Photo and story by Bailey Wilson / Contributing Writer
MTSU will display a “What Were You Wearing?” exhibit April 2-6 in multiple locations across campus to bring awareness to sexual violence and an end to victim blaming. An interest meeting regarding the project was held Tuesday by MTSU Director of Health Promotion Lisa Schrader and MTSU Behavioral and Health Sciences masters candidate Katherine Witcher in the Student Union Building.
The “What Were You Wearing?” exhibit debuted in 2013 at the University of Arkansas by Jen Brockman, the director of the university’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, and Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, who oversees programming at the center. The exhibit displayed outfits, recreated by sponsors, worn by sexual assault victims at the time of the assaults, accompanied by each survivor’s anonymous story. Other universities became inspired by the project and hosted the exhibit on their campuses.
“This exhibit centers around sexual violence,” Schrader said. “It’s a topic that’s just high on my radar.”
The meeting gave clubs and organizations a chance to consider sponsoring the exhibit. A sponsor’s responsibility is to collect used clothing items that match a story description in an information packet handed out at the meeting.
“This goes exactly with our philanthropy,” said Parisa Shahosseini, the president for philanthropy of the MTSU chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. “This is something we all really want to help out with.”
Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy is focused on domestic violence awareness and promoting healthy relationships. They plan on sponsoring at least 10 stories.
“If there are individual students that would like to sponsor an outfit, they certainly could,” Schrader said. “We’re not wanting to put a financial burden on anybody.”
Schrader and Witcher are looking for used, worn clothes. Sponsors must fill out the sponsorship form and bring it to the Health Promotion Office in Room 1106 of the Recreation Center by March 2. Schrader and Witcher will inform sponsors of which story they will gather clothes for. The last day to submit clothing items to the office will be March 23.
The exhibit will be displayed in the Business and Aerospace Building South Lobby and the Recreation Center, with other locations to be announced as they are confirmed. Schrader hopes for six to 10 outfits in five different locations.
“I hope they do more (things like this),” Witcher said.
The exhibit will also kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is observed annually in April.
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