The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a movement to make sexual violence more visible. Started in 1990 on Cape Cod, the original focus was to end violence against women by creating a specific medium for survivors of sexual and domestic violence to speak out about their experiences - a decorated t-shirt. Since then, the CLP has expanded across the country with many communities creating their own version of the project.
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s CLP includes almost 200 shirts and has been displayed hundreds of times. BARCC’s Clothesline Project includes shirts made by male survivors, significant others and designs in a variety of languages. The purpose of the project is to do the following:
- Bear witness to survivors
- Aid in the healing process for survivors and significant others and provide a safe place for them to express themselves
- Educate and raise society’s awareness of the magnitude of sexual violence
- Call for social change and provide a forum for discussing ways to facilitate this transformation
Request the BARCC CLP | FAQs about BARCC’s CLP | Start your own CLP
Request the BARCC CLP
FAQs about BARCC’s CLP
Q. What exactly is BARCC’s Clothesline Project?
A. BARCC’s CLP is a collection of T-shirts created by survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and rape that are hung on a line (like a traditional clothesline) and displayed in public to raise awareness about the issue of sexual violence.
Q. How many shirts does BARCC have? If I request the CLP, do I have to take all of them?
A. BARCC has about 200 shirts. Most organizations display between 5 and 30 shirts. BARCC will select shirts that have messages most related to the community in which it will be displayed.
Q. How do I request the CLP ?
Q. How do I set up the CLP?
A. It depends on the space you have available, how long it’s going to stay up, and how many shirts you are using. The traditional setup for the CLP uses either two or three anchor poles and between 10 and 15 feet of clothesline between each pole. T-shirts are hung from the clothesline with clothespins (BARCC can provide clothespins for the CLP, but it never hurts to have a few extra). For larger displays, you may need to use longer lengths of clothesline, or more anchor poles or other anchoring options. For smaller displays, a length of clothesline between two chairs or tied off on a door handle can work. Setting up the CLP does take a degree of lifting and physical dexterity and can take a little while if only one person is putting it up.
Q. I want to display the CLP for a couple of days. Can I do that?
A. Yes. BARCC loans out the CLP for up to a week at a time. You will need to have a private space where the CLP can be secured when it isn’t being shown. A locked room or storage location where the T-shirts won’t get wet, defaced, or stolen is required.
Q. Can I buy a shirt/are shirts for sale?
A. The shirts are not for sale. All of the shirts were created by survivors or significant others expressly for the purpose of being displayed as part of the CLP.
Q. How can I make a shirt/how can I contribute to the CLP?
Start your own CLP
You can start a Clothesline Project for your school, community, or activist group. If you are planning on staging a kickoff event for your project, BARCC can provide community awareness speakers to talk about sexual violence and lead a variety of prevention workshops. Request a speaker or workshop.