T-shirts painted with messages of empowerment swayed on clotheslines adorning Malcolm X Plaza yesterday in honor of domestic violence victims.
The event comes more than two weeks after an ex-boyfriend allegedly shot SF State student Cecilia Lam, resulting in her death a few days later at San Francisco General Hospital. Lam was an advocate for the prevention of domestic violence against women before her death.
The nationwide program called the “Clothesline Project”, addresses violence against women through expression. The Sexual Abuse Free Environment Place hosted the event on campus, which happens every October. The project stemmed from a coalition of women’s groups in Massachusetts who wanted to develop a program that would educate and break the silence of violence against women, according to SAFE Place Coordinator Laurene Dominguez.
“We want to raise awareness around domestic and dating violence, especially on the college campuses,” Dominguez said. “It’s a really great opportunity for people to kind of express feelings that they’re carrying with them and I think it can be a healing process for them.”
SAFE Place volunteers set up clotheslines around the plaza displaying t-shirts that students painted on to encourage students to participate. Students walked up to tables and painted t-shirts in honor of those affected by domestic violence.
Realizing how the subject relates to his own life, SF State student Shawn Mcgriff took part in the activities.“With domestic violence going on in my household, I felt like doing this was mandatory,” McGriff said.
McGriff grew up witnessing his mother being abused and victimized by violence, an experience he said shaped his view on relationships. He painted the words “communication is key” on the shirt SAFE Place volunteers gave him.
“I wrote that because you learn how to communicate instead being physical, you use your words and in arguments sometimes you have to agree to disagree,” McGriff said. “You’re never supposed to put your hands on a woman, or abuse them in any way, whether it be physical, verbal or emotional.”
Jarvis Subia stood on the main stage to present his spoken word piece on the subject of domestic abuse. Subia is the president of Spoken Poetry Expressed by All Kinds (SPEAK), and said that he was glad to take part in the event.
“I feel that these are very important subjects that aren’t addressed and are tough to address if you’re around a situation with domestic violence,” Subia said. “It’s great that there’s an awareness around it and we’re acknowledging that this happens and working our way towards bettering it.”
Dominguez said that this project is a time where people can come together and express their feelings on domestic violence in a safe space. “A lot of what we want to do is promote and educate people about what is unhealthy,” Dominguez said.