Year-long creative initiative to shed light, build support for stronger sexual assault laws to protect Hoosier women

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Year-long creative initiative to shed light, build support for stronger sexual assault laws to protect Hoosier women

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 25, 2019) – More than 1.5 million Hoosiers report being raped or sexually assaulted, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. And each year, many of the people responsible for those crimes are not prosecuted due to weak state laws.

Women4Change and the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault are determined to lower the number of sexual assaults in Indiana and strengthen state laws around sexual assault. They will do so with support from the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields and a growing list of organizations that include arts and cultural groups, as well sexual assault survivors’ groups 

Today, with dozens of postcards bearing descriptions of sexual assaults experienced by Indiana women strung on a clothesline behind them, the organizations’ leaders launched a year-long creative initiative designed to compel legislators to advocate for the safety of Hoosier women.

El Tendedero/The Clothesline will feature art exhibitions, writing workshops, play readings, library reading recommendations, a healing service, a Statehouse event and more. The first public event is Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Mexican Artist Mónica Mayer will discuss feminist art from the 1970s onward, addressing both her own work and that of other artists, and the Asante Children’s Theatre will perform.

El Tendedero/The Clothesline is based on an art installation first presented by Mayer in Mexico City in 1978. The installation transforms a clothesline – a symbol of traditional feminine roles – into a forum for conversation on sexual violence against women. Participants are invited to anonymously answer one or more questions on pink postcards that are then hung on a clothesline. Postcards include such questions as “Have you ever experienced sexual violence or harassment? What happened?” and “Where do you feel safe? Why?”

El Tendedero/The Clothesline is designed to expose the extent to which women – regardless of race, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity – are assaulted and their voices suppressed in Indiana.

“Sexual assault affects all kinds of Hoosier women in every county of our state, and the consequences are enormous,” said Tracey Horth Krueger, chief executive officer of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICESA). Those consequences reach beyond the victims themselves, affecting societies—and economies—at large. The National Institute for Justice estimates that sexual assaults cost the U.S. economy some $450 million a year. 

Nearly 100 Hoosiers have already written postcards describing their experiences with sexual assault. Women4Change Indiana and ICESA will collect the cards from women statewide and share them with lawmakers to illustrate the prevalence of sexual assault in Indiana.

“Our goal is to inspire women to learn who represents them in the Indiana General Assembly and then to engage with their representatives and encourage them to actively support initiatives to reduce and prevent sexual assault,” said Rima Shahid, executive director of Women4Change Indiana.

While elected officials are often reluctant to discuss issues related in any way to sex, the organizations behind El Tendedero/The Clothesline hope that the emotional impact of the clothesline installation and the power of individual stories will help lawmakers see that they need address this issue head-on. 

In addition to educating Hoosiers on the prevalence and nuances of sexual assault, the initiative will provide survivors who want to participate with the opportunity to share and/or witness stories of assault. Community resources and support services will be available at every event.

The Harrison Center for the Arts hosted a preview exhibition for El Tendedero/The Clothesline last November. Attendees of the First Friday art gallery openings were invited to complete a postcard and pin it to one of the clotheslines strung across the center’s gymnasium. 

“The response was powerful,” said Joanna Taft, executive director of the Harrison Center. “It was one of the quietest yet loudest exhibitions we’ve ever done.” 

A timeline of events to date is listed below, with full descriptions available at Groups interested in joining the effort should email

Participating Organizations as of Sept. 25, 2019

More partners are being added daily. To inquire about participating, email

Arts Council of Indianapolis and Gallery 924

Asante Children’s Theatre

Assent 121 

Cathead Press

Coalition of 100 Black Women

Coburn Place

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Families First

Fonseca Theatre Company

Harrison Center for the Arts

Herron School of Art + Design

Hope Center

Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and survivors’ groups statewide

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and survivors’ groups statewide

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indiana State Museum

Indiana Writers Center

Indianapolis Contemporary

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Indianapolis Public Library

Indianapolis Women’s Chorus

Indy Reads Books

Julian Center

La Plaza

Latino Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Madam Walker Legacy Center

New Harmony Project

People for Urban Progress (PUP)

Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre

Spirituality & the Arts, IUPUI Arts & Humanities 

Summit Performance


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MEDIA CONTACT:  Jen Schmits Thomas,, 317-441-2487


Facebook:  The Clothesline Indiana

Twitter: @ClotheslineIND

Instagram: @ClotheslineIndiana

Women4Change Discouraged by the US Supreme Court Ruling on Gerrymandering


Media contact:

Alysa Villelli


For Immediate Release

June 27, 2019

Women4Change discouraged by the US Supreme Court ruling on gerrymandering and vows to continue fight to protect democracy

Indianapolis—Women4Change (W4C) is discouraged by today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling and continues to call for an end to the practice of partisan gerrymandering.

