Maryland Morning
9:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Hearing Survivors' Stories of Rape and Sexual Assault

The Baltimore-based group FORCE is known for pranks where they’ve created fake websites, pretending to be the brands Victoria’s Secret and Playboy.  The idea is to change how we talk about sexual assault and consent.  Now, the group is working on a different project to honor survivors of rape and abuse.  They envision a giant quilt, in the style of the AIDS quilt, that would blanket the National Mall in 2016.  

It will comprise  thousands of squares, each made by a survivor or on behalf of a survivor.  They want to give public space to survivors to share their stories.  

In preparation for that, the group is holding workshops where people can come together to sew and share their stories.   "There’s all these levels of public healing space we’re creating," said Hannah Brancato, one of the artists behind FORCE.  "The workshops are one of them, where communities should be supportive of each other, shouldn’t be afraid to tell their stories, shouldn’t be afraid of hearing each others’ stories."

Our producer Stephanie Hughes went to a workshop a few months back, where she talked with survivors. This morning, we share their stories.  Some felt strongly that we should use their names, one preferred to remain anonymous.  A heads' up — their narratives use explicit language, and may be hard to listen to.  The web version of the broadcast is uncensored. 

FORCE has been holding workshops all this month, and there’s one planned for tomorrow afternoon at 1400 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore from 1 - 5 pm.  It's open to the public.  You can also learn about hosting your own workshop, or making a square on the Monument Quilt website.

FORCE is also going on a ten-city tour with the quilt this summer, and holding a Kickstarter to raise funds for the project.