Strong words on the line

Tops with inspiring words, impassioned messages and emotional pictures covered part of Mid Valley Shopping Centre on Wednesday, 19 October.

The annual Clothesline Project shirt exhibits once again shone a light on the devastating effects of family violence.

The shirts, which were displayed at various locations across Gippsland recently, were designed by those effected by domestic violence.

Areas such as Leongatha, Wonthaggi, Warragul and Bairnsdale all hosted exhibits, with the main one being at Morwell’s Mid Valley.

This was the fifth year of the project, and the messages were just as strong as they were in their first year.

With phrases like ‘hands are for loving, not for hurting’, ‘speak up for your belief’ and ‘stand together’, there was a powerful stance taken with the designs.

Gippsland Community Legal Service’s Gail Baker, who runs the project, said making the shirts was a great way to give a voice to those who had been affected.

“It’s a way for them to express themselves and what happened to them, creatively,” Ms Baker said.

“It’s just a very positive environment.”

The shirts, designed by local group Inspiring Women, is facilitated by Quantum Support Services and GCLS and aims to empower women who have experienced family violence through eight, weekly meetings.

These exhibits were a way for the work through these sessions to be displayed.

Ms Baker said the response from the public was positive.

“We had quite a lot of politicians and heads of organisations attend our launch at Mid Valley and a lot of people stopped by to look,” Ms Baker said.

“The response has been really good. A lot of people have stopped to look at the display and taken brochures and flyers for the services we had there.

“It’s great that we’ve got that kind of community support.”

The display, which has since concluded, was launched about a month before White Ribbon Day on 25 November.

*Aimee Dawson is a journalism student from La Trobe University.