The "What Were You Wearing?" museum-style exhibit will be displayed in various locations across MTSU's campus from April 2-6, kicking off Sexual Assault Awareness Month at the university.
"What Were You Wearing?" is an exhibit that displays recreated outfits from the stories of sexual assault survivors of what they were wearing at the time of their assaults, said Lisa Schrader, MTSU Health Promotion director. More than 50 survivors provided stories for the exhibit.
The intent of the exhibit is to stop victim blaming and to end the rape myth that what a person chooses to wear invites sexual assault, she said.
The exhibit will be displayed in the following locations around campus:
• South lobby of the Business and Aerospace Building.
• Campus Recreation Center lobby in the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center.
• First floor of the James E. Walker Library.
• Second floor of Kirksey Old Main.
Additionally, there will be an information table from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, April 2-5, in the Student Union. Some of the outfits will be displayed on the table.
The clothing exhibit originated in 2013 at the University of Arkansas and was created by Jen Brockman and Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, Schrader said.
The exhibit was inspired by the poem "What I Was Wearing" by Mary Simmerling, Schrader added. It will be featured at each display.
"After being deeply moved by the poem, Brockman and Wyandt-Hiebert created the exhibit to end victim blaming and to reflect on what makes us ask the question, 'what were you wearing?' in the first place," Schrader said.
The question, "What were you wearing?' appears so harmless to whoever is posing the question, but to the survivor, it places the burden of the attack on their shoulders, Schrader said.
The actual clothing from the stories is not utilized because organizers want participants to see themselves in the outfits/stories. All displayed clothing has been provided by campus organizations that decided to sponsor one or more stories.
Sponsoring organizations include Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, Blue Raider Athletics, Campus Recreation Center, the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, College Panhellenic, Counseling Services, Health Education Research Organization, Health Services, Housing and Residential Life, International Affairs, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, Kappa Delta, Ladies for Change, MT 316, National Association of Black Social Workers, National Society of Leadership and Success and the Student Government Association.