“This is a setback for our democracy," said W4C Executive Director Rima Shahid. "Even Chief Justice Roberts, who sided with the majority, wrote that 'gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles.' Now it is up to us, as Hoosiers, to take redistricting reform into our own hands. Call your state representatives, look at who is supporting the creation of fair districts, and, as always, make sure you vote!”

In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled against the challenges to partisan gerrymandering cases in both North Carolina and Maryland. Without limits set by the court, this ruling allows legislators to draw districts to the distinct advantage of one political party.

Redistricting reform is an issue all Hoosiers should care about. Without fair districts, voters cannot be accurately represented when a political party’s agenda takes precedence over the wishes of the individual voters. An independent redistricting commission eliminates the ability for a political party to redraw maps to benefit itself. Women4Change, along with our partners at All IN for Democracy, remains committed to the work of redistricting reform that is critical to protecting democracy in Indiana and across our country.

About W4C

Founded in 2017, Women4Change is a nonpartisan, grassroots, collaborative organization whose mission is to equip and mobilize women to engage effectively in political and civic affairs. Members work to strengthen democracy and to advocate for the leadership, health, safety, and dignity of all women in Indiana.

Women4Change in the News

Supreme Court Rules on Virginia Gerrymandering Case


Media contact:

Alysa Villelli


For Immediate Release

June 18, 2019

Supreme Court of the United States Spurs Advocates to Action

Indianapolis—On June 17, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Virginia House of Delegates in a racial gerrymandering case in a 5-4 decision. This ruling means that the newly created court-ordered maps will be used for future elections in the state of Virginia.

Women4Change (W4C) continues to support the creation of an independent redistricting commission in Indiana to end the practice of partisan gerrymandering which prevents fair representation of voters’ interests.

“The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces the need for Indiana to join other states in setting a national example for fair redistricting reform,” said Martha Lamkin, Board Co-Chair of W4C. “Partisan gerrymandering has the ability to threaten the fabric of our democracy and must be addressed.”

W4C Co-Chair Ali Slocum continued, “With its partners in All IN for Democracy, W4C works to encourage members of the Indiana General Assembly to create meaningful legislation to end gerrymandering by creating an independent redistricting commission.”

All Hoosiers should care about redistricting. Districts that fairly represent voters’ interests give all Hoosiers equal opportunity to express the priorities of their families and communities. An independent redistricting process will empower voter voices and reduce the impact of political party agendas. Gerrymandering creates barriers to competitive races for office, leading to the retention of incumbents and generating voter apathy. W4C and its partners will continue their work to bring about redistricting reform because having fair voting districts is vital to democracy in Indiana and the entire United States.

About W4CI

Founded in 2017, Women4Change is a nonpartisan, grassroots, collaborative organization whose mission is to equip and mobilize women to engage effectively in political and civic affairs. Members work to strengthen democracy and to advocate for the leadership, health, safety, and dignity of all women in Indiana.

Rima Shahid named “Rising Star” at Golden Laurel Professional Reception

For Immediate Release

Contact: Alysa Villelli

Phone: (614)-477-0595


Women4Change Executive Director Rima Shahid named a Rising Star in the 124-year-old tradition of Recorder Media Group recognizing minorities who excel.

Carmel, Indiana- 05/16/2019- Rima Shahid has been named a Rising Star by the Recorder Media Group by virtue of her achievements and leadership in the Indianapolis community. This distinction recognizes her as an individual whose efforts make this city and its surrounding areas a better place to live, learn, and work. Being chosen as one of ten honored professionals at the Golden Laurel Professional Reception, sponsored by Indiana Donor Network and Indianapolis Urban League, Rima will be named for this award through her productive efforts.

