Project to honor assault survivors

The Office of Counseling Services is celebrating April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with an initiative to air out the dirty laundry of sexual assault. The 2007 Clothesline Project encourages students and faculty to create a T-shirt in recognition of all who have been affected by sexual assault.

The Clothesline Project is a visual display that calls attention to violence against women. The project displays shirts designed by women, families or friends of women who were victims of sexual assault.

FAMU faculty, staff and students can come to the Sunshine Manor counseling center located across from Tucker Hall from 8 a.m – 5 p.m. until April 3. The staff will provide markers and T-shirts that anyone can use to decorate a T-shirt.

The decorated shirts will be hung and displayed along the sidewalk by Tucker Hall and the General Education Classrooms from April 4-6.

April 5 is National Sexual Assault Day. Tallahassee’s Refuge House, FAMU Police Department, health educators and the Florida Council of Sexual Violence will have tables with information on April 5 to educate and raise awareness at FAMU.Counselor Allison Lockard is coordinating this event along with several other sponsors and partners.

“Making shirts is therapeutic, and sexually assaulted women can use this (project) to air out dirty laundry, bring awareness and let people know that they are not alone,” Lockard said. Lockard advises a women’s freshman group, Transitions, that helped create the theme “More Than Words.”

Lockard said organizations such as Gamma Sigma Sigma and the National Council of Negro Women have already come to create shirts for the project. Lockard said as a result of the participation, she started with 130 T-shirts and only 30 are left waiting to be designed.

“I am really excited about the students’ support of the project,” Lockard said. “All of the students have been creative and had fun in the process of making the shirts.”

Betshell Metayer, 20, accounting student from Orlando, brought NCNW to become a part of The Clothesline Project.

“I think as a female organization, it is our responsibility to be a part of all women issues including sexual assault,” Metayer said. “It is a serious matter that deserves the attention of not just our organization, but all organizations alike.”

LaQuita Reynolds, 21, early childhood education student from Fort Lauderdale, said she was not aware of the nationwide event, but is in support of FAMU’s participation.

“I think it is a good idea that FAMU is getting involved with this project, and I hope it is successful,” Reynolds said.

According to the Florida Council of Sexual Assault, rape is the most underreported crime in America, so it is difficult to know how many lives are affected by sexual violence.

The Clothesline Project began in 1990 when members of the Cape Cod Women’s Agenda hung a clothesline across the village green in Hyannis, Mass., with 31 shirts designed by survivors of assault, rape and incest.

Women saw the clothesline and continued to increase the number of shirts by adding on to the line. More than 300 projects nationally and internationally designed about 35,000 shirts, Lockard said.

Lockard said she hopes the project will be bigger next year.For more information, contact Allison Lockard in Sunshine Manor at 599-3145 or

Click Here for a Sexual Assualt fact sheet.