By LUCIA ESPINO
In America, one in four women and one in 13 men will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. On average each day, three women die as a result of domestic violence, the U.S. Department of Justice reports.
For the third year, the Non-Traditional Students Club here will sponsor the clothesline project for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 22 in the mall, students can create messages and art on white shirts for the project. At 12:30 p.m. Oct. 23, students will meet at the empowerment center to walk a clothesline with the shirts to Loftin Student Center. The shirts will be on display on the second floor of Loftin from Oct. 23-31.
The international project started in 1990 with 31 shirts on display in Hyannis, Mass.
The idea of a clothesline came from women talking about good and bad moments of life while hanging the wash to dry, the project’s website states. “This project is part of the healing process, the shirts are for survivors or in memory of victims,” said Melissa Flores-Valencia, a Seguir Adelante counselor.
The white shirts will be decorated with art and encouraging messages.
“As students make the shirts, there will be counselors around for support and help in case they need it,” Valencia said.
The Non-traditional StudentsClub will march with the clothesline from the empowerment center at 703 Howard St. to Loftin Student Center, where the shirts will be displayed.
At this college, only white shirts are used but each color represents a type of assault, Valencia said.
White represents a victim who died because of violence; yellow is for battered or assaulted; red stands for survivors of rape and sexual assaults; blue means survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple is for victims attacked for their sexual orientation; black represents victims attacked for political reasons.
Valencia said domestic violence is not only physical but includes emotional and sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse is usually the beginning of domestic violence. Extreme jealousy, keeping the victim from seeing family, going to school or work, calling he/she bad names, and threatening to take their children are signs of this type of abuse.
Signs of domestic violence are hits, pushes, slaps, rape, threats, and killing, Valencia said, adding that none of these signs are normal.
Domestic violence can happen to any one regardless of ethnicity, race, color, income, sexual orientation, age or gender.
Survivors of Incest Anonymous reports one of three girls and one of five boys will be victims of incest or sexual assault before the age of 18.
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was passed, which combines tough penalties to offenders and offers aid and support to victims.
Valencia explained that here in San Antonio the Putting an End to Abuse through Community Efforts (P.E.A.C.E.) initiative is educating the community about the magnitude of often-deadly consequences of domestic violence.
The empowerment center provides counseling and information on resources for victims.
For information, call the empowerment center at 210-486-0455.
Call for help
Battered Women’s Shelter crisis hotline 210-733-8810
National Domestic Violence hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Texas Department of Human Resources abuse hotline 800-252-5400
San Antonio Police Department victim’s advocacy line 210-207-2141
Rape Crisis Center 24-hour hotline 210-349-7273