The Women's Center at Virginia Tech will sponsor the Clothesline Project the week of March 23 as part of a national effort to raise awareness of violence against women by providing a visual testimony to the effects of the violence and the impact it has on society.

A part of the university's Women's Month 2009 celebration, the Clothesline Project educates the public about the scope of violence against women and the impact it has on individuals, their families and friends, and the community. It encourages survivors to come forward to break their silence by creating shirts with messages and illustrations to share their stories. The shirts demonstrate the pain and suffering of the survivors, aid in their healing process, and celebrate their strength and courage to overcome the past.

Area residents and the university community are invited to the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech to share their stories by creating a shirt in a quiet and confidential environment. These Clothesline Project Workshops will be held daily from Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27 at the center located at 206 Washington Street in Blacksburg from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All materials are supplied free of charge.

Completed shirts are hung side by side on a clothesline, as though the women were standing there themselves, shoulder to shoulder, bearing witness to the violence committed against women on a daily basis. The shirts are color coded: white for women who have died from violence; yellow or beige for women who have been battered or assaulted; red, pink, or orange for those raped or sexually assaulted; blue or green for survivors of incest or child sexual abuse; purple or lavender for women attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women handicapped by violence.

The community is invited to view the clothesline display on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26. The rain location for the Clothesline Project Display is Squires Student Center, also located on the university’s Blacksburg campus.

This local Clothesline Project was initiated in 1994 by the Montgomery County chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Local sponsors include Montgomery County NOW, Womanspace, the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, and the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley.

For more information, contact Susan Anderson at (540) 231-8041 (work) or (540) 951-2013 (home).