Submissions wanted for “What Were You Wearing?” Exhibit

UNI’s Office of Compliance and Equity Management is asking for students and community members to submit their stories for the “What Were You Wearing?” Exhibit.

TEHYA TOURNIER

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), for every 1,000 estimated rapes, six rapists are convicted and incarcerated.

Karrah Bates, graduate assistant in UNI’s Office of Compliance and Equity Management, wants all faculty and students to understand and know that sexual assault, of any situation, is never the victim’s fault. 

On Monday, April 12, submissions made from UNI students, as well as faculty and others within the alumni community telling their sexual assault stories, will be shown in an exhibit organized by Bates and colleagues, titled “What Were You Wearing?”

“It just boggles my mind how people can even ask, ‘Oh, what were you wearing?’ because it doesn’t matter, and there’s no correlation,” Bates said. “There is no reason to ask that question, and we’re bringing that to light, essentially.”

This annual exhibit will be held virtually for the second year in a row.  The event will coincide with the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter’s “Sexual Assault Awareness Week” which takes place April 12-16.

Bates said this is an important event for both survivors and allies to be a part of.  This exhibit gives survivors an opportunity to share what they’ve been through and let others know they are not alone. 

Those wishing to support the “What Were You Wearing” exhibit are encouraged to follow and share their website (https://equity.uni.edu/prevention-and-education/what-were-you-wearing) and social media posts. 

Educating yourself on ways to help survivors through their experience and destigmatizing putting blame on sexual assault survivors can make tremendous strides for those who have experienced the trauma.

“It breaks my heart seeing all the submissions; people really don’t understand how prevalent it is,” said Bates.

Bates hopes to educate and shine a light on how society views sexual assault and what we can do to be better.   

She said the effect of the assault doesn’t just end at the scene of the crime, and questions such as, “What were you wearing?” continue the trauma survivors have already endured.

“You can make a difference,” said Bates. “You can make a change by just being aware of what not to say and how to respond instead.”

The deadline to submit your sexual assault story is March 31.  All the information and a submission link can be found at Equity.UNI.EDU/prevention-and-education

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, the 24-hour Sexual Assault Support Hotline number is (888) 557-0310. Additional resources can be found at https://equity.uni.edu/resources-complainants