With their hearts on their sleeves
Posted March 13, 2009
Stephanie Arellanes
Every spring semester at ULV, the Iota Delta Sorority sponsors a Clothesline Project for victims of abuse to decorate shirts and share their stories. Claudia Estupinian, a Project Sister representative, talks with supporters Wednesday about the ways they can help people who are close to them who may be subject to abuse. The Clothesline Project began in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. Afterward, Iota Delta will send the shirts to the National Clothesline Project in Washington, D.C., to symbolize their support.

The voices of women who have been abused, battered and murdered were heard on campus this week as the Iota Delta Sorority held its annual Clothesline Project philanthropy event.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, the sorority set up a table and a clothesline in Sneaky Park for anyone to participate.

“It’s kind of used as a healing process for victims,” said Jamie Ondatje, a sophomore communications major.

Ondatje was also in charge of putting together the project this year.

On the tables were six different shirts, each representing a different meaning.

The white shirt is for women who have died because of violence, the yellow shirt is for women who have been battered or assaulted, the red shirt is for survivors of rape, the blue shirt is for survivors of incest, the purple shirt is for women who have been attacked for their sexual orientation and the black shirt is for women who have been attacked for political reasons.

People who want to participate can write on the shirts and hang them up on the clothesline.

It is an opportunity for women to tell their own story if they have been abused or raped. It is meant to be an emotional release for them.

People can also write encouraging messages or anything that is meaningful to the purpose of this project.

“This is my favorite philanthropy that we do,” Jacqueline Loya, a senior social science major, said.

There is also a table where men can sign the Men’s Pledge, where they pledge never to sexually or physically abuse any woman.

This year, graduate student Brent Rawson was the first to sign the pledge.

“I’m proud they’ve done it for so long and stuck with it,” Rawson said.

On Tuesday Claudia Esptupinian, a representative from Project Sister gave a presentation.

She spoke in Sneaky Park with the shirts hanged next to her, about helping others who are in abusive relationships.

Esptupinian also brought pamphlets about Project Sister and relationships.

The women of Iota Delta publicized this event through flyers and word of mouth.

However, they also use makeup to create bruises, black eyes and blood on their faces.

Although all of the women are not required to wear the makeup, most of them choose to.

“It’s a great way to wrap your mind around the idea that it does happen,” said sophomore liberal studies major Brandy Diep.

The event can be costly with 150 shirts, markers, clothespins, clothesline and makeup to buy, but it is worth it, Ondatje said.

The sorority is also hoping that the Associ­ated Students of the University of La Verne will give them money to help pay for the expenses.

ASULV has supported the event in the past.

This year they gave the sorority $471 to cover the cost of the t-shirts

“It’s such a unique cause. It’s definitely worth it,” Ondatje said.

On Monday, Jolene Rojas, a Resident Assistant in Stu-Han, held a mini-clothesline event as one of her programs.

Rojas is also a member of Iota Delta Sorority.

Rojas set up the shirts in the Stu-Han lounge and used the same handouts and posterboard that they used at the main event.

All the shirts made were hanged on the clothesline in Sneaky Park.

The Clothesline Project is a national project that began in Massachusetts in 1990.

After hearing that during the same time period, 51,000 women were killed by men while 58,000 men died during the Vietnam War, a group of women’s organizations came together to figure out how to break the silence and educate people about violence against women.

Many of the women that took part in this had been abused in one some way.

Rachel Carey-Harper, a visual artist, was inspired after seeing the AIDS Quilt and decided that the women should hang shirts from a clothesline to bring attention to their cause.

When the project on campus is done, the shirts that were made will be sent to Washington, D.C., to be hung in the National Clothesline Project.

“I’ve seen pictures of them, it’s pretty amazing,” Ondatje said.

This year it is happening at an opportune time to reach people.

In the past the event has sometimes correlated between Women’s History Month and “The Vagina Monologues,” but also the incident with entertainers Chris Brown and Rihanna is still fresh in people’s minds.

“Ironically it happened around the same time,” Ondatje said.

For more information about the Clothesline Project visit clotheslineproject.org.

Sher Porter can be reached at sherrice.porter@laverne.edu

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