In Italy in the 1990s, the Italian Supreme Court ruled against a young girl who said she was raped by her driving instructor. According to Peace Over Violence, the chief judge argued, “Because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
In 2008, the Pierce College campus introduced the Clothesline Project tradition in response to the Denim Day campaign.* It has been 10 years since the initial start of the project.
Today, ASO and B.R.A.V.E. are sponsoring the Clothesline Project in honor of the Denim Day campaign today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rocky Young Park.
Kathy Oborn, Chair of Political Science, Economics and Criminal Justice, started Denim Day at Pierce when she was a team lead for the Campus Violence Response Team (CVRT). In 2007, Holly Hagan, Textbook Buyer, became the co-lead and in 2008 she brought the Clothesline Project to campus and they have been doing it once a semester since, in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in April for Denim Day.
The Clothesline Project welcomes students to anonymously share their stories of domestic or sexual abuse on a shirt to be displayed with others from past semesters.
“It’s important for everybody to see that they are not the only ones and as sad as it is, it’s so common. I think it could help those people who just have been holding it in and always wanted to talk to someone,” Hagan said.
Hagan said that the stories are incredible to read and it can at times be difficult to take in that many people in a small community has struggled with some form of domestic or sexual abuse.
“It’s pretty empowering to the person who is making the shirt. Especially if it is something that they have been harboring for a very long time,” Hagan said.
To read more about Denim Day and its history, visit http://denimdayinfo.org/.