Women who have survived gender-based violence, along with people who have lost loved ones to this crime, will share their experiences with the community in an unexpected way at two of HRM’s largest shopping malls over the next two weekends as part of the Clothesline Project.
T-shirts that have been decorated with words or images that represent the experiences of violence against women will be hung from clotheslines at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth on November 2, and Halifax Shopping Centre on November 9 between 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. The Project is being displayed in honour of the upcoming 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which starts on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and runs until December 10, with December 6 being Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Halifax Regional Police (HRP) Victim Services has partnered with a number of local organizations to bring the Clothesline Project to HRM. Some of the partners include Bryony House, Alice Housing, Adsum House, YWCA, New Start and Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. The initiative started in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women and has since spread world-wide.
Angela Jeffrey of HRP Victim Services says they’ve been asked why this particular medium has been chosen. “The answer is that often people believe that sharing these experiences publically is in some way ‘airing your dirty laundry.’ Of course this is not the case. This is a social issue and crime that must be ‘aired’ and addressed.”
Representatives from most of the participating organizations will be taking shifts accompanying the display and will be available to answer questions and provide information.
“The stats are staggering. Every week, at least one woman in Canada is murdered by a current or former intimate partner.* Also in our country, a woman is sexually assaulted by forced penetration every 17 minutes,”** says Jeffrey. “The goal of the event is to bring awareness to the community about the issue of woman abuse. It’s only when we begin to really talk about this social problem that we will begin to solve it.”