South Texas College hosts “What were you wearing?” art exhibit
By Bryan Ramos
ressed in army combat uniform armed with a weapon. Wearing a prom dress on what was supposed to be a perfect night. In a lifeguard uniform while working a summer job.
It didn’t matter what type of clothes they were wearing, they all were tragically turned victims of sexual violence.
The discussion of rape culture always seems to devolve to the question “What were you wearing?”, placing unfair judgement on the victim of sexual violence and not on the monster who violated them, where it belongs.
South Texas College hosted the art exhibit “What were you wearing?” to dispel the notion that a victim of sexual violence was “asking for it” because their outfit of choice. 24 different outfits were displayed throughout the Art Building at STC’s Pecan campus, each with a different horrifying story detailing their experience as a victim of sexual violence.
The outfits in the exhibit are not the survivors’ actual clothing, but donated items from students and faculty based on survivors’ descriptions.
The art exhibit opened with this statement:
“The installation challenges participants to engage with the universal connection we have with clothing and reflect on what gives this specific rape culture myth so much power. It asks participants to understand that it was never about the clothing and the act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors. The violation is not simply woven into the fabric of the materials, it is part of the survivor’s new narrative. If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes. Instead, it requires all of us to evaluate what enabled us as individuals and as a society to ask, “what were you wearing?” in the first place.”