E-T Staff Report Cross Timbers Family Services is asking the public to help bring awareness to violence against women.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9, Cross Timbers Family Services will host the annual Take Back the Night Rally at the Erath County courthouse.

This year the group is incorporating “The Clothesline Project.” Any woman, who has experienced such violence, at any time in her life, is encouraged to come forward and design a shirt. Victims' families and friends are also invited to participate. The shirts are ceremonially hung on a clothesline during the Take Back the Night rally for all to bear witness to crimes against women. The clothesline will be displayed the following week on the Tarleton State University campus and other places in the community.

The Clothesline Project is a visual display of shirts with graphic messages and illustrations that have been designed by women survivors of violence or by someone who loves a woman who has been a survivor of violence or killed. The purpose of the project is to bring awareness to the impact of violence against women, and provide a means to courageously break the silence that too often surrounds violent experiences.

According to the Clotheslineproject.org, the project started in 1990 by a small group of women who wanted to find a unique way to take staggering, mind-numbing statistics of violence against women and turn them into a provocative, “in your face” educational and healing tool. Moved by the power of the AIDS quilt, which presented the concept of using shirts and hanging them on a clothesline, as the vehicle for raising awareness about the issue. The Clothesline Project has grown nationally and internationally with an estimated 500 projects and 50,000-60,000 shirts.

Participation provides a powerful step towards helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded her experience. The process of designing a shirt gives each victim a new voice and a new way to express an often horrific and unspeakable experience that has changed their life. Participation is easy, Cross Timbers Family Services provides the shirt and supplies and it is free and confidential to participate.

Come by the office to design a shirt, or call 965-5516 for more information.