What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation
The Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Office (SVPRO), in partnership with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC), are bringing the What Were You Wearing? Survivor Art Installation to the University of Waterloo.
The installation recreates outfits worn by university students when they experienced sexual violence. Sexual violence survivors are often asked, “what were you wearing?”, implying that what someone wears is the cause of sexual violence.
This semester, the SVPRO and the SASC are recreating the installation to highlight the pervasiveness of victim-blaming and the harm and trauma it causes survivors.
This myth about sexual violence is used to blame survivors and justify the actions of those who cause harm. Survivors are never to blame for their experience(s) of sexual violence. We all have the right to wear what we want.
Sexual violence myths, also known as rape myths, want us to believe that survivors ‘ask for it’ through their behaviour and manner of dress. But the fact is that no behaviour or manner of dress justify sexual violence - the onus is on the person causing harm not to do so.
If only we could end sexual violence by simply changing our clothes.
Instead, it requires from all of us a commitment to end victim blaming, build consent culture, and as a society reflect on why we ask:, “what were you wearing?”
The “What Were You Wearing?” Art Installation was inspired by Dr. Mary Simmerling’s poem, What I was wearing, and was created at the University of Arkansas in 2013 by Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert.
You can visit UWaterloo’s Survivor Art Installation in the SLC multi-purpose room Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28 from 10am – 8pm.
Everyone is welcome!
Engage with the art installation at your own pace.
Questions can be directed to: Stacey Jacobs, firstname.lastname@example.org