New Art Installation Challenges Stigma Surrounding Sexual Violence

Outfit From “What Were You Wearing?” Exhibit (Jaly Marquez)

By Jaly Marquez
An art installation called “What were you wearing” was installed by the Feminist Conversations club on the first floor of Hammond. The piece features a series of outfits on a wall and above each piece is a caption stating that “What were you wearing?” and a response from each individual outfit. This exhibit is to showcase the stories of sexual violence survivors. It is a powerful installation that aims to shatter the myth that sexual violence is caused by a person’s wardrobe. The display features 10 outfits hanging next to 10 rape survivors’ stories about what they had on when they were attacked. T-shirts, exercise clothes, dresses, cargo shorts, etc. were all displayed and each represented a different man or woman attending college.
Upon doing further research the movement was initially started in 2014 when Christine Fox posted a question on Twitter: “If there are any women on my TL who are victims of sexual assault & don’t mind sharing something…what were you wearing when you were assaulted?” This sparked a reply from thousands of women and men thus creating a new campaign that the Feminist Conversation group is proud to showcase annually. Some of the items are children’s clothing. Some of the stories shared were of sexual assaults from earlier in their lives, but many of them were mainly focused on events that happened on campuses throughout the country.
This installation is intended to provoke questions and even garner some victims a sense of closure so that they realize that nothing they were wearing makes sexual violence acceptable. There is a trigger warning placed in front of the articles of clothing and it states that these outfits were recreated and that sexual assault is an ongoing issue within our country, even on most of our campuses.