USU Eastern student Carolyn Thornton stares at the messages written on T-shirts hanging from clotheslines in the student center ballroom last week.
USU Eastern student Carolyn Thornton stares at the messages written on T-shirts hanging from clotheslines in the student center ballroom last week. Each shirt represents an incident of violence against women, written by the victims themselves or by friends and family members. The two shirts in the foreground are blue, signfying that the writers were victims of incest or child sexual abuse. Other colors are for physical assault, rape, attack for sexual orientation, political reasons, verbal or emotional abuse or death from domestic violence. The Clothesline Project has grown from a small display in Massachusetts in 1990 to a nationwide effort to give victims a way to heal and to raise consciousness of domestic violence, particularly against women. The problem is as bad in Utah as it is elsewhere in the nation. The Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System estimates that there are more than 160,000 intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes each year. In 2011, there were 19 domestic violence-related homicides, and the Utah Violent Death Reporting System records show about three domestic violence-related suicides occurring each month.