The Clothesline Project: Reaching Out in a Different Way

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: November 8, 2012

ClotheslineProject2Blackbird Café had some interesting art on its walls Thursday. They were t-shirts all hand-decorated with messages and pictures. This display is for the Clothesline Project, an idea implemented by the clients at The Caring Place, Inc. The Caring Place is a non-profit social service organization those that are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The theme of the Clothesline was chosen because women used to communicate to each other while hanging clothes on the line. “Airing dirty laundry”. Get it? The women who created these shirts are taking steps to break the cycle of abuse that they ensnare them by expressing their pain in a visual outlet. The Clothesline itself symbolizes a connective lifeline to from one survivor to another. This shows the women that they are not alone in their struggles and that there are others that know and understand. It is unfortunate, but many women who are abused do not realize that there is help out there for them. That they don’t know where to look, or they are afraid that no one will help them. We the community can help by spreading awareness and becoming more aware ourselves. This Clothesline Project covers all the bases. Lindsey Shira, Project Coordinator for The Caring Place, thinks that this is an excellent way to reach out to those who need help.

ClotheslineProject3“If you are in an abusive relationship, or you are fearful for your safety, we have a place for you –‘a caring place’,” Shira said adamantly.

Normally the Clothesline Project Display is up at the Caring Place Administrative Office, so why was it at Blackbird Café on Thursday? Thursday November 8 is Porter County Give Day. The Porter County Community Foundation coordinated with local business to let non profit organizations come in and promote awareness and receive donations. From 12:01am to 11:59 pm, gifts to nonprofit organizations that deal with homelessness or provide shelter services will receive matching funds through a pool of $55,000+ from very generous sponsors. Go to to find out how you can donate.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation and in need of help, please contact The Caring Place by going to their website, or their Facebook page. Shira said that there have been women who have sought out and received help from The Caring Place via their Facebook page, so don’t underestimate the power of social media.ClotheslineProject1

If you don’t have access to the Internet, call any of these numbers:

24-Hour Crisis Line:

Local: 219.464.2128

Toll-free Long Distance: 1.800.933.0466


Additional Assistance Numbers

Lake County Victim Advocate: 219.801.1590

Starke County Victim Advocate: 574.772.2222

Porter County Victim Advocate: 219.464.0840 ext. 104

Caring Place Community Advocate: 219.464.0840 ext. 103