T-Shirts in Yard Raise Awareness

In Brief

A clothesline in Harvard Yard full of colorful t-shirts served as an unconventional way to raise awareness of sexual violence against women.

The t-shirts, exhibited yesterday and Wednesday, were designed by victims of such abuse and were color coded for different crimes, including rape, incest and domestic violence.

Some of the t-shirts were designed by acquaintances of women who died from abuse. A few shirts also commemorated male victims.

The exhibit was sponsored by the Harvard group Response and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

While the majority of the t-shirts came from the Rape Crisis Center, several were added by members of the Harvard community, according to Ivanya L. Alpert `94, co-director of Response.


The shirts are designed to reflect each woman's personal experience and help in the heading process.

In addition to calling attention to the larger problem in society, the exhibit is meant to focus attention on Harvard, Alpert said.

"We hope to make people aware of Response and the services we offer at Harvard," said Jessica V. Fortunato '96, a member of Response.

"No one talks about it on campus," Alpert said. "There is a sense that [because] this is Harvard, it doesn't happen here."

She said that Response has seen many cases of sexual violence on campus. "[The issue] can't be ignored," Alpert said.

Sam Zimmerman '92, a passerby, said he supported the exhibit. "It's a thousand little things like this that make a difference," Zimmerman said.

But one junior, who requested anonymity, said she had reacted differently. "My initial response was that it took something away from [the abuse]," she said.

Still, many said the exhibit was important, both for the artists and the viewers. "We hope that people will take a moment to see this as a testimony to the strength of these women," Fortunato said.