The T-shirts represent the victims. The colors represent the different types of crimes, from sexual assault to domestic violence to homicides. The sizes represent the ages of the victims.
The sheer number and variety illustrates the severity of crimes against women.
"You may have defeated me, but you will not destroy me," one pink T-shirt states.
Hundreds of T-shirts, each with a different message, lined clothelines on the University of Iowa Pentacrest lawn on Thursday as part of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program's Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project is a national effort to combat violence against women.
RVAP's message was clear: no victim is the same and no age is shielded.
The advocacy group based at the University of Iowa used the very visible display on Thursday to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is April.
"We hang up a lot of different shirts here on the Pentacrest to raise aware about sexual assaults and other crimes. Each shirt represents a different victim of crime and each color represents a different type of crime," said Jessica Schmeckpeper, volunteer coordinator for RVAP.
It was hard for anyone walking by not to notice and take a quick look at the messages.
Here are some of the services RVAP offers to victims, according to the group's website:
- 24 Hour Hotlines at 1(800) 284-7821 and (319) 335-6000
- Advocacy during sexual assault exams and the medical process
- Advocacy throughout the police or University reporting process
- Advocacy during legal proceedings
- Referals for mental health, legal aid, local crisis centers and more
- Education and awareness programs for community members, professionals and students