Clothesline Project Allows Abuse Survivors to “Break the Silence”


(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

One in three Utah women will be exposed to sexual assault in some form during their lives.
This statistic from the Utah Department of Health is the premise of the Clothesline Project put on by ASUU last Tuesday.
The event showcases T-shirts made by victims of abuse or by friends and family of the abused.
DeAnn Tilton, a second year graduate student in human development and social policy volunteered to help make the Clothesline Project successful.
“The clothesline project is a way for people who want to express experiences, especially assault experiences,” Tilton said.
Tilton said she felt the project was close to her heart as a survivor of incest.
“I want to do everything I can to prevent violence,” Tilton said. “And I want to be a face with a voice and a name that is approachable for people and represent that part of society that will talk about what happens to people and share my own personal story.”
Mackenzie Peyton, a senior in exercise and sport science, helped organize the project with ASUU and said she thinks the Clothesline Project is important to put on each year.
“I’m a strong believer that we are elected into our student government positions to not only do our basic job description, but to also be a voice for the student body,” Peyton said.
Peyton also said she thinks making topics like sexual assault approachable will help with the overall issue.
“Bringing attention to different movements and causes that affect our student group is huge in making sure that the college experience at the U reflects the needs of our students,” Peyton said. “The Clothesline Project is a perfect example of doing this.”
Students can show up at the Union throughout the day and create their own shirt for the display. Tilton said this was in demonstration that they won’t be silenced anymore, a goal of the Clothesline Project.
“Secrecy is something that allows sexual violence to happen,” Tilton said. “Sharing my identification as a survivor is one tool to break the silence.”
Peyton said she thinks college is more than just intensive studies.
“We don’t come to college to just learn about our majors, we come to college to gain life skills and knowledge,” she said. “If we aren’t educating and trying to help problems that are affecting our world, we aren’t providing our students with skills they need to succeed.”
The t-shirts were organized into eight different colors, which represented different kinds of assault U students have experienced, including domestic abuse, rape and emotional abuse.
“It’s a way for survivors to have their voice heard about their experience but in a safe and anonymous way,” Tilton said.
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