The College is recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) by presenting a series of events and workshops to educate the community, raise awareness and reduce incidences of sexual violence on campus. One of several ArtCenter initiatives during the month is the Clothesline Project, a powerful visual display of t-shirts with graphic messages and illustrations designed by survivors of sexual violence as a way to express themselves and serve as a testimony to their experience. An exhibition of the clothesline is free and open to the public from March 26 through April 12 on the Bridge at Hillside and from April 15 through April 30 at the front entrance to the 950 building.
“We’ve had an incredible response from the ArtCenter community to our first-ever Clothesline Project,” said Sadara DeVonne, Department of Human Resources administrator and Title IX coordinator, who is leading the campuswide programs in support of SAAM. “I’m very pleased to see so many individuals participating in this important exercise to increase awareness, celebrate the strength to survive, promote healing and provide an avenue for survivors to break the silence that often surrounds their experiences.”
The entire community has joined the effort because participation is not limited to survivors of sexual assault. Many individuals have created shirts bearing a message of support, encouragement or tribute to others, such as “You Are Not Alone,” “We Support Survivors,” “There Is Hope,” “Not On My Campus,” or “Not In My Workplace.”
DeVonne acknowledges that the Clothesline Project can be a powerful and emotional experience requiring sensitivity from all members of ArtCenter’s community. She emphasizes that support is available on and off campus to students, faculty and staff in need of resources.
The Clothesline Project is a global phenomenon to remind people of the real meaning of violence statistics that are often ignored. It originated in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1990 when a member of the Cape Cod’s Women’s Defense Agenda learned that during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them.
Additional ArtCenter programs to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month include the following:
- Official SAAM Kickoff on March 28 is an awareness event with campus and community partners such as ArtCenter’s Title IX Task Force, CARE Team, Student Counseling Services, Campus Security, the Pasadena Police Department, the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center Sexual Assault Response Team, Peace Over Violence, Aetna and CIGNA.
- Harassment Prevention Training will take place throughout the month of April when all faculty and staff receive mandatory online training on the prevention of harassment, discrimination, sexual violence and an overview of Title IX. Student training begins this summer.
- Day of Action: Wear Teal Day on April 2 On this day, sexual violence coalitions across the country will display a teal ribbon as a symbol of awareness and prevention. Teal—often associated with trust, devotion and healing—is designated as the official color of SAAM.
- Yoga ArtCenter’s April 4 yoga class will be held in honor of sexual assault awareness.
- Dog Therapy On April 9 dog therapy with furry friends trained to provide affection, comfort and love will be available for students, faculty and staff.
- Day of Action: Denim Day on April 24 Denim Day began in 1999 when women in the Italian Parliament called for a “skirt strike” and wore denim jeans to work to protest an Italian court that overturned the conviction of an instructor who was found guilty of raping an 18-year-old student. Since then, schools, business and organizations throughout the world have observed Denim Day by wearing denim to promote sexual assault awareness each April.
- Self-defense Class Participants will learn realistic self-defense tactics and techniques to increase awareness, assertiveness and safety on April 30 and May 1.
As ArtCenter promotes these programs to educate and increase awareness about sexual violence and prevention throughout our campus community during SAAM, DeVonne said it is important to remember the College offers support to anyone who might need it throughout the year. Community members are encouraged to read Common Myths and Facts about Sexual Violence for more information.