BREAK THE SILENCE

Fair brings awareness, and shirts to campus

Shirts with messages of sexual abuse awareness surrounded the event. (Amanda Del Cid/Union Weekly)

By Elizabeth Campos Staff Writer

As a part of Sexual Assault Awareness month, the Women and Gender Equity Center put together Break the Silence fair. 

On Wednesday April 20, Student Health Services, Project OCEAN, YWCA and other groups gathered at the Speaker’s Platform to promote awareness of sexual assault in its various forms. 

Break the Silence fair was called Clothesline Project in previous years. The name was changed to incorporate more components other than the hands-on experience of the event. 

On both extremes of the Speaker’s Platform, the Clothesline Project is displayed. This project consists of several shirts hanging from a rope, with the purpose of making these unique shirts visible to the public. The shirts are printed with messages of sexual assault survivors, as well as incest, domestic violence or child abuse.

Some of the messages written on these shirts include “This has to stop!,” “Stop Sexual Abuse,” and some other shirts have messages written in Spanish as well.

The shirts were donated to the project by the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), a group that has a partnership with the Women and Gender Equity Center on campus. The YWCA is known for fighting sexual violence and racism.

Break the Silence hosted many organizations and clubs such as Not Alone @The Beach. (Amanda Del Cid/Union Weekly)

“A lot of the women that work for it are women of color, and they look at it from a more cultural lens,” said Desire Campusano, the graduate student assistant of the Women and Gender Equity Center.

Campusano also expressed that collaborating with the YWCA has been a great asset for the center on campus, as different perspectives from different people are brought to the table. 

Across one of the clotheslines hung in front of the book store, a table was set up for the public to create their own shirt which would be hung along with the others that are part of the project. 

The table displayed a variety of colored shirts donated by the YWCA as well as a list that explains what each color meant. Red, pink and orange were for sexual assault and rape survivors, and purple or lavender were for LGBTQ survivors and/or women attacked because of their sexual orientation. 

Marlene Aguilar, a communication major, said that “it’s important to draw attention to these issues.” 

Following the Break the Silence Fair, was Take Back the Night, which was held later that night. It was also put together by the Women and Gender Equity Center.

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