Sunday, October 24, 2021
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Airing Society’s Dirty Laundry

Boldly decorated t-shirts proclaiming personal stories of abuse and violence confronted students, faculty and community members strolling through the quad last Monday, Oct. 3.

The shirts— painted with phrases like “My abuse wasn’t just boys being boys” and “Eight years of sexual abuse and I’m still strong”— fluttered from a clothesline as an exhibit for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Manager Michelle Kroner said that the display stands out as an annual success and conversation starter.

“It’s one of our most visually viewed campaigns,” Kroner said, “because it just kind of catches the eye of somebody walking by and raises awareness of the individuals who actually took the time to make a shirt about the way that violence has touched their life or the life of somebody that they care about.”

Shirts from the project tell how violence has touched the life of the individual.
Shirts from the project tell how violence has
touched the life of the individual.

The Clothesline Project has been impacting lives at UMKC since 2008. However, it first began in October 1990 in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

The goal of the project was to represent one of society’s most frequent, yet overwhelmingly hidden, forms of “dirty laundry”: violence, particularly towards women. By using a clothesline, the exposition aspired to transform traditional “women’s work” into a platform that amplified female voices and women’s diverse experiences.

“We had shirts of all different sizes,” Kroner remarked. “There were little shirts and big shirts and different languages on the shirts, so it was a very inclusive event for everyone to come see. People had something they could relate to.”

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