Back to All Events

The Clothesline Project at SSU

  • Seawolf & Salazar Plaza (map)

April 6 & 7: 11am-1pm in Seawolf Plaza 

April 8 & 9: 11am-1pm in Salazar Plaza

The Clothesline Project is an organization created to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women. For women who have been affected by violence, it is a means of expressing their emotions by decorating a t-shirt. After the shirts have been decorated, they are hung on a clothesline display. The intention of the display is to honor survivors and act as a memorial for victims. It is also intended to aid in the healing process for those who were directly affected and those who have lost someone special to violence. Lastly, the clothesline display is to educate society and promote awareness, as well as to document violent crimes against women.

History about the Clothesline Project:

A group of women on Cape Cod, Massachusetts started The Clothesline Project in 1990 after hearing that while 58,000 soldiers died in the Vietnam War, there were 51,000 women killed around the same time by men who claimed to love them. This statistic motivated the women to create a program that would speak up and reveal the issue of violence against women. Many of the women had personally experienced violence and wanted to find an unprecedented way of educating others on this matter. One of the women thought of hanging t-shirts on a clothesline to gain recognition of the issue. It was naturally the thing to do since women were known for doing laundry and exchanging information while their clothes were hanging out to dry.

Each woman would have the opportunity to tell her story by decorating a shirt with words and art that represented her experience. She would then hang the shirt on a clothesline for the world to view. The earliest project exposed 31 shirts in Hyannis, Massachusetts as part of the annual "Take Back the Night" March and Rally in October 1990. Since then, The Clothesline Project has received publicity in articles of various magazines and a huge national response has turned this project into a worldwide campaign. Right now there is an estimated 500 projects nationally and internationally involving about 50,000 to 60,000 t-shirts. There are currently projects in 41 states and 5 countries, ranging from Massachusetts to Tanzania.