The Clothesline Project colored the campus with T-Shirts, telling stories of people who had survived sexually violent crimes.
“It was a good vehicle for victims to get their story out in an anonymous way, so that everyone could participate…all different colors are all different crimes. We just thought it was a great recovery tool for them, that’s how it started,” said Dawn Foore, senior supervisor of the Rape Crisis Center.
Orange, red, pink, blue, green, grey, purple, black, yellow, and white t-shirts decorated with words or pictures hung from clotheslines across trees in Fullerton College’s quad, as students were drawn into read the stories captured on them. Artwork ranges from inspirational pictures, to quotes, to letters of forgiveness or
“It draws attention to people because they ask ‘why are there shirts here?’ I think it’s good to get awareness out,” said Averi Bluth, survivor and Clothesline Project participant.
“It brings awareness, I’ve never seen this before. I have someone in my family who has gone through something like this…I wish someone would have done something for them,” Fullerton College Student said.
Organizations involved in the Clothesline Project were Fullerton College’s H.O.P.E. club, Strength against Violence, CSP Sexual Assault Prevention Services, and Campus Safety. All organizations provided materials on statistics, resources, and what to do if faced with a sexually violent emergency.
The Walk in Her Shoes walk took place in the campus quad where male Fullerton College students, professors, and friends took a stand against sexual violence, which stood as a representation for female students who have been victims of sexually violent crimes.
Walk in Her shoes started as a symbol of the many decades women were forced to walk the streets in high heels.
“We see men as the solution to sexual violence. Real men don’t harm women, real men don’t rape women, real men don’t beat women, real men wear high heels,” said Foore.
Jose Salano, A.S. President, lead the way in blue platform heels shouting, “this is what solidarity looks like!” with the other participants. as the walked and stumbled in high heels around the quad. Female students joined in carrying signs alongside them that read: “No means no” and “Consent is sexy”, demonstrating an image of unity on this issue amongst female and male students alike.
“As a student I’ve heard about some pretty nasty things related to violence against women and I hope to encourage guys to think about the struggles that women face, because we’re physically stronger but that doesn’t mean we should exert our strength on women,” said Sean Douglas, Fullerton College student and Walk in Her Shoes participant.
Jodi Balma, political science professor, has coordinated the Walk in Her Shoes event for the last three years. Inspired by the high rate of sexual assault on college campuses, she wanted to do something and get her students involved in the process. She found that when requiring her students to attend the Clothesline Project for extra credit, her male students felt uncomfortable and wanted an outlet to show their support and alliance for fellow female students.
“I just had a student who only came for extra credit to hang the shirts, no interest in this particular topic, but he said ‘I almost died hanging these shirts and reading them,’ to affect someone like that with a project like this is the turning point for sexual assault that they can’t objectify women when they see their stories…” said Balma.
Balma has a history of raising $500 through this event for the Orange County Rape Crises. Any money raised goes to the Orange county Rape Crises or non-profit Strength Against Violence founded by Fullerton College Student Holly Mcreary, who uses her own domestic violence experience to help other women in the same situation.
“Ultimately we want to raise awareness and education, our shirts are only from residents of Orange County. We have a tendency in Orange County to think we’re so safe, but we’re showing your campus stories of victims of violence,” said Foore.
To support these organizations through monetary donation, checks or cash donations can be brought to the Student Honors office in Room 225.