GC Clothesline Project to offer healing to victims of violence April 2

By Sasha Dyck

GOSHEN, Ind. -- Survivors of domestic and sexual violence had a chance to share their stories as part of their healing process this Friday, April 2, at 10:30 a.m. as the first annual Clothesline Project exhibit is launched at Goshen College. The survivors, most of whom come from the Goshen community, will display T-shirts that they have created around the Schrock fountain -- thus bringing literal meaning to the phrase "airing dirty laundry."

While the Clothesline Project is a nationwide event, Katie Boyts, a junior peace, justice and conflict studies major from Fort Worth, Texas, was instrumental in bringing it to Goshen College. "I wanted to create a venue for people to tell their stories and have a voice," she said. "I want to help victims to no longer be silent."

For Boyts, the "dirty laundry" is a powerful symbol of the silence that many survivors endure. "Talking about what happened is the most integral part of the process. Making art that is anonymous and public, as we're doing, helps survivors speak out and break that chain of silence," she said. "For a lot of them, this is their first time vocalizing and expressing their feelings, and that's important and crucial."

The event not only gives a voice to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, it also brings it to the attention of the broader community. "This has been a really interesting and profound experience to see how much our community is affected by this issue," said Boyts, "It is important to hear these messages that don't usually get heard."

When Boyts worked at a women's shelter, she "saw the suffering and how the healing process functions for people. I'm passionate about being a part of that process, creating space for that healing process to happen. I think there is a need for more advocates of the healing process."

The Clothesline Project was on display around the Schrock fountain.