‘What Were You Wearing?’ art exhibit kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month events

March 30, 2018 | Events, News, UToday
By Christine Billau

An art installation titled “What Were You Wearing?” will be on display for one week at The University of Toledo to kick off a series of events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The free exhibit hosted by UT’s Title IX Office is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6, in Carlson Library Room 1005.

“What Were You Wearing?” will be on display Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. The art installation shown here in this photo by Jennifer Sprague was on display at the University of Kansas.

“What Were You Wearing?” is a collection of 24 survivors’ stories and re-creations of the outfits they were wearing at the time of their assaults. The goal of the “What Were You Wearing?” project is to debunk the common rape myth that sexual violence happens because someone dresses a certain way or that they are “asking for it.”

UT President Sharon L. Gaber will speak at the opening reception for the exhibit at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 2.

The exhibit has been presented on campuses across the U.S. since it was created in 2013 and changes at each campus based on the submissions of the survivors of sexual assault in each location.

“This exhibit corresponds with Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the national conversation about what victims were wearing,” Gaber said. “Across the country, we are seeing gymnasts courageously stand up for their leotards after others publicly and wrongly blame their clothing as a cause for sexual abuse. The powerful exhibit at The University of Toledo should help all of us to move away from placing fault and shame on the victims of sexual violence and instead place the responsibility on those who cause harm.”

“Clothing has nothing to do with sexual assault,” said Donald Kamm, director of Title IX and compliance at UT. “The exhibit provides a tangible response to one of culture’s greatest sexual assault myths.”

Other events planned for Sexual Assault Awareness Month throughout April include:

• Monday, April 2 — Sexual Assault Awareness Jeopardy from noon to 1 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. Hosted by the YWCA Hope Rape Crisis Center, UT’s campus advocate will lead a trivia game on sexual assault awareness facts to learn more about the issue of sexual assault and resources on campus.

• Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 6 — Red Flag Campaign. Hosted by the Title IX Office, red flags will be displayed in Centennial Mall to represent the 316 individuals who reported rape in the city of Toledo in 2016.

• Tuesday, April 3 — “Interpersonal Violence” from noon to 1 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. The presentation is hosted by sexual assault nurse examiners at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

• Wednesday, April 4 — Bringing in the Bystander from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. Title IX leaders at UT will explore different strategies to help a friend or acquaintance by safely intervening in instances of sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking.

• Thursday, April 5 — Safe Place Training from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. A Safe Place is a confidential place free from homophobia, transphobia, bipohobia and heterosexism where people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, queer or questioning can feel welcome, safe and included. During Safe Place Training, which will be hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Success, participants are provided information on common issues and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, what it means to be an LGBTQ ally, as well as international, national, state, local and UT resources.

• Tuesday, April 10 — Self-defense class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the International House Multi-Purpose Room on the sixth floor. The UT Police Department offers a self-defense class open to all UT students, faculty and staff. Participants will learn personal safety tips as well as self-defense tactics in a safe and comfortable setting. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and tennis shoes.

• Thursday, April 12 — The Clothesline Project from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall (rain location: Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge). The event, which is hosted by the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, is an avenue for those affected by sexual violence to express their emotions through writings and drawings on a symbolic T-shirt. The shirt is hung on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the issue of sexual violence.

• Wednesday, April 18 — Walk a Mile in Her Shoes from noon to 2:30 p.m. in Centennial Mall. During the event hosted by UT sorority Alpha Chi Omega, participants will be challenged by a colleague or friend to walk a mile in high heels with proceeds benefiting a local domestic violence shelter.

• Monday, April 23 through Friday, April 27 — A Cup of Prevention. Stickers with resource information will be on every coffee sleeve purchased from Starbucks in the Thompson Student Union and Java City in Rocket Hall while supplies last. As part of the #UTtogether campaign, the information is being distributed to raise awareness on sexual misconduct prevention resources available to students, faculty and staff.

Wednesday, April 25 — Denim Day. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear jeans to raise awareness of sexual violence. Stop by the Title IX and YWCA Hope Center’s tables in the Thompson Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn more.

— What Goes Unseen from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Room 2582. The Office of Multicultural Student Success and the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness are hosting a presentation on the truth about sexual assault and domestic violence in the Latino community.

• Saturday, April 28 — Take Back the Night from 6 to 10 p.m. at Rogers High School, 222 McTigue Drive. The annual event protests all forms of violence against women.  

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/saepp/events.html.

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