Taking back the night

Students decorated T-shirts with anti-violence messages and hung them around the Women’s Center Oct. 22 for the center’s second annual Clothesline Project event. The event was paired with Take Back the Night, another annual event.

The Center for Women’s Studies hosted two events entitled The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night Oct. 22.  

According to the official Clothesline Project website, The Clothesline Project was founded in Cape Cod, Mass., in 1990. 

“It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt,” states the national Clothesline Project website.

Held in the backyard of the Women’s Center, this event allowed students to speak out against any kind of violence or maltreatment. During this event, students came to the Women’s Center and decorated T-shirts with anti-violence messages.

“We just ask that they keep the messages tasteful,” said Emily Kelley, coordinator for women’s studies. 

Once the T-shirts are decorated, they are hung on clotheslines strung around the Women’s Center so that everyone can read and enjoy them.

“Once several shirts get up there, it looks really neat,” Kelley said.

According to the Take Back the Night website, “Take Back the Night foundation seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence. We serve to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.”

Kelley said these events are not unique to UNA.

 “Take Back the Night is actually a series of national programs,” Kelley said.

This year’s Take Back the Night event included speakers from Rape Response and SafePlace, as well as live entertainment.

“The entertainers for this year’s event are different from last year,” Kelly said. “We have Olivia Tennant playing the ukulele and singing and Mason Boutwell playing the guitar and singing. Both are accomplished musicians and students here at UNA.”

Kelley said the events are also open-mic.

 “We also invite any audience members to come up to the mic and speak out about any personal experiences they wish to that pertain to the issue of domestic or sexual violence,” Kelley said. “Last year, several students felt safe enough to share some of their experiences with us. It was a real breakthrough for them.”

The Women’s Center also hopes to make this an annual event, depending on the response from students, Kelley said.  

“Last year, we had a really good response,” Kelley said. “This year, we’re expecting around 100 students for each event. We’ve had much better publicity this year.

“We decided to do these events because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so we thought it was fitting.”

More information on these events is available at www.clotheslineproject.org and www.takebackthenight.org.