In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, the Napa Valley College SAVE Taskforce and NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services bring to campus “What Were You Wearing?” Student Survivor Clothing Exhibit. The exhibit is on view in Napa Valley College’s Student Activity Center.
“What Were You Wearing” is an art exhibit based on student-survivor descriptions of the clothes they were wearing during their sexual assault. This installation provides a tangible response to one of our culture’s most pervasive sexual assault myths and asks participants to understand that sexual assault is never about the clothing.
The act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors. This violation is not simply woven into the fabric of the material, it is a part of the survivor’s new narrative.
One of the goals of the installation is for everyone to see themselves reflected in not only the outfits, but also the stories. This realization moves us away from blaming the victim for violence and places responsibility where it belongs – on those who cause harm.
Survivors of sexual assault deserve to feel heard, validated, believed, and to know that assault is never their fault.
We are grateful for the opportunity to present this exhibit of “What Were You Wearing?” from the original creators, Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Jen Brockman at Kansas University and would like to thank the brave survivors who donated their stories for the cause.