Aytiannah Evans wrote in bright, red letters “Keep your hands to yourself” on a white T-shirt at the Robert McLaughlin College Center on Tuesday.
“I have a personal friend who was going through this, and I helped her out,” she said, at the Domestic Violence Awareness table, where Evans, a sophomore at Herkimer County Community College, and others could make T-shirts with markers and pens.
Marylynn, an advocate with the Domestic Violence Program at Catholic Charities of Herkimer County, said they had several people make T-shirts at their table over the past week the table was set-up on campus. They also distributed various pieces of information about domestic violence and how individuals can get help for themselves or a loved one.
“I think a lot of people are misinformed about what is domestic violence,” said Marylynn. “People think it’s physical, but it’s also name calling, controlling who you can see and talk to, or isolating them from friends and family.”
Marylynn said a lot of the visitors to the table asked for information to help a friend who they thought maybe in an abusive situation. “A lot of people, they don’t even know that their friend is in this situation,” she said.
Making the T-shirts are part of the program’s own Clothesline Project, which originated in Cape Cod in 1990. The project allows women who have been victims of violence to express their emotions by decorating a T-shirt. The shirts are then hung on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women. The Clothesline Project has since spread worldwide.
According to a news release from the college, by bringing the Clothesline Project to Herkimer County, “survivors are helped to connect and heal together.”
T-shirts were on display at the Herkimer County Office Building, with messages from victims or to victims about how to get help. Among some of the messages displayed on the white and yellow T-shirts were “I hate how my B/F loves me,” “My mom survived, you can too!” and “No one deserves to be abused.”
The Clothesline Project will be on display at the college center’s staircase from Oct. 21 to 23.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Domestic Violence Program is currently conducting a bra and underwear drive for the women and children who utilize the shelter for the whole month.
Drop boxes can be found at locations in Ilion, Little Falls and Dolgeville, including Catholic Charities of Herkimer County at 61 West St. in Ilion. The program sheltered 23 women over the past year, and 29 children in Herkimer County.