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UI Hosts Clothesline Project

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--The Clothesline Project allows survivors of violent crimes to share their personal stories.

It's a display of more than 400 t-shirts created by survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and even hate crimes.

At first glance it's just a t-shirt with a sash, but there's a gut wrenching story behind it all.

"I picked different parts of my life to symbolize the ways that I triumphed, said survivor Jefri Palermo.

A triumph against five years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

"It robs you of your ability to have relationships and to be close to people. It means that you can't trust people and it's hard to get along in the world, said Palermo.

"It's a lot of anger, said Robyn Conrad.

It's an experience Robyn went through as well.

She was abused by a family friend.

"I was kind of afraid and I really had no idea what happened. For being nine years old that's a lot to go through and not understand, she said.

The rape victim and advocacy program works to make sure that victims no longer have to deal with their experiences alone.

"RVAP provides free and confidential services to victims and survivors of sexual abuse, assault and harassment and their friends, family and loved ones, said Susan Junis, Education Coordinator of RVAP.

That's why these t-shirts are here, to tell the world the many untold stories of abuse.

"We know that about one in four women, one in six men and one out of every two transgender person will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime, Junis said.

While some of these messages showcase the pain and suffering, others are about the healing, and the fact that there is life after.

"Reach out. Don't be ashamed because it's not your fault. We're all survivors. All of us, Jefri said.

The clothesline project is one of many coordinated events at the University of Iowa during April, which is sexual assault awareness month.
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