“What Were They Wearing?” display raises awareness for sexual assault

MARQUETTE — In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Women’s Center has set up a display at the Peter White Public Library called “What Were You Wearing?”

The idea for the display originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013, and the Women’s Center molded the idea so that it would work in the local community. The traveling display tells real stories about sexual assaults from survivors that have worked with the Women’s Center.

Each story is accompanied by a photograph of an outfit that resembles what the survivors were wearing when they were assaulted. The clothes in the photographs were donated from Pak Ratz resale shop.

The Women’s Center hopes the display will help people think about sexual misconduct, or rape, in a different way.

“A woman, a man, a child, they have a right to wear what they wear. We just need to turn that conversation around and say ‘Why did this person do this to them?’ instead of ‘What you were wearing made an impact on what they did,'” said Michelle Fortunato, the sexual assault program coordinator at the Women’s Center.

The “What Were You Wearing?” display is located on the top floor of the Peter White Public Library and will remain there until April 30th.

The display is mobile, and Fortunato is hoping that it will be set up in schools or at community events next. If you are interested in housing the display, contact the Women’s Center at (906) 225-1346.