Raising Awareness, One Clothesline At A Time


Abigail Coale, Reporter

This October marked the 6th annual Clothesline Project at AACC. According to Stephanie Goldenburg, the Program Coordinator for the project, “the Clothesline Project is a visual display of shirts that have been decorated by service-learning students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. The messages and illustrations on the shirts are testimonies to the problem of domestic violence.”


This year, 109 service-learning students and five faculty members took part in the project. Domestic violence can consist of physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse. Most of us know someone who has been affected by domestic violence. As Goldenburg said, “it touches us all.”


According to Goldenburg, AACC had mixed responses about the project. While some people don’t even look up as they crossed the footbridge, others make a point to carefully read each shirt on display. Many people comment about the artwork and creativity. The shirt that spoke the most to me had a map pinned onto it and read, “All he did was ask me for directions.”


“I do make sure that our version of the Clothesline Project is inclusive,” Goldenburg added. “Domestic violence does not just affect women in heterosexual relationships. It affects men. It affects same sex couples. It affects families.”


When asked about the importance of talking about domestic violence, Goldenburg referred to it as a “hidden topic.” She went on to say that “people experiencing it may not know it. They may not know the signs until it becomes physical. Or, they might be embarrassed and try to cover it up. Often friends and family feel helpless if they do not know what to do when they observe signs.”


“The goal of the project is to not only to provide resources to those experiencing domestic violence, but also to loved ones. Knowing what to do, how to approach the conversation, and how to provide support are important as well,” said Goldenburg.


In light of the recent sexual assault reports on campus, Goldenburg also believes that opening up conversations about domestic violence will help incidents like these by encouraging more reporting of the issues. Though the first report filed was “deemed a false report,” she commented that the second report shows that it is important to be aware of your surroundings, walk with groups, and report any suspicious activity.


“Ultimately we want to improve the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff,” Goldenburg concluded. “If this project can help just one person, then it was worth it.”