Consent Campaign: Photograph Exhibit
After collecting thirteen stories of sexual assault survivors, members of the Consent Campaign analyzed the stories to find quotes that were especially powerful and highlighted why the situations were sexual assault instead of sex. Those quotes were then used to recreate scenes of sexual assault that conveyed the meaning and experience behind the quotes. The scenes were created with student volunteers who modeled for us, one of whom modeled in the story that she, herself, had submitted. The photos were taken by Consent Campaign member Marissa Goeble, a senior Communication Studies major. While often solemn, the photoshoots became a way for the participants to socialize, work, and support one another based on their own experiences. As Marissa shot individual photos, the other models and contributors continued to brainstorm new scenes, shared a meal, and chatted with one another. From that group emerged some of the Consent Campaign's strongest supporters, who drummed up attention for the event and will join our team in the coming semester.
After the photos were complete, they were printed with the quotes that inspired them and displayed in the student center. Arranged in a circle, the centermost poster contained just a quote that read “I can’t ever forget what happened to me, but I know that it has made me a stronger person, and I can only get stronger from here.”
The purpose of this exhibit was to highlight the difference between when consent is attained and when it is not by engaging students’ attention through art. Throughout the day, students and staff came to look at the photos. Many stopped to remark how powerful the photos were and how they challenged them to think about their meaning. Through art the Consent Campaign was able to make real to the campus community the impact of sexual assault and to remind survivors they are not alone and it is alright to speak up. The members of the Consent Campaign sit poised to use that awareness to mobilize more students in both pushing through proposed policy changes, intervening when they know sexual assault is happening, and being aware of how they approach sex.
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