The Clothesline Project Heralds Turn Off the Violence Week

Posted: October 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

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By Michele McDonald

Clothesline

The Clothesline Project is an annual activity at Mason. Creative Services photo

It’s the T-shirts — 500 and counting and strung along the walkways near Student Union Building I — that first grab your attention. George Mason University students decorated the shirts to honor victims of sexual and intimate partner violence during Turn Off the Violence week.

From flash lectures to a Take Back the Night Rally at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, this week is dedicated to raising awareness. The Clothesline Project has been on campus since the Turn Off the Violence week began at George Mason in 1997.

“Turn Off the Violence week is an incredibly important event to the campus because it promotes inclusivity, openness and visibility,” says Mason graduate student Brett Duplechain.

“Seeing those T-shirts hung up all around SUB I never fails to make me stop and really think about what goes on that we don’t see with others. Mason is a great campus due to its steady commitment to diversity illustrated by allowing the voices of victims of and those impacted by issues of sexual violence to speak out in an open forum. This event sends the clear message that Mason is a campus community that cares about its students, especially those who may be too often ignored.”

The weeklong event is organized by Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Services (WAVES), the Women and Gender Studies Center and the Feminist Student Organization.

“Last year when I attended Take Back the Night, I was a new student on campus,” recalls sophomore Kaity O’Reilly. “I had recently become a member of the Feminist Student Organization and the event had been advertised in meetings, so I thought to should go to show my support.

“Being a new member of the community, at first, I was uneasy about how the event would make me feel or what was going to happen. After listening to the stories and speakers, I began to understand what the event was truly about. Take Back the Night is all about support. Support for victims, support from allies, learning how to support others if they need it. Marching through the campus, symbolically “taking back” our night, I felt like I was supporting a cause that made me want to have a voice to be heard.”

Students can create their own T-shirts at the Clothesline Project from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Flash lectures will happen at the clothesline all week.

The Take Back the Night rally and march will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, starting at the clothesline. A reception and survivor speakout will follow the march.

In conjunction with the week, a Legacy of Rape panel discussion will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Arlington Campus. Wellness Wednesday will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the clothesline.

For volunteer sign up, click here. To visit the Facebook page, click here.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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