When sexual assault survivors tell their story, they should receive an outpouring of empathy and compassion. Instead, many women are blamed for what happened to them. In fact, some people attribute sexual assault to a woman’s outfit. Some women and men are completely fed up, and they created a powerful exhibit to answer the typical question most sexual assault survivors get asked: What were you wearing?
Florida college students have created an exhibit, showcasing the outfits which victims actually wore at the time of their sexual assault. The visual concept project was first presented back in 2013 in Arkansas. This year, University of Florida student, Lazaro Tejera, decided to bring it to his own campus.
Tejera began planning the event in November, and gathered more than 36 submissions. 12 were selected for the installation.
It is an eery collection of common outfits: denim jeans and an orange hoodie; overalls and a white t-shirt; a Patriot’s football jersey; pajama pants and an olive green camisole. Not exactly the sexual outfits critics assume victims wear to invite sexual assault.
In fact, it doesn’t take long to see that these outfits are anything but provocative, making it clear that the sexual assault these women face have nothing to do with their clothing choices.
Along with their outfit, each survivor shares a brief account of her experience, further educating people on the reality of sexual assault.
Tejera’s goal is to make this installation an annual event at the University of Florida. You can see the installation from now until the end of April.