This August, visitors across the US will witness stories from survivors of sexual violence emblazoned on 200 bright, red quilt squares. During a 12-city tour, The Monument Quilt will be displayed at public parks, town squares, college campuses and high school football fields from White River, SD to Queens, NY. Larger than two basketball courts put together, the traveling quilt is part of an on-going project to create public healing space for survivors of rape and abuse.
“By stitching our stories together, we are creating and demanding public space to heal,” says Hannah Brancato, Force Co-Director. “The Monument Quilt is a platform to not only tell our stories, but work together to forever change how our country responds to rape. We are creating a new culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed.”
Sexual violence in the United States is nothing short of an epidemic. In the US, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 3 trans people and 1 in 6 men will be raped or abused in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely to experience rape as breast cancer.
At each of the twelve displays, attendees will witness survivors’ stories, demonstrate public support, and transform their local response to rape. The Monument Quilt provides clear and accessible steps to support survivors of rape and abuse when, often, people don’t know where to begin. Through public recognition, the quilt reconnects survivors to their community.
“Our community is not whole without all of the people that make it up, and as part of our community, if survivors are hurting then the community itself is fractured. We are grateful that the Monument Quilt will give us a chance to publicly support our survivors so that they, individually, and we, the community, can start to become whole.” – Maria Bady, event coordinator, Fox Valley, WI.
The official tour dates and stops for the 2014 Monument Quilt tour are…
Aug 9: Arden, NC
Aug 10: Birmingham, AL
Aug 12: Baton Rouge, LA
Aug 13: Quapaw, OK
Aug 14: Des Moines, IA
Aug 16: White River, SD
Aug 18: Fox Valley, Wisconsin
Aug 19: Chicago, IL
Aug 20: Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 23: NYC, NY
Aug 24: Durham, NC
Aug 30: Baltimore, MD
Sept 2: Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT
Local partners have this to say about bringing The Monument Quilt to their community:
“We are thrilled to bring The Monument Quilt to Baton Rouge,” says Racheal Hebert, Executive Director of STAR. “Often rape survivors feel ashamed, isolated and stigmatized by their experiences; the Monument Quilt will help bring together hundreds of stories of survivors and supporters to help survivors in our community know that they are not alone.”
“This project has helped White Buffalo Calf Woman Society build stronger than ever relationships with relatives in our surrounding communities,” says Chelsey in South Dakota. “White Buffalo Calf is dedicated to providing resources & services to all those who have been affected by sexual violence. The Quilt Monument Project; which encompasses our tradition, has helped heal spirits that were once broken.”
“In a public project such as FORCE, there is a deep need to create safe space to acknowledge and discuss the impact of historical and present-day race and gender-based trauma on female-bodied persons of color,” says Kalima Young, a Doctoral Student and Instructor at University of Maryland College Park and coordinating space for female-bodied persons of color at the Aug 30 Baltimore display. “Sexual trauma is complicated by racism and white supremacy and by creating an opportunity for female-bodied persons of color to discuss their unique histories around survivorship, we can hopefully begin to heal and organize in inclusive and affirming ways.”
“Bringing the Monument Quilt to the heart of the Tar Creek Superfund Site in Oklahoma links forever the rape of our lands with the violence experienced by us as individuals. LEAD Agency is proud to be able to host this viewing of the Monument Quilt.” says Rebecca Jim coordinator of the Quapaw, OK display.
“A broad base of Americans are affected by rape and abuse,” says Rebecca Nagle, co-director of Force. “People experience violence, recovery, justice and access very differently based on gender, sexual orientation, class, race, citizenship and ability. However, the mainstream narrative of how sexual violence happens and who is experiencing it does not match this reality. Many survivors don’t see themselves and their experience in our media’s very narrow depiction of rape. The Monument Quilt seeks to create a highly public narrative of sexual violence that tells many stories, not one. Correcting the public misconception of who is experiencing sexual violence and how it is happening is one step towards ending rape.”
The 100 x 100 foot quilt that will be witnessed during this summer is only the beginning. Over the next two years the quilt will continue to grow. In a final display, the Monument Quilt will blanket over one mile of the national mall with thousands of quilt squares to spell “NOT ALONE”.
For those interested in shaping this nation-wide community art project, there are many different ways to get involved. Survivors and allies can make their own quilt square. People across the country are invited to host quilt-making workshops in their school, community center, place of worship, or town. You can also volunteer time or donate money to help make this vision a reality. All the different ways to engage, resources for survivors, information about upcoming events, and more can be found at themonumentquilt.org. If you are interested in volunteering at a quilt display email email@example.com.
The 2014 Monument Quilt tour is being planned and created by…
Alternate ROOTS, AAUW Younger Women’s Task Force Baltimore Chapter, American Visionary Art Museum, Crisis Center, Inc., Deaf Iowans Against Abuse (DIAA), Domestic Violence Program Initiative, Durham Crisis Response Center, Hollaback! Baltimore, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault – Women of Color Advisory Network (WOCAN), Immigrant Movement International, Johnson C. Smith University,Kiran Inc., La Casa Mandarina, Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer (LUNA), LEAD Agency, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, LSU Women’s Center, Meskwaki, Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, National Sexual Assault Conference, National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), Nisaa African Women’s Project, North Carolina Central University Women’s Center, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC), Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), People of Color Queer Allies Trans, Phynyx Ministries, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, Quapaw Tribe’s Domestic Violence Program, Queens Museum, Rape Victims Advocate, REACH Counseling, REACH of Macon County, SART Baltimore Community Partners, Sguympa Program, Shaw University, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), Stop Sexual Assault in the Military, TurnAround, Inc., University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Women’s Center, Violence Intervention Program, Inc (VIP Mujeres), Wesleyan Feminist Underground, White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Pittsburgh Center for Race and Gender Equity.
FORCE, the group behind The Monument Quilt is (as they put it) “an art and activist campaign to upset the dominant culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.” Recently, FORCE has received international press for pretending to be Playboy releasing a “Top Ten Party Commandments” guide to consensual sex for college students. The group is also widely known for their viral panty prank, where they pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting consent themed slogans on undies and thongs. They also received national attention for projecting “RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building, and for floating a poem written by a survivor in the reflecting pool of the national mall.