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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
Some people call it controversial and disturbing, and some call it uplifting and inspiring, but no matter how you see the Clothesline Project at St. Catherine College, you can’t ignore the message that it sends.
Last week, in observance of Domestic Violence Week, the lobby of the Richard S. Hamilton Health & Science Building was adorned with various t-shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse or the relatives of victims. This year’s shirts were made by women in the Louisville area.
This is the second year the project has been presented on the SCC campus. Some controversy arose last year due to the graphic content and language on the shirts.
“I know last year was controversy regarding the content of some shirts,” said Meghan Bowling, the stewardship committee chair of the SCC Student Senate. “This year all I have received is positive feedback. I have been e-mailed by professors telling me how good this is to have on campus.”
The color of each shirt represents different forms of abuse. White is for women who have died from violence; yellow or beige represents battered or assaulted women; red, pink and orange shirts are for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green shirts represent survivors of incest or sexual abuse; purple or lavender represent women attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black shirts are for women attacked for political reasons.
“This project just puts it out there,” said John Graves, president of the SCC Student Senate. “It doesn’t need any explanation, it’s just a snapshot of what that person was thinking when they sat down to make the shirt. That’s a pretty awesome thing.”
The shirts are a way for the designers to express their feelings about what happened to them. There is a lot of emotion put into these shirts, and sometimes it can be overwhelming, sometimes reminding the viewer of things in their own past and stirring up buried feelings.
Graves added, “It’s amazing at the power that these t-shirts show. It’s all about making people aware because you have to talk about it.”
“I took my class out to see the shirts as a teaching opportunity, especially for health care workers who will see this in practice,” said Jeannie Oldham, director of the pharmacy tech program at SCC. “And should anyone be offended by the shirts, I can only say be glad you weren’t the victim designing it.”
For more information about the Clothesline Project in Louisville, visit them online at www.louisvilleclothesline.org.