Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Clothesline Project in Blacksburg

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

TW: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to honor survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, Blacksburg’s chapter of the National Organization for Women held their annual Clothesline Project workshop.

The Clothesline Project began when a member of the Cape Cod’s Women’s Defense Agenda learned that almost as many women died from domestic abuse at the time of the Vietnam War as soldiers did in battle. To raise awareness about this issue, a group of women decided to create a visual for that statistic by hanging color-coded T-shirts in a public display. This project quickly gained popularity nation-wide.

Each T-shirt on the Clothesline Project represents a victim of violence and the form of abuse they experienced. White represents women who died from violence, yellow for survivors of physical assault, red/pink/orange for survivors of sexual assault and rape, and blue and green for survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse.

In the Blacksburg display, each T-shirt represents a victim in our very own community. During the last week of March, the National Organization for Women offered survivors a confidential space to create shirts expressing their stories as a form of catharsis. These T-shirts were displayed on Draper Road on March 27th and in Squires Student Center on the 28th, and onlookers like myself found it extremely disheartening to see how sexual and gender-based violence impacts so many in our community.

While sexual and gender-based violence is a difficult topic to discuss, it is a harsh reality for many women. Campaigns like the Clothesline Project are important for raising public awareness so we can educate communities on how to prevent sexual violence and let survivors know that they are not alone.

To get involved this April, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers social media graphics, programs for college campuses and days of action to raise awareness and show support for survivors. For resources concerning sexual violence or more information on how you can help this month, visit nsvrc.org.

Erin Kearns

Virginia Tech '26

Erin is a Sophomore at Virginia Tech studying English. She works on the writing and editing team for Her Campus, and her hobbies include reading, painting, guitar, and photography.