In the summer of 1990, a coalition of women’s groups on Cape Cod, Massachusetts sought to develop a program that would educate, break the silence, and bear witness to one issue – violence against women.

Clothesline Project

The idea of using the clothesline was natural. Doing laundry was always considered women’s work, and in the days of close-knit neighborhoods, women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry.

The concept was simple – let each woman tell her story uniquely, using words and/or artwork to decorate her shirt. Once finished, she would hang her shirt on the clothesline for others to view. The action served more than one purpose; it acted as an educational tool for family and friends, a healing tool for survivors, and an awareness tool for those still suffering in silence to know they are not alone.

The Clothesline Project has become internationally recognized with active projects as far as Tanzania.