Originally a native Hoosier, Rima spent more than a decade in the Middle East, and worked as Trade Development Officer at the Pakistan Embassy in Bahrain. As the Executive Director of Women4Change, Rima first joined the organization in September 2017. In holding this position, Rima is charged to lead the implementation of Women4Change’s mission to equip and mobilize women to engage effectively in political and civic affairs in order to strengthen our democracy and to advocate for the leadership, health, safety and dignity of all women in Indiana. Through outreach, commitment, and action, Rima has significantly impacted Women4Change in a positive way.

Women's History Month Honorees

At the end of March, we asked our members to think about the women in their lives who have supported and inspired them. We quickly began to receive messages telling us about several women who are creating positive change and impacting the world for good. Listed below are the names of some of these women. Take a moment, read through them, and then think of a woman in YOUR life who has made a positive impact. Send her a message, call her, or pay her a visit to tell her "thank you".  You can also click the image or button below and make a donation to our organization in her name so that her impact continues to grow. 

Thank you, and let's keep making HERstory!

SB198, the Indiana Hate Crimes Bill, is not a step forward. Women4Change urges Gov. Holcomb to veto this bill.

Media contact: Alysa Villelli



Indianapolis, IN — SB198 does not cover all Hoosiers and it omits some of our state's most vulnerable targets of hate crimes. Also, Women4Change agrees with our community partner, ACLU, that the wording of this bill is so vague that it may be unconstitutional and will certainly lead to numerous lawsuits over First Amendment rights. 

A hate crimes bill is needed to protect and advance the rights of all Hoosiers. Unfortunately this legislation falls far short of that goal. We ask the Governor to veto this bill. Women4Change pledges to fight alongside of him to pass future legislation that is clear, compassionate and can withstand challenges by the courts. 

How do you thank the women in your life?

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Whether it be with a card, flowers, telephone call, or hand-written sonnet, there can be no doubt: it's important to thank the women in your life for all they contribute--perhaps now, more than ever. Novelist, poet, and playwright Gertrude Stein summed it up succinctly when she observed, "Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone."

To be honest, it can be a little intimidating to find ways to adequately express our gratitude to our supporters because what you provide is so critical to our ability to make change. Every cornerstone of progress and change in women's history was made possible by individuals who saw the potential of women to challenge the status quo, lead by example, and achieve greatness on a scale thought to be unobtainable. Marie Curie, who became the first woman to receive a Noble Prize in 1903, had an agreement with her sister, Bronislawa, to provide financial assistance during Bronislawa's medical studies, in exchange for similar assistance during her own schooling two years later. Three years after the Girl Scouts of America was founded, the organization desperately needed funds, so its founder, Juliette Gordon Low, famously sold her wedding pearls to keep the organization afloat, ultimately dedicating almost all of her personal assets to keep her dream alive. 

Here at Women4Change, we feel the support of our donors in every step we take. Whether it be at our empowering events, like the State of Women in Indiana and Ready to Run Indiana, or pounding the pavement at the State House to advocate on behalf of redistricting reform, hate crimes legislation, equal pay, the opioid crisis, and voter access, Women4Change is here for you and because of you. 

Like us, we know behind you is a woman who has supported or inspired you to make you who you are today. We ask, in honor of this Women's History Month, that you make a contribution to Women4Change in honor of that woman, no matter who she might be. Show her that you are thankful for her time, compassion, or wisdom--that you are thankful for her. With these donations, Women4Change will post a tribute naming all honorees on our website and social media pages, as well as send a personalized message to your honoree. Simply donate at the link below and then email (please include their contact information - email or address) to tell us who you would like to thank and why and we'll work on the rest. 

We look forward to continuing in this partnership as powerful voices for change!

Donation link:

W4C stands firmly committed to a bias crimes bill that protects all people


We are deeply disappointed in the actions of the House of Representatives today with its failure to include all Hoosiers in their amendment addressing bias crimes.

The exclusion of gender, gender identity and age leaves large numbers of Hoosiers exposed to victimization.

On the heels of the #MeToo movement and countless examples of the harassment and assault of women, it is hard to believe that a bias crimes bill passed in 2019 would exclude gender. 

Likewise, national statistics clearly show that our transgender community is disproportionately affected by hate crimes around the country. Indiana has not escaped this trend.

In this, International Women’s Month, we implore the Indiana General Assembly to pass meaningful bias crimes legislation that protects all Hoosiers regardless of their gender, gender identity or age.

We call on Governor Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly to complete the list of protected groups as they finish their work in the 2019 General Assembly. Anything less would be a disservice to residents of our great state.

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