FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2014
BIRMINGHAM TO HOST THE MONUMENT QUILT, PUBLICLY SUPPORT SURVIVORS OF RAPE AND ABUSE
On August 10, 2014, residents of the Birmingham will witness stories from survivors of sexual violence stitched together on 200 bright, red quilt squares. The Monument Quilt will be on display from 4pm to 8pm in Rushton Park in partnership with Crisis Center, Inc. Larger than two basketball courts put together, the quilt is traveling the US this summer as part of an on-going project to create public healing space for survivors of rape and abuse. 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.
“By stitching our stories together, we are creating and demanding public space to heal,” says Hannah Brancato, co-director of Force, the organization behind the traveling display. “The Monument Quilt is a platform to not only tell our stories, but work together to forever change how our country responds to rape.”
“This summer’s tour will create a national conversation about supporting survivors of rape and abuse,” says Rebecca Nagle, co-director of Force. “We are honored that through local organizations and activists, Birmingham is not only part of this national conversation, but leading it. Together we will create a culture where survivors are publicly supported rather than publicly shamed.”
At the display, attendees will witness survivors’ stories, demonstrate public support, and transform their local response to rape. Participants will be able to write their own reflections, hear speeches and join in community. Survivors and allies who wish to add a square to the in-progress quilt can make one following these instructions. Squares brought on August 10 will be added to the display.
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.
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.
“We are so excited for the opportunity to bring The Monument Quilt to Birmingham!” says Aryn Gieger, the Rape Response Program Coordinator at Crisis Center, Inc. “Being able to provide safe public spaces for survivors is crucial to starting community conversations about sexual violence. Without starting those conversations, we will never be able to change a culture that excuses rape and shames survivors. Projects like The Monument Quilt provide so many communities across the county a great chance to start these crucial conversations and to show that we are here to support survivors!”
The quilt viewing on August 10 is being sponsored by the Rape Response and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs of the Crisis Center. Rape Response offers support services to survivors of sexual violence and their families in Birmingham and surrounding communities. Rape Response provides medical and legal advocacy, counseling and referral services, as well as mental health services and resources for both sexual assault prevention and response. Through the SANE program, survivors can have forensic evidence collected and speak with a specially trained nurse about their medical options and next steps. All Rape Response and SANE services are free of charge and are available 24 hours a day. You can visit www.crisiscenterbham.com or call 205-323-7273 for more information about these programs.
This display is part of a twelve-city tour set to begin this August. The Monument Quilt will visit Arden, NC; Birmingham, AL; Baton Rouge, LA; Quapaw, OK; Des Moines, IA; Whiter Rive, SD; Fox Valley, WI; Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Queens, NY; Durham, NC; Baltimore, MD; and Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.
The 100 x 100 foot quilt that will be witnessed this summer is only the beginning. Over the next two years, more and more stories will be added to The Monument Quilt. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.