Community Invited to Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night at PSU DuBois

DUBOIS – The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night Rally will be held at Penn State DuBois Wednesday.

Both events begin at 6 p.m. in the Student Union.

The Clothesline Project has been an annual event at Penn State DuBois for more than five years, with nighttime events held the last two years to encourage more community participation.

Women and men of all ages are encouraged to make tTshirts to hang on the line. Color designations include: white, victims who have died as a result of violence; yellow or beige, survivors of battery or assault; red, pink or orange, survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green, survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple and lavender, those attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black, those who have been attacked for political reasons.

The public is invited to view or make T-shirts in the Student Union beginning at 6 p.m. Acoustic music will be provided by Ashley Eckl of St. Marys. Speakers will begin at 7:15 p.m., with an open-mike opportunity for anyone wishing to speak out about their own experience or the experience of someone else. The event will end at or about 9 p.m. when participants will take part in a candlelight march around the campus and down to the sidewalk in front of the campus, where a moment of silence will be observed for victims and survivors.

Speakers for this year’s rally include representatives from Passages Inc. and Crossroads, both local organizations, who will present statistics, inform the public about resources for those affected by intimate violence, and offer support. Also speaking will be a survivor of domestic and sexual violence who said, “It’s important to spread the message of hope. The true victims are those who have died. If we’re still here, we can choose whether to be a victim or a survivor. I want to tell people you can survive this. You can heal.”

Young women of DuBois and surrounding communities are especially encouraged to attend, according to event organizer Jody Lucas Kulakowski. As noted on the Clothesline Project Web site, there are many battered women who experienced violence in their homes at an early age and accept it as their lot in life. Very little education is provided to enable individuals to deal with domestic violence; this event will attempt to provide information and tools that might be needed in the future.

Inspired by the AIDS quilt, Rachel Carey-Harper, a visual artist came up with the concept of women expressing their experiences and their pain through decorating a T-shirt, hanging it on the line and then walking away from it. “Doing the laundry was always considered women’s work and, in the days of close-knit neighborhoods, women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry.”

For the past 30 years, the Take Back the Night Rally has provided a way for women and men to protest an atmosphere of fear and demonstrate the need for safe passage through their communities, regardless of the hour. Today, both women and men participate in these events for themselves, in memory of friends and family who have died as a result of violence perpetrated against them, and as a symbol of support to educate and bring to an end this violence.

Donations of blank T-shirts can be made by contacting Jody Lucas Kulakowski at 427-2006 or e-mail her at jxl290@psu.edu.

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