Defend yourself

As a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Week, The Clothesline Project invites students and staff to decorate t-shirts in recognition of violence against women. The project began at SMC on Tuesday and will continue through Thursday, March 10. Survivors of domestic violence, relatives of victims, or anybody who wishes to express an emotion regarding violence against women are welcome to decorate a t-shirt. Clothing lines are set up between palm trees in the quad, where the decorated shirts are to be hung up for display.

In addition to the visual expressions on the t-shirts, the experience becomes more in-your-face with repeated sound effects representing the dark statistics of domestic violence. A bell rings several times per day to indicate that another woman has been killed by an intimate partner, once per minute a whistle sounds to indicate that a woman has been raped, and several times per minute, a gong sounds to indicate that another woman has been beaten.

Devin Ruiz, president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, with the support of Women's Studies 8, helped to organize the three day long Clothesline Project event at the SMC main campus quad.

Since 1990, the Clothesline Project has helped raise awareness about domestic violence. Starting with only 31 t-shirts on display in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Clothesline Project has since grown to include many projects nationwide and internationally. The project now includes about 50,000 t-shirts, representing that number of different stories of abuse. The concept is to let each woman express themselves in a way that everyone can see.

The clothesline and t-shirts will be on display day and night. Ruiz feels that SMC needs this event because at a community college "people don't really know each other, so it's important to create awareness of the people around you." She hopes that the event will bring students closer together and deepen understanding of each other's experiences.

According to a survey made by the National Institute of Justice, 1.3 million women in the United States report physical assault by an intimate partner annually.

"Domestic Violence is no joke, it needs to be addressed," SMC Student Monté Marable, 19, said as he hung up his decorated t-shirt on the clothesline. "Nobody should hold their tongue, because the moment you say something you get attention and that is what you want. It's all about communicating the message. And don't be scared to do it," Marable said.

This year's Domestic Violence Awareness Week is titled "Is This Love?" and includes other organized events throughout the week.

Wednesday March 9, in HSS 165, Chie Abad from the Global Exchange will hold a lecture called "Behind the Labels: Commercial Abuse" from 3:15–5p.m.

Self-Defense demonstrations will be held at the Resource Fair from 11 a.m. – 1p.m. Thursday, March 10 in the quad. A variety of cause-related agencies will be there together with the Clothesline Project to inform, educate and support.

Students who prefer later events can attend a film and panel discussion "Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis of Masculinity,"from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in HSS 105.

Faculty and Staff Trainingwith several different presenters, including the Assistant City Attorney for Santa Monica, takes place on 9-11 a.m. Friday, March 11 in the Loft.