campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer College Hosts the 2013 N.H. Clothesline Project to Raise Awareness of Violence and Sexual Abuse

Colby-Sawyer College will host the New Hampshire Clothesline Project – a display of T-shirts with written messages and illustrations that demonstrate the impact of sexual, domestic and mental abuse – for the 17th consecutive year.

The event, sponsored by Colby-Sawyer's Department of Campus Safety, AmeriCorps And the S.A.V.E. committee (Sexual Assault and Violence Education), will be held in the Mercer Hall gymnasium on Wednesday, April 24, through Saturday, April 27. The project will be open for viewing to all college and community members, free of charge, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon.

These shirts, created by survivors of violence and those close to them, represent the need to “break the silence.” Those who contribute to the project demonstrate the courage required to survive and heal from abuse or to honor those who have died at the hands of their abusers, according to Donna Brennan, who coordinates the project at Colby-Sawyer. By hanging these shirts out in the open, she says the abused and their families can leave behind some of the pain of the past and continue their healing process.

The Clothesline Project originated in Massachusetts in 1990 and now has a presence in more than 40 states and five countries. Colby-Sawyer is the only location in the state to display all shirts from 1992-2011 T-shirts from New Hampshire where the project is displayed each spring.

National surveys reveal that one in four college women have experienced rape or attempted rape, and that nine in 10 acquaintance rapes are never reported. Every day, approximately 1,870 sexual assaults occur across the United States. Thirty percent of all women who are murdered in this country are killed by their husband or boyfriend. According to one study, that same high percentage also applies to women aged 15 to 19. Sixty percent of all rapes reported to rape crisis centers are committed by acquaintances, and the majority of victims are ages 16 to 24.

Viewing the vast collection of shirts is often enough to encourage a survivor of abuse to make a shirt and break his or her silence. There will be materials available to anyone who wishes to contribute to the project by hanging a shirt.

Through events, prevention education and survivor support, Colby-Sawyer's Campus Safety office seeks to educate men and women about sexual assault and domestic violence. The Clothesline Project provides a nationwide network of support and information for communities interested in starting their own local projects. For more information on the Clothesline Project, or to volunteer, please contact Donna Brennan at (603) 526-3675.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000