Chico State’s ‘Clothesline Project’ provides artistic outlet for sexual assault awareness


Alex Grant

Alix MacDonald holds up an example of a Clothesline Project shirt. All students are welcome to design a shirt any way they want to express their feelings on sexual assault.

Safe Place, Chico State’s confidential sexual violence prevention and intervention center, is organizing an artistic project to call attention to sexual assault issues in Chico.

Students are invited to decorate t-shirts Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in BMU 203 to show support for sexual violence victims. This event is called the Clothesline Project and while it’s new to Chico State, the project began in Massachusetts in 1990 by women who wanted to call attention to sexual abuse. The event has since spread nationwide to various cities and college campuses.

While there’s no set national date for this project, Safe Place Administrator Alix MacDonald planned this event for this week as April is sexual assault awareness month.

“The actual event is meant to have a visual representation of how interpersonal violence is prevalent in our community,” MacDonald said. “The purpose of decorating the shirts is for anyone who has been affected, knows someone who they care about who’s been affected or (for anyone who) cares about the issue.”

All shirts and supplies such as fabric paint, sharpies and ribbons will be provided by MacDonald. Snacks, refreshments and a free Safe Place shirt will also be provided for all participants.

MacDonald stressed that no one has to share any specific experiences with sexual assault and each decorated shirt will remain anonymous.

Anyone is welcome and you don’t have to your own story or you don’t have to share your story in order to decorate a shirt,” MacDonald said. “(The goal is to) provide support to people that aren’t able to acknowledge this in their own lives or are not able to speak out about this in their own lives. We as allies can come together and show that we acknowledge this as a campus (and that) we care about this as a campus.”

Alex Grant can be reached at [email protected] or @AlexThomasGrant on Twitter.