By Jensen, Randy on July 29, 2020.
The Sexual Violence Action Committee (SVAC) is asking members of the public to provide personal stories – in confidence – to the co-chairs of the committee about the phrasing “What Were You Wearing?”
“What Were You Wearing?” is a frequently asked question to victims of sexual assault, and the question is a judgment based on bias and lack of knowledge regarding sexual violence.
Centred around the poem “What I was Wearing” by Dr. Slimmerling, the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault created an illustration with brief stories of sexual assault accompanied by the outfits. The intent behind the installation was to create dialogue and shift attitudes from those who blame the victim to humanizing the survivor with a greater understanding of rape culture and its impacts on society, SCAC said in a news release.
SVAC will be hosting an installation of “What Were you Wearing” as soon as the threat of COVID-19 has dissipated. In preparation for the installation, SVAC is seeking stories from individuals on what they were wearing when the assaults took place, with no names to be shared. Participants are only asked for a simple statement of the outfit, description of when it happened and who you are now, with anything identifiable being removed.
SVAC will be seeking out clothes for the installation, but are asking people to please not send their own clothing. Stories can be sent via private messenger over Twitter, @csacleth, and Facebook, CSALeth, to the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre.
For people needing assistance with sexual assault, contact the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre at 403-694-1094, toll-free 1-844-576-2512, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Alberta One Line for Sexual Violence is 1-866-403-8000.