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Students Aim to Create Awareness About Violence Through T-Shirts

Feb. 2, 2009 -- To help reduce the shame often felt by women affected by violence, Mount Saint Mary’s University students will design and display scores of anti-violence T-shirts at their two campuses Feb. 9 to 12. The anti-violence T-shirts will be hung on clotheslines as part of the Clothesline Project, an annual worldwide demonstration that helps give a voice to women affected by violence.

Mount St. Mary's organizes the Clothesline Project each year to bring the issue of violence against women to the forefront of a women's college environment. According to recent statistics, up to 25 percent of college women experience rape or attempted rape during their college years.

"As a women's college, we think it's important to speak out about violence against women," says Susan Salem, Mount St. Mary's director of Counseling and Psychological Services. "One of our goals with the Clothesline Project is to help reduce the shame that many women feel and let them know that it wasn't their fault."

Shirt-making tents will be erected throughout both campuses to allow survivors to express their own experiences with assault while affirming their strength. Educational materials will also be provided to increase awareness about such issues as sexual assault, domestic violence and childhood abuse.

"Through the Clothesline Project, survivors are given an artistic expression of their pain to help them heal," says Salem. "We certainly hope that our students will take these lessons back to their own communities to encourage others to form healthy relationships as well."

Originally launched in 1990 in Cape Cod, Mass., the Clothesline Project takes place each year in 500 communities throughout the world. Mount St. Mary's Clothesline Project, which is themed "Speak Your Truth," is sponsored by the Student Affairs Women's Coalition and funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant.

The clotheslines will be exhibited on the College's Chalon Campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 to 11, and on the Doheny Campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 to 12. The Chalon Campus is located at 12001 Chalon Road in Brentwood, and the Doheny Campus is located at 10 Chester Place near downtown Los Angeles.

For more information on the Clothesline Project, visit www.clotheslineproject.org.

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