You can’t have a dialogue if no one is speaking and without a dialogue, no worthwhile progress can be made. This is the philosophy behind the latest project proposed by Force, an advocacy group committed to upsetting rape culture and promoting a culture of consent. You may remember hearing about the group several months back when they shook the foundation of the fashion world with “PINK loves CONSENT,” an internet prank targeted toward Victoria’s Secret and their long standing tradition of female objectification.
Following the success of the “PINK loves CONSENT” campaign, Force has continued to push for more public discussion on the matter of rape culture in America and abroad. Now, they are in the final stretch of a Kickstarter campaign for their latest undertaking, “The Monument Project.”
At this point I want to break away of the normal formalities of conventional story writing and ask you a question directly.
Have you ever seen a public monument dedicated to the survivors of rape or sexual abuse? If you have, then leave a comment in this story thread, because neither What Weekly nor Force has been able to find one.
And THAT is why this project is important.
“Monuments are a place where people can come to mourn and reflect on the pains and traumas that we all share,” Force organizer Rebecca Nagle explains.
The goal of The Monument Project is to create a temporary national monument for survivors of rape and abuse. The monument will consist of thousands upon thousands of first hand accounts from victims of sexual abuse. Each story will be printed onto a piece of fabric that will then be stitched into a quilt that will cover the length of the National Mall lawn. “We want to create a space where victims can feel comfortable to discuss, process, and reflect on their trauma,” says Nagle. “ We also want to create a space that will, by its nature, encourage further dialogue on the issues surrounding rape culture. When you think about the type of trauma one goes through when they are the victim of sexual abuse, the only real direct comparison that can be made is that of war veterans.” As terrible as this sounds, it makes sense. Both are victims of what can be described as trauma that is completely incomprehensible to those who’ve not experienced it themselves.
Take a minute to let that sink in. Think about how much effort goes into taking care of soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in this country. Think about how much people say that we aren’t doing enough for them as a country, or how much more work we need to do in order to help them as best we can. Think about the stories of suicide, mental instability, and suffering that make their way into our news feeds, and think about how many monuments you see on any given day that are dedicated to that pain.
Now think about how there is an entire population suffering the same way, with invisible wounds that are seldom acknowledged by society as a whole. The feeling is sickening.
The Monument Project is all about healing and taking the next steps towards creating a much greater and open dialogue about rape culture in the world. It’s about changing the way people think about rape culture and understanding that, unless it’s addressed, we are all victims of it in some sense. We are all victims because, if we can’t move past this, we can’t grow as a society.
If you would like to donate to the project, please visit The Monument Project’s Kickstarter campaign.
For more information, or if you would like to become involved in the project, please visit The Monument Project.
What Weekly fully supports the efforts of Force and encourage you to do the same.