July 29, 2014


On the afternoon of August 24, residents of Durham will witness stories from survivors of sexual violence stitched together on 200 bright, red quilt squares. The Monument Quilt will be on display from 2pm to 6pm in Durham Central Park.  Larger than two basketball courts put together, the quilt is traveling the United States this summer as part of an ongoing 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.

“This summer’s tour will create a national conversation about supporting survivors of rape and abuse,” says Rebecca Nagle, co-director of Force, the group behind the quilt project. “We are honored that through local organizations and activists, Durham is not only part of this national conversation, but also is leading it. Together we will create a culture where survivors are publicly supported rather than publicly shamed.”

“We are thrilled to host the Monument Quilt in Durham to help create a public space of recognition for survivors,” says Jen Przewoznik of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “We hope the Quilt can act as a source of healing and mobilization for North Carolina. Sexual violence is a community and societal problem that can be prevented. North Carolina is honored to take part in this national call to action.”

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 24 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.

“I am overjoyed with excitement that the Monument Quilt will be gracing the presence of North Carolina, as this will give victims and survivors a safe place to reflect on their experiences openly,” states Jameycha Carter-Duncan of the Shaw University Counseling Center. “I am also honored to be working alongside other organizations that are as adamant about ending sexual violence.”

Home to a significant number of colleges and universities, Durham has witnessed many campus sexual assault incidents. However, by bringing the Monument Quilt to a local public park, community-based organizations in the city have taken decisive steps toward changing the culture of rape that has drawn widespread attention to Durham.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield plans to attend the display to demonstrate his support for survivors of rape and abuse. The Congressman, who represents North Carolina’s First District, was instrumental in passing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013. Both he and North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan were cosponsors of the bill. Since its initial passage in 1994, VAWA has enhanced the criminal justice response to acts of sexual violence perpetrated against women, and has improved accessibility to resources and services for survivors.

The Monument Quilt will be displayed in Durham in partnership with local organizations and institutions, including the Durham Crisis Response Center, Kiran Inc., North Carolina Central University Women’s Center, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC), REACH of Macon County, Shaw University Counseling Center, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Located in Durham, the North Carolina Central University Women’s Center seeks to empower female students to address issues of gender equity, female leadership, and gender-based violence. It also provides confidential services, resources, information, and support. The Women’s Center is the first of its kind at a public historically black college.

Founded in 1891, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is a member of the University of North Carolina system. It is a public research university initially established as a women’s college.

The Counseling Center at Shaw University provides emotional and psychological support to the campus community. The Counseling Center was recently awarded a three-year grant by the Department intended to reduce the incidence of sexual violence, and to design comprehensive and coordinated response protocols.

In its 31 years of operation, the Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC) has supported more than 20,000 survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as their children. The only provider of comprehensive shelter and support services in Durham, DCRC provides counseling, legal aid, support groups, and shelter. It offers prevention training to faith-based organizations, schools, professionals and the general public throughout the Triangle.

Kiran, Inc. promotes the self-reliance and empowerment of South Asian survivors of domestic violence in North Carolina. Kiran serves clients from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Among Kiran’s primary services are a 24-hour hotline, intensive client management, resource referrals, language assistance and translation, community outreach and education, and support groups.

Originally founded in 1986, the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) is a statewide nonprofit that offers support, information, advocacy, and education for rape crisis programs, college campuses, organizations, and individual members. NCCASA has a history of successfully pushing for legislative change in North Carolina, lobbying for bills that support and protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Established in 1974, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC) provides crisis-intervention services to survivors of sexual assault in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough communities. Among its services are a 24-Hour Help Line, support groups, workshops, and therapy referrals. OCRCC also works to heighten awareness of sexual assault, and to educate the community about prevention. As of 2007, all of its intervention and educational services are offered in Spanish as well as English.

REACH of Macon County offers intervention, prevention, and educational services in both Macon and Jackson Counties in the effort to eradicate sexual assault and domestic violence in those areas. REACH operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, a shelter, provides services for youth, and more. It offers many services in Spanish as well as English.

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; White River, 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 upsettingrapeculture@gmail.com.