By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

At the fifth annual Central Texas College recognition of Take Back the Night on Tuesday, representatives from local groups provided information about how to protect yourself from domestic violence and violence against women.

Organizations including Families In Crisis, Victim's Advocate through the U.S. Army, Fashionably Safe, CTC campus police, Child Protective Services, Family Advocacy, and Court Appointed Special Advocates offered assistance and education at booths in the CTC library.

Organizer and Dean of Library Services Deba Swan said that she recognizes the national event differently each year.

"I find that there are all of these organizations and resources available, but unless people are actually exposed face-to-face, the message doesn't get across," Swan said.

Take Back the Night is an internationally recognized event to increase awareness of violence against women, children and families.

Swan said she included violence - "it doesn't even have to be physical" - against all people, including those attacked because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or political beliefs, because it is an experience to which so many can relate.

At the event, the library unveiled its Clothesline Project, in which victims, survivors and secondary victims of violence, abuse and harassment decorated shirts.

The color of each T-shirt signified a different form of abuse. White T-shirts represent women, children and men who have died because of violence; yellow or beige T-shirts represent victims of assault or battery; red, pink or orange are for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green represent survivors of incest and sexual assault; purple or lavender are for victims of assault based on their sexual orientation; and black T-shirts are for those attacked based on their political beliefs.

One shirt read, "love does not hurt"; another, "love everyone"; and another, made by the Gay Straight Alliance of Central Texas College, featured an infant with a hospital bracelet reading, "homosexual."

Becca Hicks, a student life assistant, said she volunteered to help out in the Clothesline Project because the cause is very close to her.

Her uncle murdered her 16-year-old and 7-year-old cousins, she said, and she feels "compelled to be a voice and let people know they're not alone."

The display will be up for the rest of April and people from the community are encouraged to see the display and participate.

Swan said the Clothesline Project is especially cathartic.

"If you only touch one or two people then you've done a good thing," she said.

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