100 red quilts will blanket the lawn of the US Capitol building with the stories of rape and abuse survivors.
FORCE says, “The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. By stitching our stories together, we are creating and demanding public space to heal. The Monument Quilt is a platform to not only tell our stories, but work together to forever change how Americans respond to rape. We are creating a new culture where survivors are publicly supported rather than publicly shamed.”
The display on February 14 will be The Monument Quilt’s first appearance on our nation’s capitol. Over the next two years, FORCE plans to collect thousands more quilt squares to eventually blanket over one mile of the National Mall. The squares will be stitched together to spell “NOT ALONE.”
Join FORCE for this historic display to create public healing space for survivors. At the display, attendees will be able to witness survivor’s stories, write their own reflections, enjoy cookies, listen to music and speeches, and join in community.
Sections of the Monument Quilt will also be witnessed across the United States through quilt making workshops, regional displays and a tour. The Monument Quilt gives churches, schools, towns and our country clear and accessible steps to support survivors of rape and abuse when often, people don’t know where to begin. Through public recognition, the quilt reconnects survivors to their community.
photo by Theresa Keil
On a day where activists are rising against violence across the globe, FORCE is focusing attention on the epidemic of sexual violence in the United States. “For us to progress as a nation, we first need to admit that we have a problem,” says Hannah Brancato, FORCE co-director. “Rape happens at alarmingly high rates. It is nothing short of a public health crisis. In the US, we are still learning how to face the enormity of what is happening in our own backyard.”
“While I have long believed in the power of this action, yesterday, when I finally went to a workshop and actually made my own quilt, the emotional experience was completely beyond what I could have imagined. I really felt lifted afterwards, like a weight was literally, finally, taken off of me. And even more than finally finding the words that I have needed to say, knowing that they are and will be witnessed gives them a solidity and strength that could never be achieved otherwise.” – Anonymous quilt maker
The first display of the Monument Quilt occurred this past September in FORCE’s hometown, Baltimore. One witness commented, “[With] all the blankets gathered in the sunlight, you can feel the release, the grief and trauma airing out. Maybe you can imagine it and see the pictures and be moved, but the physical space is really different than thinking about it. You can feel the energy shifting and I didn’t realize that would happen until today.”
photo by Theresa Keil
FORCE, the group behind The Monument Quilt is (as they put it) “an art and activist campaign to upset the dominant culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.” Recently, FORCE has received international press for pretending to be Playboy releasing a “Top Ten Party Commandments” guide to consensual sex for college students. The group is also widely known for their viral panty prank, where they pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting consent themed slogans on undies and thongs. They also received national attention for projecting “RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building, and for floating a poem written by a survivor in the reflecting pool of the national mall last year during One Billion Rising.
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–Photo: Crazy George/Flickr