One in five women are sexually assaulted on college campuses and 6.8% of men, according to data provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). Among this data, 20% of female sexual assault survivors report this to police. RAINN also reports that among transgender, genderqueer and nonconforming (TGQN), 23.1% have been sexually assaulted.
To highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Student Life department partnered with El Dorado’s Family Life Center Safe-house to host an art installation featuring what survivors were wearing at the time of their sexual assault.
The art installation, “What Were you Wearing?”, presents assault survivor stories and displays the representation of the clothes they were wearing at the time of the assault.
With displaying the clothes, it takes away from the accusations of what they were wearing and that being the cause of the assault.
Counselor Nancy Hamm discovered the art installation a couple years ago, which started with a couple of people from Kansas State.
“Someone wrote a poem and some individuals from the University of Arkansas and University of Kansas received the poem “What was I wearing?””, Hamm said. “They were inspired by the poem, which talked about this individual’s experience with rape and being asked what she was wearing.”
The originators of the exhibit are from Kansas, which started about two years ago. Last year, there wasn’t an exhibit because of Covid-19.
For Hamm, the exhibit means she can advocate for all people, a passion of hers.
“Especially for people who have experienced suffering in their life, trauma, discrimination and injustices,” Hamm said. “And this hits home to me because of all of the years of work that I have done working with people who have experienced sexual trauma.”
She believes that they [the police] should hold the right people accountable; that it is never the victim’s fault but the perpetrators.
The exhibit has been informative simply because in most cases of sexual assault, people try to pinpoint what the victim was wearing and that it was a cause of the assault. This is never the case because anyone can wear whatever they want and no one should take that as an excuse to touch or do anything worse. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact Nancy Hamm at firstname.lastname@example.org or (316) 322-3162 and or Campus Safety at email@example.com or at (316) 322-3232.