Sexual Assault Awareness Month at Augusta University will begin quietly April 1, with members of AU athletic teams and the AU Police Department hanging T-shirts on a clothesline on the Forest Hills Campus.
The T-shirts — some large, some small, some child-sized — will have empowering messages on them written in marker or fabric paint. Messages like “Yes means Yes.”
The official kickoff will begin the following day, April 2. Guests will be invited to participate by decorating a T-shirt or writing positive messages in chalk on the sidewalks on the Forest Hills campus. They can also enter raffles to win a T-shirt.
At 3 p.m., the baseball, softball and volleyball teams will begin play wearing teal jerseys.
“Teal is the awareness color for sexual assault and it just happens that our alternate team color is teal,” said Julie Kneuker, Title IX investigator in the Office of Compliance and Risk Management.
The Clothesline Project is a visual representation of sexual assault survivors. Although an outdated concept today, when the now national Clothesline Project began in 1990, clothing hanging from a clothesline represented an activity typically associated with women in earlier times, when women would gather to hang wash, talk and catch up, Kneuker said. Articles hanging on the clothesline may even include pants or children’s clothing.
“When you see a small shirt, a child size, (you realize) it doesn’t just happen to adults, it doesn’t just happen to females. It happens to children and males, as well,” she said.
Many of the shirts have been designed by survivors of sexual assault, or by someone who has been impacted by sexual assault — perhaps a survivor’s friend or family member.
The Clothesline Project is usually placed on the Summerville Campus next to the Maxwell Theatre, but this year will be a little different. It will travel.
From April 1 through April 12, it will be displayed on the Forest Hills Campus. Then it will move to the atrium of the Student Activities Center on the Health Sciences Campus from April 12-20. On April 20, it will move to its customary spot on the Summerville Campus, where it can be seen not only by students but also by anyone driving past campus on Walton Way. It will remain there until the end of April.
Kneuker said the theme for this year’s event is “It’s On Us.”
“It’s on us to bring about awareness. It’s on us to stop sexual violence. It’s on us to believe. It’s on all of us,” she said.
Find the full schedule of events here.