Sexual Assault Awareness Display Comes To Mary - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Sexual Assault Awareness Display Comes To Mary

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Domestic and sexual assault are becoming major problems in North Dakota. Last year, more than 5,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported, and more than a 1,000 cases of sexual assault were recorded.

To commemorate National Sexual Assault Awareness month, the University of Mary invited the North Dakota Clothesline Project to its campus.

The Clothesline Project is an audio visual display of messages from survivors of molestation, rape or abuse.

Powerful, is one of the best ways to describe the Clothesline Project.

UMary's social work and counseling departments wanted to send a strong message.

"When you get to see these intimate stories and all the sizes of the T-shirts it really shows that these crimes and abuses happen to so many women. So many ages and varieties," says student Shadoe Svenn.

Sveen volunteers to watch over the project, and says she's seen a wide range of emotional responses; everything from sadness to wanting to talk about change.

"It really hits me in the heart. It makes me feel good that we're doing this because it shows the awareness for it," says Sveen.

Since Monday, students, faculty and staff have come to read and even hear about this project.

"The gong that happens every 10 to 12 seconds is to remind us that there is someone that's abused and hurt. And the whistle that you hear, which sounds really similar to a cry for help is just deeply moving," says social work professor Martha Reichert. 

Each shirt color symbolizes a form of abuse: Yellow for battery or assault, pink for rape, blue and green for incest and the list goes on. The once victims, now survivors, are men, women and children.

"When I go through the shirts it is emotional. Seeing all of the shirts and people's feelings that are representative in the shirts. Even though I see them all the time, it's still a very powerful, emotional thing to seen their feelings represented in a visual display," says Dana Mees of the North Dakota Clothesline Project.

There are more than 700 shirts made by men, women and children for the project as a form of healing and teaching.

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