Monument Quilt shows how to support sexual assault victims


The Monument Quilt is a sprawling collection of stories, words of support and calls for change surrounding the issue of sexual assault. The quilt was originally conceived by Force: Upsetting Rape Culture. It has been traveling across the country, growing square by square, and on Sept. 23, the quilt was displayed on the Beach. It was brought to Hopkins with the help of the Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) and the Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU), with support from the Dean of Student Life. Additional groups specific to Hopkins and the greater Baltimore community hosted activities to show their support.

The Editorial Board commends the concept behind the Monument Quilt as well as the many students and community members who came together on the 23rd. Sexual assault is truly an epidemic, especially on college campuses. One in five women are sexually assaulted while in college. That number is staggering. That number is unacceptable. That number is too often ignored.

Projects like the Monument Quilt place an identity behind the many victims of sexual assault who have been rendered voiceless. They make clear that these are not just statistics; these are people — people we go to class with every day, people we have never spoken to, people we know intimately, people who have never been given the proper platform to come forward with their stories.

It’s far from easy to recover from sexual assault, especially on college campuses. Rape culture is shoved down our throats day after day. We are told that a woman’s clothing choice can indicate a right to assault her because she’s “asking for it.” We are told that it is okay for one person to get another drunk in order to increase the chances of him or her getting laid.

Ultimately, we are told that rape victims are sluts and liars. Rape culture silences survivors of sexual assault by perpetuating a standard of hate, slut shaming and victim-blaming. These aren’t just PC culture buzzwords or theoretical situations exploited by social justice warriors; this is a reality for many students at Hopkins.

The Monument Quilt has made this reality impossible to ignore. Its hundreds of vibrantly colored squares were displayed on the Beach, arguably the most iconic landmark of the Homewood campus. The quilt was truly a spectacle, one of support and care for victims of sexual assault.

The Editorial Board is enthusiastically in support of projects like the Monument Quilt and hopes the University will host similar events with greater frequency.

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