Clothesline Project held at MTSU to raise awareness for sexual assault and domestic violence

Photo and Story by Alexis Marshall / Contributing Writer

Volunteers from the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students opened this year’s Clothesline Project to raise awareness for sexual assault and domestic violence in the student union atrium on Monday.

The event allows students to create t-shirts to be hung from the third floor of the student union building that offer statistics and stories of survival from women and men across campus.

“I thinks it helps to spread the message that sexual violence and domestic violence are things that happen, and especially among college students,” said Stephanie Rogers, a junior majoring in organizational leadership.

The event will be in the Student Union Building through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is open to everyone, according to volunteers.

“Whether you’re a victim or not… you’re giving your voice to someone else,” said senior psychology student Rien Duplessis

Rogers said that the number one way students can support the Clothesline Project is by creating their own shirt.

“You can decorate it however you want,” said Duplessis. She said students can get as creative as they want, as long as their message supports awareness and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence. Duplessis explained that anyone can fall victim to sexual assault or domestic violence.

“If you were a victim, you can also be a survivor. You don’t have to stay a victim,” Duplessis said. “If you are feeling sad, if you’re feeling like you’re going to get rejected, understand that there are people out there who are feeling exactly the same way.”

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college. Yet 90 percent of those cases go unreported to authorities.

Statistics for domestic violence on college campuses are just as high. Twenty-nine percent of female college students reported being in an abusive relationship according

Rogers said that the Clothesline Project also speaks to assailants and abusers.

“It sends a message that we want people to stand up against it, that we want people to speak out so that they can’t continue to do the things they do,” Rogers said.

For students who want to help victims of domestic or sexual violence, Duplessis said, “get educated.” She said the first step to help victims is to listen. “Don’t talk. Let them fully express themselves, and be supportive.”

“Especially if you’re a victim, don’t be afraid to talk about it,” said Duplessis. “The more you talk about it, not only will you better accept that part of yourself, but you feel more empowered.”

Volunteers said that there are resources on campus for students who have been affected by these types of crimes including the office of the campus sexual assault liaison Amy Dean and the Title IX office located in the Keathley University Center.

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