Clothesline Project

The Gender Equity Center at CSUSM: Bearing Witness to Gender Violence

The Clothesline Project is a visual display that bears witness to domestic and sexual violence. During the display, a clothesline is hung with shirts. Each shirt is decorated to represent a particular person's experience—either the survivor’s by someone who cares about the survivor.

The purpose of the project is four-fold:

  1. To bear witness to the survivors as well as the victims of the war against women.
  2. To help with the healing process for people who have lost a loved one or are survivors of this violence.
  3. To educate, document, and raise society’s awareness of the extent of the problem of gender violence.
  4. To provide a platform for those affected by sexual and domestic violence at CSUSM to reflect on and share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

The Clothesline Project is displayed on the CSUSM campus several times a year. Materials for creating shirts are included at every display. To request a display and/or shirt-making for your event or classroom, please contact the Gender Equity Center at 760.750.4988.

Creating a Shirt

We would like each shirt to reflect the survivor’s personal experience. You may include a name, date, and memorabilia such as tolls of a trade or symbols of interest. Many individuals will include empowering statements or a reclamation of their  body/mind on their shirts. Individuals may create a shirt on his/her own and bring it to the ASI Women's Center for inclusion in the project.

For Those Who Have Been Killed
You may want to submit a shirt that belonged to the victim. Please show on the shirt the woman’s name, date of birth and death and hometown. When the shirt is complete you may wish to write a description of the person you have memorialized.

Please include information you wish to share about her death. Tell us what this person meant to you and how you think she should be remembered.   Enclose a photograph of the person if you have one and you are willing to part with.

For Survivors

Because making a shirt is part of the healing process for survivors of violence, shirts should be submitted by the survivor. If not possible, a shirt for a survivor should be submitted with her written permission. We ask that you respect their anonymity by not using their name. Last names or hometown are not  required. We would appreciate whatever information you or she would like to share. We will respect requests for confidentiality.


Naming the perpetrator is an important part of the healing process. But, for legal reasons, we cannot display shirts with full names of the perpetrators. We ask that shirt makers use first name or initials if they wish to name their violator.