YWCA presented dozens of decorated T-shirts to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Bright shirts pinned to clotheslines billowed in the wind, catching the eyes of students passing by the Friendship Walk at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The vibrant colors created a juxtaposition with the severity of their messages — to start a conversation about gender-based and sexual violence. The Clothesline Project was brought to Cal State Long Beach by Young Women’s Christian Association, the Greater Los Angeles Sexual Assault and Crisis Services and the Women’s Gender and Equity Center. The clothes hanging were meant to represent survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Only a couple of yards away from the clothesline, Jose Espinoza and Andres Cortez stood silently holding pro-life posters, the only participants of a “Pro-Life Walkout” scheduled at the same time and same area as the Clothesline Project. The protestors declined to comment. According to Pam Rayburn, coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Equity Center, the event is staged every year for victims of assault to reclaim their voice. “The Clothesline Project...is a display of people who have been affected by a gender-based violence and sexual assault,” Rayburn said. “April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and that’s why we bring this to campus. ” According to Jacqueline Urtez, a sexual
Students artistically expressed their experiences with sexual or gender-based violence on T-shirts and then hung them on a clothesline for all to see as part of Wednesday’s Clothesline Project event. Lines of colorful shirts hung beneath a bright, sunny sky, revealing stories of rape, incest and assault. The clothesline display was the centerpiece of the Break the Silence Fair, held in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Cal State Long Beach students flocked to the tables set up by the Speaker’s Platform to paint words and drawings on tees, learn to prevent and recover from assault and listen to speakers. “When we do [the Clothesline Project], we make other campuses want to join in,” said psychology junior Katherine Swanee, who was volunteering at the event as part of her service-learning project. She became passionate about helping women after taking a women's studies course in a previous semester. “[The project] helps people open up about [their experiences],” Swanee said. “Many are afraid to speak out, talk about it. It’s kinda taboo. It happens a lot more than we think it does. It’s eye-opening to people who haven’t personally experienced it and it helps those personally affected think of themselves as a