By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
T-shirts of every color of the rainbow stretched around Powell Plaza on Tuesday for The Clothesline Project, a companion event to Take Back The Night.
These two awareness events at Eastern Kentucky University seek to highlight the issue of violence, of all kinds, directed at both men and women.
Most of the T-shirts were decorated by students, each color representing a different type of abuse.
For example, a purple shirt is decorated to honor a survivor of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The T-shirts “serve as a way to share personal stories and encouragement,” said Gaylene Stringfellow, a 2011 EKU graduate. She said she returns each year for this daylong event because of “its power and importance.”
There were so many T-shirts this year, the display area had to be extended, she said.
“We were excited to see so many new shirts being made, but at the same time, saddened that so many more people are affected each year by abuse from others.”
Later that night, more than 100 gathered for the 10th annual Take Back The Night rally and march organized by the Women & Gender Studies department.
The first documented Take Back The Night event took place October 1975 in Philadelphia when residents rallied together after the murder of a young woman who was stabbed to death while walking near her home, according to the organization’s website.
Since its beginning, the event spread internationally and is focused on eliminating sexual violence, in all forms.