Community is encouraged to take action against abuse.
By Roberto Martinez
The Non-traditional Students Club will sponsor a march Oct. 21 promoting the Clothesline Project to spread awareness of domestic violence.
The Clothesline Project is a program that started in Cape Cod, Mass., in October 1990 to address the issue of violence against women.
The project provides a way for women affected by violence to express themselves and serves as an educational tool for the public.
The purpose of the group is to encourage victims and those who know victims of domestic violence to decorate shirts with empowering messages and display them on clotheslines, according to clotheslineproject.org.
Club adviser Maria Jimenez, an academic adviser in the Empowerment Center, said she brought the Clothesline Project here in 2011 after nursing student Kristine Meza, 25, was killed in a domestic violence incident.
Meza was killed by her former boyfriend Feb. 11, 2011, as she was attempting to leave for work, according to a Feb. 15, 2012, article on mysanantonio.com, the website of the San Antonio Express-News.
Nicholas Maldonado, 29, committed suicide moments after shooting Meza.
The article reported that family members were aware of Maldonado’s threats, but they were still shocked that Meza was killed.
The club will provide shirts to decorate 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 19 and Oct. 20 in the mall on the west side of Moody Learning Center.
Paralegal studies sophomore Katherine Alexander, president of the Non-traditional Students Club, is helping to plan the events and invites the public to join the cause.
“We’ll provide the shirts and the crafts supplies to decorate the shirts,” Alexander said.
The march will be at noon Oct. 21 beginning at the Empowerment Center and ending at Loftin Student Center.
Club members will call attention to child abuse during this march by ringing a gong every three seconds to symbolize the fact a child is abused every three seconds in the U.S.
The club will hang the shirts above the stairs in Loftin, and club members will share testimonials and answer questions.
Jane Shafer, community services supervisor with the San Antonio Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, said Wednesday in a phone interview San Antonio had 10,599 family violence reports in 2014.
In 2014, the Texas Council on Family Violence reported there were 132 deaths of women in Texas attributed to domestic violence.
Bexar County reported five deaths last year.
Shafer encourages members of the community to volunteer with the police department’s Family Assistance Crisis Team, which provides support to victims of domestic violence at a substation.
“If you see or hear something, say something,” Shafer said. “Especially when it comes to children because they are more prone to repeating violent behavior. And we have to end the cycle of violence because we all pay as a society in the long run.”
Call the Family Assistance Crisis Team at 210-207-2305.