“What were you wearing?”
It’s a question people ask survivors of sexual violence all too often—a question wrought with victim-blaming and an implication that, maybe, the survivor could have prevented their assault if they had worn something less revealing, less sexy.
To spotlight National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, three local organizations—Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, Jana’s Campaign, and the Fort Hays State University Women’s Leadership Project—have worked together to bring this Survivor Art Installation to Hays.
“We want students, or anyone, to view the show and to see themselves reflected in the outfits,” said Christie Brungardt from Jana’s Campaign. “…and put the blame where it belongs which is on the rapist, the person who’s caused the harm, rather than the victim.”
The Survivor Art Installation displays a collection of articles of clothing worn by sexual assault victims. Each story represents what each victim was wearing at the time of their assault. None of those outfits invited the people wearing them to be sexually assaulted.
This installation will be available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 through Friday April, 20 at the Hays Arts Center Annex, 1010 Main St. in downtown Hays. The following week, the installation will be available for viewing from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25 at FHSU in Forsyth Library, main floor on the west wall.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports one in three women and one in six men in the United States have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes. On U.S. campuses, 20 to 25 percent of college women and 15 percent of college men are victims of forced sexual contact during their time in college.