one of those things that is not really addressed in our culture,” Erica continued. “It’s kind of taboo and stigmatized to talk about.”


The project itself aims to not only bring awareness to these issues, but to change the common cultural perspectives of abuse.

“We really want to shift the blame and belief system from blaming the victim to blaming the perpetrators of violence,” says Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Riah Safady.

“So rather than asking why somebody isn’t leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship, we want to ask why is this person still perpetuating violence against them.”

The Clothesline Project started in Cape Cod, Mass. in 1990 with 31 shirts. Over the past 26 years, however, the project has grown and now reaches communities worldwide.

In addition to the shirts, there will be tabling this month in the Stevenson Union to help bring attention to these issues.

If you wish to contribute to the project there are t-shirt drop off boxes outside the Women’s Resource Center and in the Greensprings residence halls. Stories may also be emailed to confidential advocate Riah Safady at