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Tech’s Annual Clothesline Project Creates Visibility For Victims

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech’s Annual Clothesline Project Creates Visibility For Victims

The Tennessee Tech Women’s Center will hold its annual Clothesline Project Thursday to show victims of intimate partner and family violence that they are not alone.

Women’s Center Director Dr. Helen Hunt said victims are invited to come make a shirt that tells the story of their experience with abuse. She said college students are at high risk of intimate partner violence. Hunt said the event connects them with resources and creates a community willing to hear their stories.

“Having the experience of validation of people saying, ‘Yeah, that shouldn’t have happened to you. I believe you. That was terrible, you know, it’s okay to feel how you feel,’ is kind of like the first step in healing,” Hunt said. “And it’s just a profoundly important experience for people who have experienced violence to have.”

Hunt said the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center will also be in attendance to provide help to those in a violent relationship. She said the event is free for the public to share, make a shirt, or hear powerful stories at 11:00am Thursday at the Roaden University Center multi-purpose room.

“It’s heavy, but it’s important to help people know that they have a voice and they are seen,” Hunt said. “And also for others to know, you know, that we will listen and see and believe them too.”

Hunt said often times, abusive partners tell their victims that no one will believe them, or gaslight them into believing that their abusive behavior is normal. She said when victims connect with others and hear their stories along with the hundreds of shirts and stories preserved in an archive in the library, they are more likely to see that, not only was their experience very real, but others have survived something similar.

“It just kind of keeps growing every year,” Hunt said. “We get different people to participate and, you know, unfortunately, violence has not ended, so every year we get new things added. But also, that means that there are more, you know, survivors that we can incorporate into our community.”


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