What is the Clothesline Project?

A walk through the IUPUI campus center atrium during the month of April should be spent looking up-literally.

The sexual assault awareness month campus kick off on Monday will leave t-shirts hanging overhead as a witness of violence that affects too many. Titled The Clothesline Project, the event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Apr. 4 in the atrium and is hosted by the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion.

The first Clothesline Project took place in 1990. The colors of the shirts were code and went as such – white for women who died from violent attacks, yellow and beige indicated battery, red, pink and orange for rape, blue and green for survivors of incest or child abuse, and purple and lavender meant a sexual orientation-related attack.

The plan is to add 100 new t-shirts to hang alongside the pre-existing collection.


Survivors, family, and friends are encouraged to attend and decorate a shirt in honor of themselves  or someone they know. The purpose of the event is twofold – healing for those affected and educating all who walk through the campus center throughout the month of April.

“The Clothesline Project is a visual reminder of statistics we often ignore,” said Sareen Lambright Dale, the Assistant Director of Sexual Assault Education and Prevention at IUPUI.

She explained that for some survivors, this will be their first step in the healing process. For students, this is a “platform to show support and solidarity with their peers that are survivors.”

In a previous story, which featured Kirat Sandhu’s personal story with sexual assault and experience with Lady Gaga at the Oscar’s, the statistics were discussed.

On a college campus, one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted.

The voices speaking out are getting louder. Whereas not so long ago, this was an issue kept quiet and in the dark. Sexual assault activists were few and far between.

“You can't be what you can't see,” Sandhu said.

The hope of a month-long dedication is “to encourage more students to continue fighting for a world where sexual assault is not viewed as an acceptable norm,” Sandhu said.

Support for this event comes from the Undergraduate Student Government, Panhellenic Council, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Campus Center, Sexual Assault Prevention, Intervention and Response Task Force (SAPIR), the Office for Women, and community agencies. The Julian Center, Center of Hope at Riley, and Methodist Hospital will also be in attendance with information tables.

Following the Clothesline Project is another sexual assault-related event, Ending Gender Based Violence. Beginning at 3 p.m., the Deputy Attorney General will give the opening statement. Afterward, workshops, spoken word performances and a panel discussion will follow. There will be pizza and free t-shirts while supplies last.