This survivor is using art to share the stories of thousands of survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and she wants to include yours.
We Will Not Be Silenced:
Amplifying the voices of thousands of survivors of sexual assault and harassment with simple and beautiful art.
Short quotes from survivors are on squares that flutter out as the viewer walks by. Panels full of these squares are 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, and hang on the wall, reminiscent of quilts. Each panel has different quotes, patterns, and composition, encouraging the viewer to read through all of them. When the project is complete, I will fill a gallery space with these panels, with quotes from thousands of survivors, and it will be free and open to the public to peruse. This show will travel around the world.
Photographs for media use:
I share the squares on social media:
All survivors of sexual assault and harassment are welcome to participate by filling out my survey. Even if you have not experienced sexual assault or harassment yourself, there are still a few sentences that you can complete if you know someone who has dealt with it.
Patterned squares with quotes from people talking about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment flutter out as the viewer walks by. The colorful squares are on 6′ tall and 4′ wide panels, enveloping the viewer in the way sexual assault and harassment affect every bit of our lives. The quilt-like look references the long history of women expressing themselves through fiber arts, when they could not express themselves in other ways. Each panel contains 54 quotes from a diverse group of people, and has different patterns and composition, encouraging the viewer to read through all of them. When the project is complete, I will fill a gallery space with these panels, with quotes from thousands of survivors, and it will be free and open to the public to peruse. This show will travel around the world.
The survey consists of sentences to complete and elaborate on:
We need to listen to survivors because
I want to feel safe when
To protect myself,
When someone sexually harassed me at work,
When someone sexually assaulted a person I know,
When someone sexually assaulted me,
I hesitated to come forward because
The justice system
Groups that protect sexual assaulters
The first time I remember someone sexually harassing me was at age
I am afraid when
The person who sexually assaulted me
When people ask me what I was wearing,
I wish people wouldn’t
I feel supported when
There are also two prompts to start your own sentences:
Has prejudice affected your experiences? How?
Is there anything else you want to say? Enter it here.
Every question is optional, and the prompts can be changed.
Once I have a few more panels, I will begin working to secure an exhibition for this series. The first show will most likely be in the Kansas City area (USA, Kansas and Missouri), because that is where I am located. I will then be working to have this series shown all over the country and the world.
If you are a gallery or museum and you would like to show this exhibition, please contact me. I have a few requirements for showing: The space must be large enough to fit many of the 6’x4′ panels, be open often, and be free to the public to view.
I’ve created panels with 500 quotes from survivors so far, and I will make many more.
I’ll keep making more panels, and I will be working to find a space for an exhibition in 2020. If I have enough funding, I expect to continue making more panels for numerous exhibitions after that.
I will fill a gallery space with panels for We Will Not Be Silenced. I will share the stories of thousands of survivors.
Sexual assault and harassment are ubiquitous, yet survivors are shamed into silence about what someone else did to them, because the repercussions for coming forward are usually worse than the repercussions for the person who assaulted and victimized them.
That’s horribly wrong, and it has a lot of psychological repercussions for survivors. Instead of telling them to shut up and sit down, we need to be supporting them and giving them the ability to tell their story. That is the only path to healing.
This series is also a tool to demand change from our society. It is ridiculous that the only way to make change happen is by showing the effects of sexual assault and harassment on a large scale. But, that is the reality we live in. The only way it will change is if we all stand together and demand it. I hope that this series will create a rallying point and further the fight for change.
Creating this series helps me recover by sharing my story and helping other people share theirs. It gives them a means to speak and feel heard without having to deal with repercussions for doing so. It gives me a chance to do what I can, in my way, to bring about change.
Reading survivors’ stories is difficult. They show us that people we thought we could trust can actually be monsters.
Part of the challenge with developing this series was to create something that shares many people’s stories, but which is also easily readable. By breaking experiences down into a sentence or two, people can share the facts of what they have been through and what they want to say, and readers can understand the experiences they have had without feeling emotionally drained themselves. It’s powerful and meaningful, but not so overwhelming.
The first panel I created debuted in the Queer Experience Exhibition at InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park, KS, from June to July. It consisted half of quotes from LGBTQ+ people and half of quotes from non-LGBTQ+ people.
The other panels have not been shown and are waiting for a future exhibition.
No, these pieces are not quilts. They are composed of squares with quotes and my paintings on them, and they are put together to look like a quilt at first glance. The squares are interactive. They are made of lightweight fabric attached at the top to the panel, and as people walk by, they flutter out after them.
Yes. It’s very important that this project be intersectional, and I’m working to ensure that by specifically approaching minority groups to participate. I will continue seeking submissions from people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people of other minority groups. I initially had a demographic question at the end of the survey, but it seemed to make people feel more uncomfortable than represented, so I removed it. I’m not here to play the white savior. I would really appreciate it if people of minority groups would share it with groups they participate in, to help ensure that all voices are heard. It’s especially important because prejudice strongly affects the probability of having to deal with assault, and the support or lack thereof that survivors get. This project needs to show that.
Because I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and thus can easily ask for participation from it, there is a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in this series.
No. Survivors of sexual assault and harassment come in every gender.
There are more women represented in this project than men because this is something that pretty much all women have had to deal with in some way or another.
There are many men and non-binary people who have had to deal with sexual assault and harassment, and their voices are just as important and just as welcome in this series.
Yes. An on and off partner of 5 years raped me. I went to the police, but he has not had to face any consequences. Unfortunately, my experience is not unusual.
I am an artist with a Painting degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. I work in a variety of media, and make art that is colorful, botanical, abstract, and participatory. My work has been shown at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, as well as in a variety of other group exhibitions.
Contact me if you have further questions or would like an interview.
I live in the Kansas City area.