The Clothesline Project UVU


The first Clothesline Project originated in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in 1990 when a member of the Cape Cod's Women's Defense Agenda learned that during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them.

This statistic motivated the women's group to create a program that would speak up and reveal the issue of violence against women. One of the women, visual artist Rachel Carey-Harper, thought of hanging color-coded t-shirts on a clothesline in a public place to gain recognition of the issue.


The Clothesline Project has been displayed at Utah Valley University each year since 1998. For the past 5 years, about 30-50 shirts are added to our collection annually. We estimate that we have over 2,000 shirts in total.

Learn more about UVU's
Clothesline Project




What do the Colors of the T-Shirts Represent?

white t-shirt
WHITE: Someone who died because of violence
yellow t-shirt
YELLOW: Survivor of physical assault or domestic violence
red t-shirtpink t-shirtorange t-shirt
RED, PINK, ORANGE: Survivor of rape or childhood sexual abuse.
blue t-shirtgreen t-shirt
BLUE or GREEN: Survivor of incest or childhood sexual abuse.
purple t-shirt
PURPLE: Someone attacked because of their sexual orientation
brown t-shirtgray t-shirt
BROWN or GRAY: Survivors of emotional, spiritual, or verbal abuse
black t-shirt
BLACK: Someone disabled as the result of an attack or someone assaulted because of a disability

What do the Sounds Represent?

During the exhibit, participants hear three distinct sounds.
Each represent the frequency of certain statistics.

icon of a gong

The GONG is struck to indicate someone is being battered.

icon of a gong

The WHISTLE is blown to indicate a rape is being reported. Keep in mind that most rapes are not reported.

icon of a gong

The BELL is rung to indicate that someone has died in a violent attack.