What Were You Wearing? Exhibition

‘What Were You Wearing?’ is a touring art exhibition that was established in America by Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert. The installation depicts the clothing worn by anonymous individuals when they were subjected to sexual assault. The clothing display is born out of the all too frequently asked question of survivors of sexual assault – ‘what were you wearing?’.

‘What Were You Wearing?’ Newcastle

Sarah Williams, the founder of this project has worked with the University of Newcastle Gender Research Network to bring this to life. This event will be a part of the 16 Days Of Activism To End Violence Against Women.

The Newcastle ‘What Were You Wearing?’ Exhibition challenges participants to engage with the universal connection we have with clothing and reflect on what gives this specific rape culture myth so much power. To put clothing on is so basic and common, to take that action and conflate it with pain and suffering taints not only the individual outfit for the survivor; but also calls into question all simplistic and normal behaviours as dangerous.

November 27 – December 7, 2021
Shangri Lah Galerie
281 Hunter Street, Newcastle New South Wales 2300, Australia

The exhibition asks participants to understand that it was never about the clothing and the act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors. If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes. Instead, it requires all of us to evaluate what enabled us as individuals and as a society to ask, “what were you wearing?” in the first place.

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