Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Picture from the Clothesline Project showing t-shirts hung up across Mckeldin Mall
Picture from the Clothesline Project showing t-shirts hung up across Mckeldin Mall
Original photo by Casey Glickman
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Clothesline Project takes over McKeldin Mall to uplift voices of sexual assault survivors

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

By: Casey Glickman

Content warning: This story mentions rape and sexual assault.

1-800-656-4673 is the National Sexual Assault hotline. 988 is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

“I am a person not an object.” 

“I will no longer be a victim.” 

“I’m stronger because of you.” 

These were some of the words displayed on T-shirts during the Clothesline Project on Wed. April 10.  

The Clothesline Project is hosted by the University of Maryland’s Campus Advocates Respond and Educate to Stop Violence (CARE), and allows students to share their experiences with sexual assault by writing on T-shirts that are hung across McKeldin Mall.

“The goal is to uplift the voices of sexual assault survivors and provide a visual impact on sexual assault in the community,” said Christina Jay, the coordinator for advocacy and therapy at CARE. 

CARE is a confidential resource for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and sexual harassment. They also work to empower the campus community to prevent sexual violence through educational events.

This year, CARE hosted a combined event with the Clothesline Project

and Take Back the Night, which is a global event focused on education with the mission of ending sexual, relationship and domestic violence.

Jay explains that the Clothesline Project not only raises awareness but also inspires people to get involved and support survivors. 

“It gets conversations started,” she said. 

Participants shared all different types of messages on the shirts. Some shirts addressed the strengths of friends, others shared deeply personal stories. Many participants expressed general frustration with our society for allowing rape culture to persist. 

One shirt read, “‘Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t go out drinking. Don’t wear form fitting clothes.’ This is what society teaches its women. When will it start teaching men to not rape?”

As people gathered on the mall to read the shirts, one UMD student shared the impact she felt from the event. 

“It’s something that’s really close to my heart. I’ve gone through similar experiences, so I don’t know if I definitely want to write something yet but it’s nice knowing that there is solidarity.”

Sophie Rzepala, a junior criminology and criminal justice major and a peer educator with the CARE office, discussed the impact of the event. 

“Power-based violence and sexual violence is an issue that’s not really addressed as much on campuses,” Rzepala said.

She noted that seeing people who are genuinely interested in the work they are doing in the CARE office was super inspiring. 

With just a few weeks left in sexual assault awareness month, CARE will be hosting more campus-wide events and ways to get involved.