Founded in 2010 by and for survivors, FORCE is an art and activist collective dedicated to constructing a culture of consent, widely known for creating public art to disrupt rape culture. FORCE was an intersectional, LGBTQ focused, multicultural, pro-black and anti-white supremacist collective, who did their deepest organizing work in Baltimore and Mexico City, and planted seeds globally. We strived for our visual imagery, language, resources, and organizing strategies to have a local and global impact in their efforts to end sexual and intimate partner violence by changing social attitudes and connecting these shifts to policy change.
FORCE is best known for blanketing the National Mall on June 2019 with the Monument Quilt, a collection of over 3,000 stories by survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and our allies, written, painted, and stitched onto red fabric. Our stories literally blanket highly public, outdoor places to create and demand space to heal, and resist a singular narrative about sexual violence. Over the 6 years that the project was organized, we received coverage national coverage including CNN, MSNBC and Refinery 29. The culminating display was covered by Ms Magazine, the Marshall Project, Washington Post, and Voice of America.
Earlier, we were most widely known for our 2012 viral panty prank, where we pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting consent themed slogans on underwear. In 2013, FORCE tricked the internet into believing that Playboy had released an updated anti-rape party school guide dubbed, “The Ultimate Guide to a Consensual Good Time”. We have also received national attention for projecting “RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building and for floating a GIANT poem written by a survivor in the reflecting pool on the national mall. During our active years, FORCE organized regular opportunities for survivors to gather together, with a focus on leadership development. FORCE’s expertise on survivor-led advocacy was nationally recognized.
In 2017, then FORCE Chief Operating Officer Saida Agostini was named one of 21 leaders to participate in the fourth cycle of Move to End Violence, a program of the NoVo Foundation. FORCE is a recipient of the 2016 Sondheim Artscape Prize. In 2015, FORCE’s co-founder Hannah Brancato was named as a OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow. FORCE received funding and support through foundations that include Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, Art Matters Foundations, the Krieger Fund, and Baltimore Community Foundation.
In 2021, for the health of FORCE’s Collective and to best serve the community, FORCE ceased active programming. Today, FORCE’s efforts are totally focused on the archiving of the Monument Quilt our collection of 3000 quilted stories sewn into 750 blocks from survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence from around the world. FORCE seeks to find a home for every single piece of the Monument Quilt, spreading its expressive power.
For more information and to become a part of this historic project, please contact us at email@example.com!
At FORCE, we believe that rape is a systemic and normalized phenomenon in our culture, and it is used as a tool for building and upholding white supremacy. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.” Our organization’s mission is to foster relationships between survivors, provide support and education, and create spaces where survivors can experience the world we/they deserve. We honor art and expression as invaluable communication tools that make a better world–and value survivors’ stories in all their vast diversity as holding the answers. In fighting rape culture, we must honor the humanity/individuality of every person.
FORCE’s definition of rape culture is a world where we do not have control over our own bodies. In a rape culture, society is surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate rape, such as jokes, TV programming, music lyrics, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words, and imagery that make sexual violence and coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable.