NMSU students share stories of abuse through interactive t-shirt display

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Note: This story contains descriptions of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Casa offers emergency shelter from abusers via walk-in between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. or by calling 575-526-9513. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, call La Piñon’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 575-526-3437 or go to www.lapinon.org/contact.

LAS CRUCES – Students from the Department of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University joined the international clothesline project this year, giving a voice to those affected by violence.

October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This is the first year that the department, state and local organizations, and three student organizations—Humans4Humans, Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, and Criminal Justice Graduate Student Organization—have participated in the project.

The idea is for people to decorate shirts in different colors sharing their stories of violence, be it physical, sexual or mental abuse. Others highlighted statistics on intimate partner violence, violence against the LGBTQ+ community and more.

“Something I like to talk about is that I can’t change what happened to me, but I can do my part to help others through this, whether it’s emotionally or finding their voice. themselves. I think it’s super important because not only does it raise awareness (of abuse), but it educates everyone about what’s really going on around them,” said Nevaeh Guevara, a student at Humans4Humans, an advocacy group to human trafficking.

More than 150 shirts were hung on clotheslines on the third floor of the Corbett Center Student Union on Thursday. They will be collected and hung again next year – and added. Here’s what some of the messages on the shirts said:

“I was 9. I was 10. I was 11. I was 12. You were more than my stepfather, you were my best friend but as I got older I learned why you kept so close…so that I wouldn’t say anything about all the nights you came to my room.While I pretended to be asleep, you convinced yourself that I was letting you.But when I found my voice, you had no chance.

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“I was sexually assaulted by a close friend on my birthday. I was drunk and sleeping in his bed while my boyfriend and the rest of my friends were playing video games. I told My boyfriend and I confronted my abuser My abuser confessed My boyfriend and my abuser are still friends What am I doing…? What am I saying…? Is it my fault… ?”

NMSU Department of Criminal Justice presents the "clothesline project," an interactive exhibit to raise awareness of violence and abuse on Thursday, October 27 at New Mexico State University.

“I was 13. I thought it was tough love. Instead it was abuse. My own dad always told me I couldn’t do it or I couldn’t do it. wasn’t good enough for 15 years. I’m now free. And my sanity is on the mend.

“You are not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth and your rabid courage. ‘Imagine a day without RAPE.’”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you when he slammed you against the wall. Hitting you and hurting you while my brother and I were crying and watching. I’m sorry you couldn’t drop us off at school because you had bruises on you. I’m sorry the police didn’t do anything when he stuck his hand out the car window and started choking you while I had my sister on my lap trying to push him away. Yet somehow I was forced to visit because they didn’t believe us. I’m proud of you for leaving and saving us and yourself. I love you mom. And I’m sorry.”

“HELP ME. From age 4 to 13, my father abused me physically, mentally and sexually. I never said anything (because) he threatened my mother and siblings. When I finally did, the police came once and said he didn’t look the type. I’m 18 now. My dad is an accomplished lawyer and works with young people in his community. I have hard to get out of bed in the morning My nights are haunted by his face My 2 younger brothers and my little sister didn’t run away with me My mother, older sister and stepfather live together now and we try still healing after all this time. It’s hard to feel like he made it through. The people responsible for protecting me didn’t believe me. And my heart is broken.”

“I’ve always had the feeling of wondering whether this is all a dream or not. When I was about 8 years old, we went to my grandmother’s house every weekend to take care of her. I was sexually abused by a close relative during this time. Today, I prefer to believe that these meetings were only a dream that I will forget one day.

“When I was barely 13, a college kid noticed me. He was in his twenties – I can’t remember the exact ages. We were in a ‘relationship’. He told me I was ” so mature” for my age. It took me years to figure out what had happened. He buried those vulnerable ideas in me. It was my fault – I consented, I responded. Now I’m 20, it’s hard to imagine myself as I was. Small, shy, seeking affection. I reach out to her, I hope that when she looks in a mirror, she sees me.

“I am a survivor of domestic violence. 1/1/2004 — the day I survived.

NMSU Department of Criminal Justice presents the "clothesline project," an interactive exhibit to raise awareness of violence and abuse on Thursday, October 27 at New Mexico State University.

“I was only 7 years old…when my uncle asked me to play with him…I remember I was wearing my pretty yellow dress…And he told me to snuggle up to him…I didn’t know…I I was only 7 years old…

“I was only 17…My high school boyfriend told me he cared about me…He told me he wanted to be my first…Every time he hugged me, he hugged me. touched… I told him to stop so many times, but he didn’t. Don’t listen to me… I was only 17…”

“Me, wanting to experience college after a pandemic was not an invitation to enter. Me, trying to make sure you weren’t homeless was no excuse to come to my bed. I wish I didn’t come to college. Maybe I would have been safe.

“To this day, I still apologize for being too HAPPY.”

“When I was 10 on a Boy Scout camping trip. A scout always has to be ready. I was never prepared for what was to come…”

Others read:

Leah Romero is the Trending Reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached at 575-418-3442, [email protected] Where @rromero_leah on Twitter.

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