The quilt is being shown as part of a 12-city tour started by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an organization out of Baltimore that aims to facilitate conversations about the realities of sexual violence. Sections of the quilt have been crowd-sourced from various organizations and cities across the country and features art created by victims. By the end of the quilt’s tour, the display expands to more than a mile long, spelling out a message that victims of sexual assault and rape are not alone, STAR Executive Director Racheal Hebert says.
Hebert says STAR has created its own quilt, which will be a part of today’s display and carried on throughout the rest of the tour.
“Some squares on the quilt are positive, and others are very angry and grim,” she says. “It’s interesting that we have survivors in our community who feel various ways about how the community has responded to what has happened to them. Our community’s response is still one of fear and blame. We’re hoping with the display that the community can come forward and be more supportive.”
With the quilt displayed in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge in front of the courthouse and City Hall, Hebert says there is an opportunity to engage the community, giving passers-by a chance to learn more about the impact of sexual assault, as well as provide a space for victims to heal.
“So far, we’ve had a positive response,” Hebert says. “I have had people feeling thankful that we’re finally doing something to shed light on these crimes. Since it will be in a very public space, I’m not sure certain people will be ready. The language and stories in these quilt squares is intense. It’s going to get a lot of foot traffic. We hope the community will engage with the exhibit and that those who have been victims will leave knowing that at least there are resources in our community for dealing with these crimes.”
In the event that there is inclement weather, the quilt will be on display at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum lobby. For more information on the event, click here.