Pierce College Clothesline Event

Students gather around to read survivors stories on t-shirts during the Clothesline Project at Pierce College’s Rocky Young Park in Woodland Hills, Calif. on Oct. 17, 2018. Photo by: David Tejada

The Clothesline Project is a domestic violence awareness event put on once a semester by the ASO and B.R.A.V.E.

The event was brought to campus by Holly Hagan, a book buyer at the bookstore, over 25 years ago.

The project was created by the Cape Cod’s Women’s Defense Agenda in 1990 after learning of the high murder rates of women by their husbands, according to clotheslineproject.info.

Clotheslines are hung across trees with shirts displaying personal stories and messages. Individuals shared their own stories and hung up a t-shirt. Different colored t-shirts represent different types of domestic abuse.

White t-shirts represent those who died from domestic violence. Yellow t-shirts represent those who were victims of assault and survived. Red, pink, and orange t-shirts represent survivors of rape or sexual assault. Blue and green t-shirts are for survivors of incest or childhood sexual abuse. Purple represents those who were attacked because of their perceived sexual orientation. Brown and gray t-shirts are for survivors of emotional, spiritual, or verbal abuse. Black t-shirts are for those who were disabled because of an attack or were attacked because of their disability.

Alicia Sullivan, a publicity chair for ASO, believes it is comforting for victims of abuse to know they are not alone.

“Basically it’s to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence.  So, each color shirt has a different meaning. So basically they come and they can tell their story, or they can tell a story that they know of someone else. It could basically be anything, but it’s just to let them express themselves on the shirts and we hang them up. So then they can see their shirts the next year or like they can read other people’s shirts. Personally, for me it’s nice to read the shirts so you know that there’s someone out there that’s maybe experienced something that you’ve been through,” Sullivan said.

Lara Conrady Wong, the ASO adviser, said Holly Hagan is still involved with the event

“Holly Hagan in the bookstore started it. She is the person who stored all the shirts historically. She’s a survivor herself and so she’s very passionate about this. She stopped by earlier today. We partner with her just to keep her involved because she’s such an integral part of the history of this event,” Conrady Wong said.

Not all of the shirts can be hung up, simply because of the sheer quantity.

“The bookstore lets us store all these because there’s like 40 boxes of the shirts from like years and years and years of this event, so it’s really cool. So, we hung as many as we can on the clothesline out here, but if we hung all of them up every single tree would be clotheslined with all the shirts. It would be an amazing view,” Conrady Wong said.

Ana Ramon, an undeclared student, heard about the event from one of her professors.

“It really does leave an impression on you. There’s a white shirt that’s over there that talks about how the situation got really bad with this one person’s boyfriend and she lost her life and left kids. It’s practically a neighbor telling the story,” Ramon said.