VERMILLION, S.D.—As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a new exhibit at the University of South Dakota will display clothing together with personal stories of sexual assault that confront the tendency to blame the victims of these incidents.
“What We Were Wearing” opens on April 3 on the second-floor gallery of I.D. Weeks Library and features stories collected from individuals who are part of the USD community and have been sexually assaulted at some point in their past. Selections from 13 narratives are accompanied by clothing similar to those worn by the victim of the sexual violence. Artwork by members of the USD Student Art Alliance interprets three additional stories. These narratives join others to make up a total of 22 stories of sexual assault compiled in a bound book.
The exhibit is sponsored by USD’s I CARE grant, which produces programming aimed at sexual assault prevention in the campus community, Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment (PAVE) USD, a student group that fosters awareness of sexual violence and the empowerment of victims, and the USD College of Arts & Sciences’ Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program.
The University of Arkansas displayed the first “What Were You Wearing” exhibit in 2013, which then traveled to other universities in the Midwest. The exhibit in I.D. Weeks Library features stories from members of USD’s community of students, faculty members and staff and will run through the month of April.