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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Clothesline Project gives abuse survivors a voice at NMSU

David Castañeda
The variety of shirt colors each hold a different significance that helps survivors identify stories like their own. Oct. 17, 2023.

This article contains mentions of assaults that are sexual in nature. If you or someone you know experiences sexual violence, or any form of sexual assault, you can find local support via La Piñon’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 575-526-3437 or go to

“Why did this happen to me?” 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you Mom.”  

“I was just a kid.”  

These are just a few lines of stories the Clothesline Project displayed at New Mexico State University on Oct. 17. Part of a national campaign, the event provides a safe space for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse to anonymously share their experiences through color-coded t-shirts, not only to give victims a voice, but to educate, as well. 

Co-hosted by the Department of Criminal Justice and the Office of Health Promotion, bringing the Clothesline Project to NMSU is thanks to NMSU professor Dr. Ahram Cho. For her, the project was an opportunity to bring attention to an issue through an experiential learning environment. 

“Your voice has power,” Cho said. “The purpose of this event was to educate our students about not only the prevalence of the violence and the abuse but also the impact of it. And one of the stereotypical views on victimization is victim blaming, which is a deeply rooted culture that we have.” 

The Clothesline Project was organized by the Department of Criminal Justice and the Office of Health Promotion. Oct. 17, 2023. (David Castañeda)

This is the second year the Clothesline Project has been held at NMSU. While initially, there were no definite plans to make it an annual event, the impact on students around campus after last year’s event was profound, and many requested that it be held again to continue to tell stories and open discussion about sexual and domestic abuse. 

“I think anybody that takes a look at the t-shirts will understand real quickly how big of a problem sexual violence and domestic violence and interpersonal violence is,” said Dr. Dennis Giever, head of the Criminal Justice Department. “I mean, the first year we had this I was beyond shocked when I saw it. I felt like crying, thinking of the people that were actually victimized. And so, allowing people a mechanism to kind of express what has happened to them – you can see how important it is.” 

Participants hung shirts with their stories all around the Aggie Lounge on Oct. 17, 2023. (David Castañeda)

Callie Burrow, an NMSU graduate student who helped put together the event, believes that this expression is vital in helping victims see that they aren’t alone – especially on a college campus. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 26.4% of female and 6.8% of male undergraduate students experience rape or sexual violence at school. However, only about 20% of victims report their cases.

“I think it’s a really important event because it’s not something that’s so much in the light all the time because victims often feel like they have to hide in the shadows, when in reality, there’s so many more victims than we actually realize,” Burrow said. 

While the majority of the t-shirts shared stories and statistics of abuse and assault, there were also many who spread messages to fellow survivors of sexual and domestic violence, reminding one another that they are not to blame for their experiences and encouraging everyone to keep going. This, Dr. Cho says, is what makes the Clothesline Project so impactful. 

“I want this event to be the beginning of breaking the silence,” Cho said. “Hopefully over time, we’ll be able to create a culture that no longer blames the victims, but the offenders. Because especially among college students, misperceptions around sexual assault, in particular rape, a lot of time victims tend to isolate themselves and blame themselves. So, I really hope that this event can help to create a healthy and supportive culture among NMSU students as a long-term goal.” 

If you or anyone you know is facing sexual assault or abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at +1(800) 656-4673, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at +1(800) 799-7233 for help.

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About the Contributors
Adeline Triplett, Staff Writer
Adeline Triplett is starting her second year with The Round Up. She is a senior at NMSU, majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a focus in print/editorial and a minor in International Studies. Adeline was raised in Farmington, New Mexico. She has always had a love of writing and reading due to growing up with parents who are teachers. Adeline began writing creatively in elementary school and has continued ever since. She discovered her passion for journalism in high school and hopes to make a positive impact with her stories. Outside of school and writing, Adeline enjoys spending time with friends and family, binging movies and shows, and traveling as much as possible. Moving forward, she hopes that working at The Round Up will help her grow as a writer and in her future career.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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