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Support on display

Elizabeth Braccia and Taylor Hill, who co-planned Widener’s recent Take Back the Night day of events, knew that the presence of the Clothesline Project in the University Center would make an impact.

Participants in the Clothesline Project decorate T-shirts to spread awareness of sexual violence, with each shirt color representing a different type of abuse. The decorated shirts are hung on a clothesline for all to see.

“The Clothesline Project is a huge part of this event. It really makes a lot of these issues visual,” said Braccia, a senior from North Wales, Pa., majoring in social work and gender and women’s studies.

Take Back the Night at Widener was sponsored by the Widener Center for Violence Prevention. Several workshops were held and counseling services were made available. The speak-out event featured Kathy Walker, a member of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), as the keynote speaker.

The students who organized the day’s events said that the presence of Take Back the Night in the heavily trafficked University Center was helpful to their cause.

“We have a really great planning committee and a lot of organizations on campus help out to make it happen,” Braccia said. “This topic does tend to be really sensitive, so it's great to see people be interested and come up to the tables and ask questions and even just take a minute to look at the shirts or even make a shirt.

“They're able to really connect on a deeper level,” she added of the participants. “This is a chance where people can share their experiences and connect with one another.”

For Hill, co-planner of Widener’s Take Back the Night along with Braccia, the day provided an opportunity to make the campus community more aware of domestic and sexual violence.

“If I could have the general community and the general population on campus come away with one thing, it's just to become more aware of the types of violence and the incidence rates of violence that occurs,” said Hill, a junior from Middletown, Del., majoring in social work. “This type of violence does occur every day. A lot of people don't grasp that.”