For some, the collections of t-shirts hanging outside Langson Library are merely t-shirts, articles of clothing. For others, those articles of clothing contain unforgettable memories that changed their lives forever.
The display in front of Langson is brought to UC Irvine students by an organization on campus called UCI Campus Assault Resources and Education, or C.A.R.E. The Clothesline Project is an exhibit composed of t-shirts designed by survivors of violence, in order to raise awareness of the abuse around campus and its impact during the month of April, sexual assault awareness month. Designs included quotes such as “I loved + trusted you” and “Respect a woman’s body mind and soul”. Walking through the rows of t-shirts many times, I noticed the different colors, but never knew why. It wasn’t until a member of C.A.R.E saw me taking photos curiously and informed me about the project overall. The color code is as follows:
- White –for those who have died in violence
- Yellow or beige –for those who have been battered or assaulted
- Red, pink or orange –for those who have been raped or sexually assaulted
- Blue or green –for those who are survivors of incest of child sexual abuse
- Purple or lavender –for those attacked because of their sexual orientation
The project is designed for students on campus to bear witness to these acts of violence, stay conscious that these actions do occur around them and hopefully prevent any future violence. The members also want the project to provide healing for survivors of abuse and awareness that other have gone through the same pain.
The C.A.R.E members also host another event this month, an annual “Take Back the Night” event, which includes a candlelight vigil, march and rally about sexual assaults as well as to honor those who have suffered through abuse. This year’s night was held on Wednesday, April 18th from 7 PM to 12 AM with five hundred people reserved to attend on Facebook! Participants not only took part in the march, but also educated themselves by stopping at booths provided by campus and community organizations. Live music filled the ears of all those around the area, positive energy encircled every partaker and ignorance diminished as the night proceeded. The powerful and moving event ended with testimonies from those who wanted to voice their experiences and enlighten others.
Personally, I think events such as Take Back the Night is extremely important to a college campus and its students. It may be a touchy topic, but it is important to verbalize about the violence. The awareness from Take Back the Night is crucial and I’m very glad it’s annual. I look forward in participating in 2013’s Take Back the Night! I hope that students will continue to be aware that such painful events do exists and take the initiative for the fight against violence.