Clothesline Project brings healing and awareness

The clothesline project was originally started in Boston in 1990 by a small group of women to raise awareness of issues of intimate violence like rape and abuse. They began hanging clotheslines all over the city with different shirt colors to represent different issues. For example, yellow shirts symbolized battered assault.

The project was brought to Eastern by former sociology professor Sherrie Steiner, who incorporated it as a class project for her Introductory Sociology students.

Co-leaders Sara Frymoyer and Thea Sholander got involved through the class.

The clothesline project will take place April 18-21. A prayer vigil will be at 10 p.m. April 20 on the Walton Hall steps, weather permitting.

During this week, students will have the opportunity to write on shirts in a private room in McInnis. Everything is anonymous, and the t-shirts will be hung up at the end of each day.

Besides making t-shirts and hanging the clothesline, Eastern is also having a prayer vigil as a starting point for healing. The theme verse of the prayer vigil comes from Ecclesiastes and speaks about there being a time for everything, “to show how Christ can turn the ashes of our past into crowns of beauty,” Sholander said.

The theme of the national project is to “air society’s dirty laundry,” Frymoyer said. They want to make everyone aware that these things, such as rape and abuse, are societal issues, not just personal, rare events.

The national project “is awesome at addressing issues of guilt…it says, ‘this is not your fault,'” Sholander said, “But without Christ, it cannot address issues of shame, which is a lot deeper.”

“We hope to incorporate some sense of healing, not just bitter, angry venting,” Frymoyer said of the attitude at Eastern. To help with that healing, something Eastern does differently than the national clothesline project is to provide a sheet for students with information about counseling services.

“Our desire is to see that our community at Eastern will not turn away from [this project] but be cognizant that this also happens to Christians from small families and small towns that come to small expensive Christian schools.”

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