Archive for the ‘Survivor Art Installation Project’ Category

Assistance Request from fellow Survivors for Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Trigger Warning

September 26, 2014

Hello, Friends –

One nice thing about my new position is that I have plenty of time to plan for SAAM 2015. We have some great things in the works and I would like to ask for my readers help. It will be totally anonymous – but the world needs your story.

There is a relatively new program called the Survivors Art Installation Project. It is designed to do away with the myth that what a person wears causes them to be raped. After all, most of us have heard that we must have done or said or worn something to ask for it. This project absolutely destroys that myth.

What I need – I need a short statement of what you were wearing when you were raped. I know that this is a lot to ask. I am including another person’s description so you can see what I mean.

What were you wearing?
“Running shorts and a tank top. I swung by his place on the way back from my run. He kept saying how hot I looked and I kept making excuses to leave. He wouldn’t let me go.”
(Outfit inspired by a 20 year old university student)

I don’t need any actual clothing – I will replicate what you send me. The clothing is placed on standing boards and displayed with your statement.

On a personal note – I was going through things this past week – going to have a garage sale – and I was going to throw away the last BDU uniform I ever wore. I kept it, you know, I just took it off and threw it in a tote and put it in the basement. Everything is still in it – on it. My rank, my earplug case, a pen still in the pocket. It still has the T-shirt I was wearing. It has had so much meaning to me over the years. Sometimes I look at the tote and just stare – sometimes I open it up and touch it or talk to it. I had just reached the place where I felt that I could let it go – only to find out about this project. What a terrific way to tell the story! What better way to put that piece of my life to good use!

If you would like to participate – please email me a description of what you were wearing, your age at the time and branch of service, if you were serving in country or overseas. NO NAMES WILL BE INCLUDED!

I would really love it if you could help me out. We are trying to go big this year – really big!

The whole project is based on the poem – but the poem is a trigger – so just be aware.

What I was Wearing
by Mary Simmerling

was this:
from the top
a white t-shirt
and round at the neck

this was tucked into
a jean skirt
(also cotton)
ending just above the knees
and belted at the top

underneath all this
was a white cotton bra
and white underpants
(though probably not a set)

on my feet
white tennis shoes
the kind one plays tennis in
and then finally
silver earrings, and lip gloss.

this is what i was wearing
that day
that night
that fourth of july
in 1987.

you may be wondering
why this matters
or even how i remember
every item
in such detail

you see
i have been asked this question
many times
it has been called to my mind
many times
this question
this answer
these details.

but my answer
much awaited
much anticipated
seems flat somehow
given the rest of the details
of that night
during which
at some point
i was raped.

and i wonder
what answer
what details
would give comfort
could give comfort
to you
my questioners

seeking comfort where
there is
no comfort
to be found.

if only it were so simple
if only we could
end rape
by simply changing clothes.

i remember also
what he was wearing
that night
even though
it’s true
that no one
has ever asked.

Thank you in advance – I know that what I am asking you for is so hard.