YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: In the largest display of its kind in Bergen County, 1,800 t-shirts that hung on The Green outside the county courthouse yesterday gave each of their creators the loudest voices of those at the 20 th annual Clothesline Project.
The t-shirts, created by victims and survivors, were created and displayed to raise community awareness of domestic violence against women, men and children.
One of those creators, a survivor of domestic abuse, told the hushed gathering how feelings of shame, guilt and the fear of loneliness kept her “captive to a distorted definition of love.”
With help, she said, she left her abuser behind and made a new life.
“We must break the chain of violence and it starts with each and every one of us,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg told the crowd. “It starts with the education system. It starts with bullying laws. It starts with our families.”
Several others spoke – among them, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle ( photo, below ).
Other attendees included state Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Catherine Fantuzzi, Shelter Our Sisters Associate Executive Director Lil Corcoran and Lydia Pizzute of HealingSPACE, which hosted the event.
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- 1 in 4 women will be the victim of a sexual assault;
- 1 in 6 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18;
- 1 in 4 women will have experienced domestic violence;
- Roughly 1/3 of female homicide victims are murdered by an intimate partner.
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The Clothesline Project (CLP) began on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It has since spread world-wide.
Ninety shirts were hung during the project’s first year in Hackensack in 1993.
The numbers have continued to grow, with messages that are, by turns, angry, sensitive, and hopeful.
Although the amount can be staggering, Corcoran said, it “represents just a fraction of the violence.”
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