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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Clothesline Project shines a light on sexual assault statistics

Clothesline
Photo by Courtesy
Clothesline

Women in the Panhellenic Collegiate Council at Texas A&M advocated for students to stand up and be heard with the Clothesline Project in Rudder Pavilion Thursday.
The project was established in 1990 in Hyannis, Massachusetts by the Cape Cod Women’s Defense Agenda, who learned that while 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 women in the U.S. were killed by male romantic partners within the same timeframe. The project displays t-shirts created by survivors of violence with messages that convey their experiences. Others are encouraged to make t-shirts in honor of those who have faced violence in their lives.
The A&M Panhellenic Council’s presentation of the project featured shirts displayed with statistics on sexual violence.
“The biggest thing is spreading the word and making sure it’s advocated for — statistics that are available are truly eye opening and we want that displayed,” said Ashlyn Pedersen, panhellenic president and telecommunications media studies junior.
According to the Sexual Assault Research Center (SARC), over 75 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser, 30 percent of abused and neglected children will abuse their own children, and every 98 seconds a person in the United States in sexually assaulted.
April is sexual assault awareness month and students around campus are looking to conduct events and activities around campus to provide education. Amanda Lilly, director of chapter relations and economics junior served as the head of panhellenic Clothesline Project. She said displays like this help shine a light on issues that may not be widely discussed or understood.
“It’s one those things, you see so much in college, it’s really one of those things that you really don’t think about but it’s there, it’s really about woman uplifting other women,” Lilly said. “You see so much and you hear the murmurs or even rumors through people, but it’s something you never see in front of you.”
According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, one in every six college-aged female survivors has received some sort of assistance from a victim services agency. Among undergraduate students, 23.1 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males experience rape or assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Among graduate or professional students, 8.8 percent of females and 2.2 percent of males experience rape or assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.
Caroline Adams is a volunteer with the SARC who was on hand at Thursday’s display.
“We were asked by the Panhellenic Council to be advocates on hand for a confidential resource because information on the t-shirts displayed can be triggering to anyone who has been affected by sexual violence,” Adams said.
Adams said she has been volunteering with the SARC offices since August of 2014 and has been involved in helping cases in over seven different counties across Texas.
“I really wanted to get out there and help people, and SARC really popped out to me especially with something that is not talked about,” Adams said. “You see it so much in the news and media it’s really something that needs to come to the light no matter who it may be.”
There are also resources survivors can turn to on campus, including the Student Assistance Services, Student Health Services and Student Counseling Services. Survivors may file criminal charges, no matter what action is taken through the university, and can even be assisted while filing a police report.
“It’s so much more than just the university,” Pedersen said. “It’s society, it’s how you conduct yourself, and having that someone stand up and be heard is what makes the difference little by little, each and everyday.”

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