Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project is an artistic display to address the issue of sexual and relationship violence.

The Clothesline Project, started on Cape Cod, MA in 1990. It is a vehicle for those affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of sexual and relationship violence. This is an opportunity for survivors to reflect on what happened to them and create a t-shirt as a way of expression.

Anyone may create a shirt for the Clothesline Project. Allies of those affected by power-based personal violence are highly encouraged to participate and create a shirt for the display as well.

The purpose of the project is:

  • To bear witness to the survivors of power-based violence as well as those who have lost their lives
  • To help with the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or are survivors of this violence
  • To educate, document, and raise awareness of the extend of the problem of sexual violence
  • To provide a nationwide network of support, encouragement and information for other communities

How to Create a Shirt

Each shirt should reflect the victim/survivor/ally’s personal experience. You may include a name, date, and memorabilia such as tools of a trade or symbols of interest.

While it is not required, some people use a color code for shirts.

  • White -- Those who have been murdered as a result of sexual or domestic violence.
  • Red or Orange -- Those who have been raped or sexually assaulted
  • Purple or Lavender -- Those who have been physically, emotionally, verbally, sexually abused by an intimate partner
  • Blue or Green -- Survivors of incest or child sexual abuse
  • Pink or Black – Those who have been attacked because they were or were thought to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
  • Yellow – Allies and those who want to support any survivor or victim as well as help to end sexual violence

Create a shirt individually

If you are not able to attend a shirt making session, you can make it on your own and drop it off at the Williamson House (white house, corner Midway and Main St.) or mail it to the SRVSS Office 1200 E. Main St, Kent OH 44242.  Please use acrylic or textile paint, color-fast dye or indelible ink or sew rather than using glue to attach anything.

Host a Shirt-making Session

Residence hall communities, student organizations and departments can HOST a shirt-making session for the Kent State Clothesline Project.

Hosts are asked to:

  • Provide a private space for people to make shirts (enclosed room or lounge)
  • Advertise the session to your group and beyond
  • Provide blank shirts for using during the session (your group can get them donated or purchase them.) If this is not possible, please still contact us to discuss other ways to get shirts.

The SRVSS Office will provide the following:

  • Paint and markers for decorating the shirts
  • Staff for the session
  • Resources to share with participants

To learn more or schedule a shirt making session please call SRVSS at 330.672.8016

For Survivors

Making a shirt is part of the healing process for survivors of violence. It is the very process of designing a shirt that gives each person a new voice with which to expose an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has dramatically altered the course of their life. It is up to the survivor what content they want to use, as long as the full name of the perpetrator is not displayed.

For Those who have been Killed

You may want to submit a shirt that belonged to the victim. Please show on the shirt the victim’s name, date of birth and death and hometown. When the shirt is complete you may wish to take the time to write a description of the person you have memorialized.

Please include information you wish to share about their death. Tell what this person meant to you and how you think they should be remembered.

Participating in this project provides a powerful step towards helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded their experience.

For more information about the Clothesline Project, visit