Clothesline Project Protest Pushes for University Pledge against NDAs
“Oxford University misuses NDAs to silence and intimidate survivors”, It Happens Here Oxford claims.
Today, protesters from across Oxford are collaborating with the artist and activist, Monica Mayer, on an installation on Radcliffe Square. Mayer originally curated The Clothesline Project (El Tendedero) in Mexico City in 1978, where women wrote experiences of harassment, abuse and domestic violence on pink cards, which were pegged on a clothesline. Now students at Oxford are recreating this.
With Oxford University colleges facing criticim for their handling of rape and sexual assault allegations, focus has been concentrated on the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to silence victims. Earlier this week, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) was the first college to ban NDAs, following controversy surrounding the college allegedly “trying desperately to convince” a victim of assault “not to complain”.
In a statement from one of the organisers of today’s demonstration, she remarked: “whilst LMH has set a positive precedent for the banning of Non-Disclosure Agreements there is still a long way to go”. She proceeded to say, “I hope that the Clothesline Project will elevate survivors’ voices in the face of a climate and institution which prevents them from speaking out about their experiences”. The organisers believe that other colleges should be following suit.
Various organisations within Oxford have been involved, including the It Happens Here Campaign, the Oxford Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Cat Calls of Oxford, Oxford Women in Law, and Oxford Women in Business.