The Monument Quilt @ The US Capitol Building This Saturday

Join us this Saturday, March 1st for a historic display of the Monument Quilt at the US Capitol Building in Washington DC.

March 1, 1-4pm
West Lawn, US Capitol Building, Washington DC

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.

100 red quilts will blanket the lawn of the US Capitol building with the stories of rape and abuse survivors.

100 red quilts will blanket the lawn of the US Capitol building with the stories of rape and abuse survivors.

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is hosting a historic display of the Monument Quilt on March 1 from 1 to 4pm on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building as part of One Billion Rising.

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 March 1 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”.

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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.

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.”

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Get involved in 2014! Host a Consent Event for FORCE

If you’re a fan of FORCE’s work and want to get more involved, read on!

We’re looking for “Consent Event Ambassadors” to host events—dance parties, film screenings, dessert tastings, and whatever else you can think of—to raise money for the monument quilt projectLike a Tupperware party, but for dismantling rape culture.

With the help of our handy dandy Guide to Fundraising for FORCE: A Good Time for Everyone, you can bring the consent revolution to your campus or community and raise money for FORCE while you’re at it!


Ready to step up to the plate?

Just fill out the form on this page, download the guide to get started and Sara (sara@themonumentquilt.org) will be in touch with you to help you along the way.

Here’s to a consent-filled 2014!

Love,

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture

Looking Back at 2013!!

2013 has certainly been a whirlwind year for FORCE.  What started out as a humble collaboration between two Baltimore artists turned into a national movement faster than we could say, “upset rape culture”. We have come far in 2013 thanks to the support of hundreds of people like you.

We know that our work and the movement we are part of has much further to go. Consider making a donation to FORCE before 2013 is over and help us have an even more show-stopping 2014!!

Lets not forget to celebrate what we did!! Here are a few highlights from a trail-blazing, media-blitz filled year.

 

We made the internet explode with Pink Loves Consent!


(OK, so this panty prank technically happened in 2012, but it ended less than a year ago, so it makes the list.)
Last December, FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties.
“PINK loves CONSENT” made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution.  The action and internet aftermath got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women. You can read more about the campaign and people’s reaction in this Huff Post Article.

We floated a giant poem on the reflecting pool!

On Feb 14, 2013, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture floated 44 giant Styrofoam letters in the reflecting pool to spell, “I CAN’T FORGET WHAT HAPPENED BUT NO ONE ELSE REMEMBERS”. The poem, written by a survivor, highlights the isolating and silencing experience of rape in the United States. The poem was a demonstration for The Monument Project: a call to create a permanent memorial to survivors of rape and abuse.

We started a campaign for a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse.
The most common trauma of women remains confined to the sphere of private life, without formal recognition or restitution from the community. There is no public monument for rape survivors.  -Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery

The existing monuments on the national mall are places to honor the heroes of our history, to grieve the losses of violence, and to remember and reflect. When our nation remembers difficult parts of our history, we are better able to prevent injustice and atrocities from repeating. This important public process has not happened with sexual violence.

We believe in creating a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse because we want to live in a country that holds public space for survivors to heal.  We believe in creating a national monument because we want to live in a country that believes rape can end.

With over 700 donors we raised over $26,000 for the Monument Quilt!
In just two short months over 700 people donated to our kickstarter campaign to raise over $26,000 for the Monument Quilt!  The Monument Quilt by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture creates public healing space by and for survivors of rape and abuse. The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors, culminating in a historic display of collected fabric squares covering one mile of the National Mall and spelling “NOT ALONE”. In the lead up to this display, FORCE is organizing quilt making workshops across the country, giving communities a clear way to support survivors of rape and abuse.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR AMAZING SUPPORTERS!!!!!

We presented at the national sexual assault conference and at universities and conferences across the country!
FORCE has been traveling across the country to teach consent workshops on college campuses.  We have also been presenting about our tactics and using creative messaging at sexual assault conferences, including the National Sexual Assault Conference.  Interested in bring us to your campus, conference or event?  Email us at upsettingrapeculture@gmail.com

We fooled the internet into believing that PLAYBOY was promoting consent.


In September 2013, FORCE tricked the internet into believing that
Playboy had released an updated anti-rape party school guide dubbed, “The Ultimate Guide to a Consensual Good Time.” The Top Ten Party Commandments highlighted student visionaries ringing in an era of healthy, consensual sex. As the fake website proclaimed, ” A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And fuck those people.” Playboy postponed releasing their top ten guide as a result of the action.

FORCE published their own magazine as follow-up, titled “CONSENT: A Good Time For Everyone.” The online mag offers talking points about consent and ideas for consent-promoting actions. The magazine served as inspiration for the Consent Revolution Awards, a contest in which college students across the country entered their consensual-sex promoting actions.

And now we are in the middle of our LARGEST project ever, The Monument Quilt!

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.

Sections of the quilt will be witnessed across the United States through a tour, quilt making workshops, and a historic display in our nation’s capitol. Blanketing over one mile of the National Mall, thousands of fabric squares will be stitched together to spell “NOT ALONE”. 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.

