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Campuses show support for Clothesline Project

Every T-shirt hanging on the clothesline at the Virginia Beach Campus told a story.

A student creates a tshirt

The white ones remembered women killed as a result of sexual violence. The yellow ones represented women who have been sexually assaulted. Red and pink were for survivors of assault and rape, and blue and green, for survivors of incest. Purple for those attacked because of their sexual orientation.

Each of the Tidewater Community College campuses is participating in The Clothesline Project, which encourages women and men to decorate a t-shirt to bring attention to victims and survivors of sexual assault. The Women’s Center-sponsored event will continue on Tuesday, April 16 on the Norfolk Campus in front of the Andrews Building from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Immediately following, writer Nikki Patin, featured on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” will speak out against sexual assault.

The Clothesline Project comes to the Chesapeake Campus on Wednesday, April 17 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The Portsmouth Campus held its event on April 11.

The original Clothesline Project started in Cape Cod in 1990 and dates back to the idea of laundry traditionally considered women’s work. In tight-knit communities, one of the few places women exchanged information, often in hushed tones, was over backyard fences while hanging clothes to dry.

Stephanie Taylor took time out before class to design a shirt. “I was physically and sexually abused by my dad’s dad when I was 2 or 3 years old,” she said. “It hasn’t hindered me. I’m in college, and I have a 3.9 GPA. I’m going places in my life.”

A student hangs a tshirt

Cassie Homason made hers for a friend she is urging to escape a violent relationship. “Be strong. Be strong and courageous. Deuteronomy 3:16.”

Jamie Ware is a TCC alumna who returns to the college every year for The Clothesline Project. Her shirt read, “Once a Victim, Always a Victim. Stop Sexual Violence Now.” Ware was a victim of an attempted rape and remains grateful for the support she received from the Women’s Center.

“The whole thing hit me like a ton of bricks, and the Women’s Center helped me so much over the last four years,” she said. I had counseling two times a week, and because of everything they did to help me with this problem, I always come back to volunteer.”