Clothesline Project 2013

Every October, local communities in more than 100 countries raise awareness and dialogue in the hope of putting an end to violence against women and encouraging alternatives to violence. ‘A Week Without Violence’ is a time for people to take part in activities which promote change and empower individuals and organisations to make a difference regarding violence in their communities.

In partnership with Quantum Support Services (QSS), GCLS ran the ‘Clothesline Project’ for the second time in 2013. The construction of a ‘Clothesline’ for use in public displays was made possible by generous contributions from Midvalley Bunnings and the Sale Men’s Shed. T-shirts decorated by victims of violence and their loved ones were hung on the clothesline to represent their particular experiences of family violence.

Each shirt is a powerful and personal message and serves to; bear witness to the survivors as well as the victims of the war against women; help with the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or are survivors of this violence; and educate, document and raise society’s awareness of the extent of the problem of violence against women.

The Morwell display at the MidValley Shopping Centre was set up from the 14th to the 18th of October, with our media launch taking place at 11am on Monday the 14th. The launch was attended by Latrobe City Council Mayor, Councillor Sandy Kam; Russell Northe our local Member for Parliament; Sergeant Mark Blanchard from the Morwell Family Violence Unit and representatives from Gippsland’s family violence service providers. It was fantastic to see so many people turn out to kick the Clothesline Project off with such enthusiasm, thank you to everyone who was able to attend.

The Sale display at the Sale Shopping Centre was up from the 22nd to the 24th of October.

We had approximately 20 staff from local service providers available at both displays throughout the  two weeks, enabling people to stop and discuss family violence and the display. Around 50 people asked for information or discuss the t-shirts on display in Morwell and a similar number in Sale. Some people we spoke to were looking for support and help and we were able to refer them on to appropriate agencies. Others stopped to congratulate us for bringing awareness to such a wide spread and important issue and even more wanted to donate money or support our project in some way. This feedback demonstrates how powerful the Clothesline Project is and how much of a difference this work is making.

Outside of the two displays this year we also had a static display in a shop front on the main road of Yarram. Two team members from GCLS also spent an afternoon in Yarram in order to raise awareness of support services available. We will continue to grow the Clothesline Project and our connection to Yarram next year, with great responses from support agencies, local businesses and community members.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

We have made some amazing connections and can’t wait to have you on board again next year for even bigger and more exciting Clothesline Projects during Week Without Violence (12th-18th October, 2014).  If you have any ideas or suggestions to make this event even better next year, or if you’d like to be involved in the planning, please don’t hesitate to contact Sarah at GCLS.