Clothesline, march honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Gus Bode

Take Back the Night March, Rally to take place tonight, beginning at the Interfaith Center

Factoid:For more information on the Women’s Center, which provides free and confidential services, call 1-800-334-2094

Those affiliated with tonight’s Take Back the Night March and Rally hope to cause movement in the fight against domestic violence, rape and sexual assault. However, they hoped students would stand still momentarily Thursday to recognize the issue while viewing The Clothesline Project.


The annual Take Back the Night March will take place tonight with participants meeting at 7 p.m. at the Interfaith Center on the corner of Grand and South Illinois avenues. After assembling, participants will march to the Town Square Pavilion on a path that will, for the first time in more than a decade of existence, involve walking and chanting along the street.

“Carbondale has been overwhelmingly supportive, and it’s a beautiful thing,” said Women’s Center volunteer recruiter Lydia Waligorski. “This [permission to march on the streets] sends the message that the city of Carbondale cares and is supportive of what we do.

“[The march] is about awareness and support for survivors who have already come forward, and will hopefully give other survivors who have not come forward the strength to do so.”

The march, which is open to all members of the community, will include speakers Sheriff Robert Burns and Michael Charbonneau, performances by the Southern Illinois West African Drum Ensemble, local band Lyric and a speak-out session that will give survivors a chance to express themselves to other attendants of the rally.

Prior to the march, at 5 p.m. in the Interfaith Center, coordinators hope to provide a comforting environment during the Women’s Safe Space and Healing Hearts Project. The space will give women and children a place to share their experiences as well as the opportunity to assist in the making of a collage.

The collage is just one means of artistic expression meant as a form of catharsis for survivors, friends and family of survivors and those who simply wish to illustrate their disdain for the act. The Clothesline Project is another.

The Clothesline Project began in 1990 in Hyannis, Mass. According to Walogorski, the project has taken place in Carbondale for the past eight or nine years and has consistently grown with each year.


The Clothesline was set up for the second day this week for students to view the works of survivors as well as friends and family of survivors of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.

The display, which was up from 8 a.m through 4 p.m., was an assembly of T-shirts of various colors and sizes. Each color represented a different act of violence committed against the maker of the T-shirt. Blue and green shirts, for example, represented survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest.

Shirts were not always made by the survivor personally, with some made by family members of friends of those unable to make their own shirts. White shirts, such as one made for Joseph Michael Duncan, a child who was murdered by the abusive boyfriend of his mother, were in memory of those who lost their lives in a domestic violence situation.

The shirt that read, “sadly missed, always remembered,” hangs in the glass display case in the Student Center along with a joint effort from a survivor and her current boyfriend. One side of the shirt is a message from the survivor herself, the other a message from the boyfriend who has helped her with her struggle.

Jim Schaffnit, a junior in history education from Palatine, stopped to view the Clothesline Thursday afternoon. He said he believed the purpose of the display was not only to help survivors vent but also to make others aware that the actions mentioned on these shirts will “hit home for everybody at some point.”

Amanda Walch agreed with Schaffnit that many people were not aware of how common these acts of violence are.

“There are a lot of rape shirts and it’s frightening,” said Walch, an undecided freshman from Highland. “You see this stuff happens a lot and even if you don’t know anyone it has happened to, it does happen.”

The majority of students who passed through the Faner Thursday were forced to pause by the dramatic shirts hanging up. Some of the T-shirts told a blatant message, such as the shirt that read, “I was four. He stole, murdered and violated my childhood.” Some simply told a date:8/22/98. And others used merely a splatter of paint to represent an indescribable experience they endured. Whether with a date or an image, all of the shirts told a story.

For example, the shirt made in memory of Duncan actually belonged to him and was made by a cook who asked to create a shirt for the young victim.

The shirts were not only painful for survivors and their families but also for those passing by them.

“I would encourage people to come [to the clothesline] because it makes people aware that there are people who have been hurt physically and mentally by people they love and strangers,” said Dominiece Hoelyfiield, a freshman in psychology from Bloomington who said she planned to attend the march after being choked up by the clothesline. “It’s really beautiful. But at the same time, it brings a sense of reality.”