In just a few short months we’ve….

- held our first public display of the quilt at Baltimore’s Penn Station.
- put together a team of over 30 volunteers to work on documentation, web design, translation, workshop outreach and more!
- have been donated an ENORMOUS studio space rent-free for one year, thanks to BARCO.
- have fiscal sponsorship through a partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art.

In early 2014 we will be rolling out…
- a guide for hosting a workshop.
- a new, interactive, bilingual website at themonumentquilt.org.
- The next public display of the Monument Quilt on Vday in Washington DC.

Want to see more radical anti-rape activism in 2014?
For 2014, we will also be working hard at collecting, documenting and touring the Monument Quilt. And we also have a couple tricks up our sleeves ;)! Help us make what’s next for FORCE possible with a donation TODAY!

FORCE invites survivors and allies to add their story to The Monument Quilt.

Today, FORCE released instructions for survivors of rape and abuse on how to make a submit a quilt square to be part of the historic Monument Quilt. The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse.

FORCE says, “By making a square, your voice will join thousands of others to create public space where survivors are honored & supported rather than silenced & shamed.”

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Along with the online and printable instructions, FORCE released how-to videos for making a quilt square. The videos emphasize that there are multiple ways to make a square, with demos for spray painting on a bed sheet (without sewing a stitch!) and piecing together a patchwork quilt. All the content can be found online at themonumentquilt.org/makeasquare.

FORCE says, “By stitching our stories together, survivors are creating and demanding public space to heal. The Monument Quilt is an organizing ground for people who have long been silenced, isolated and disempowered. Through the scale of this historic project, we can feel our collective strength.”

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Sections of the historic Monument Quilt will be witnessed across the United States through quilt making workshops, a tour, and a historic display in our nation’s capitol. Blanketing over one mile of the National Mall, thousands of fabric squares will be assembled together to spell “NOT ALONE.” 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 start. Through public recognition, the quilt reconnects survivors to their community.

For many, the first step in the process of healing is the telling of what happened. The Monument Quilt creates the space for survivors to speak their truth.

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“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

“I’ve gone at unpacking my experience with sexual violence from many different angles.  And all those angles, while stages in a long process of healing, also conveniently avoided the truth.  The kind of truth that is permanent.  And then one day, I bought a tacky table cloth from the dollar store.  And alone one night I wrote on that ugly tablecloth in beige paint: ‘The closeness I felt towards him was always mitigated by a knowing fear.  My step-dad raped me when I was in the third grade.’” — Anonymous quilt maker.

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Last year when a high school student in Maryville, MO was raped by her classmate and pressed charges, her community responded by burning her house to the ground. In America, we know how to publicly shame survivors. We don’t know how to publicly support them. What if instead of tearing communities apart, rape was a trauma and a tragedy that brought communities together?  What if the individual who experiences the tragedy of rape also experiences support from their communities?

“We are creating a public process of uncovering sexual assault and a community-driven response that aids in the healing process. The Monument Quilt will forever change how the American public responds to survivors of sexual violence,” says Hannah Brancato, FORCE co-director.

Brancato goes on to say, “In creating space for survivors to come together, the Monument Quilt is also creating space for survivors to be radically different. Part of America’s rape culture is a monolithic and inaccurate narrative of how sexual violence happens and who it happens to. Sexual violence is not primarily perpetrated by strangers. Sexual violence is not only experienced by women. Sexual violence is not only experienced by white people. Americans experience violence, recovery, justice and access very differently based on sexual orientation, race, gender, class, citizenship and ability. By bringing together thousands of survivors’ stories the Monument Quilt creates a highly visible representation of sexual violence that is made up of many stories, not just one.”

FORCE co-director, Rebecca Nagle speaks of her own experience this way:

“I learned recently that 90% of adult arsons are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. And although I think 90% of statistics about sexual violence are a load of crap (because sexual violence is so under-reported) I agree with that fact. As a survivor, I’ve felt the primal urge to set things on fire. A rage so fierce and so deep I couldn’t name it. You can’t take back what has already been taken. And what has forever been taken from me is of equal if not greater consequence than a building burning to the ground.

Every one’s process of healing from sexual violence is very different. I cannot heal unless I feel empowered. I don’t want to be a victim. For me empowerment is an uphill battle. I was raised to be a victim by a sexual predator at an age where words like empowerment and predator were way beyond my elementary vocabulary. I am not a victim. I can’t change what happened to me. I feel empowered most, when I am changing the circumstances and the culture that created my abuse.

And while a building burning to the ground still does not feel adequate, blanketing the national mall with thousands of stories from survivors does.”

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For instructions on how to make your own quilt visit themonumentquilt.org/makeasquare.  To download a printable PDF go to themonumentquilt.org/makeasquare.pdf.  

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Monument Quilt and FORCE go to upsettingrapculture.com/donate.  

If you are interested in getting involved in The Monument Quilt by hosting a quilt making workshop or volunteering with FORCE email them at upsettingrapeculture@gmail.com.  FORCE is currently looking for volunteers to help with English to Spanish translation.