Hope hangs on Clothesline Project
October 16, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - In commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Clothesline Project for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii kicked off at the Main Post Exchange, Oct. 1.
The project consists of a display of T-shirts designed by survivors of domestic violence. The concept was simple: Let each person tell his or her story in their own unique way, using words or artwork to decorate a shirt. Once finished, the person hangs the shirt on the clothesline.
The process acts as an educational tool for those who come to view the clothesline, and it becomes a healing tool for those who made a shirt.
By hanging a shirt on the line, survivors, friends and family can literally turn their back on some of the pain of their experience and walk away. Also, the clothesline allows those still suffering in silence to understand they are not alone.
"The display is a very powerful message of healing the wounds of domestic violence," said Bernadette Wong, family advocacy education specialist. "The clothesline is here to make others aware that domestic violence is here and happening."
Visual artist Rachel Carey-Harper was moved by the power of the AIDS quilt and presented the concept of using shirts on a clothesline as the vehicle for raising awareness about domestic violence.
The idea of using a clothesline is natural. Doing laundry has always been considered women's work, and in the days of close-knit neighborhoods, women were often exchanging information over backyard fences while hanging clothes out to dry.