In their Kansas Union Gallery, at Kansas University, the sexual assault prevention and education center has enabled a display that busts the myth that a person is more likely to be sexually assaulted if they are wearing provocative clothing.

This is a traveling exhibit in which the center selects and recreates the outfits of sexual assault survivors on the walls in the gallery. All clothing is donated and matched to each story selected.

The display aims to “confront and disrupt” social norms around rape culture and what causes it, Brockman said.

While social norms may place undue blame on victims for a number of reasons, such as what they were wearing, ultimately perpetrators are the cause of sexual assault, Brockman said.

The timing of the installation is purposeful.

Right now — the first six to eight weeks of classes on a university campus — is commonly known as the “red zone” for sexual assault, Brockman said. It’s the time period when rates of gender-based violence against students are the highest.

As such, the center tries to increase educational programming at the beginning of the school year. Students are coming together and making new connections, yet also may be the most vulnerable because they have a false sense of security, Brockman said.

 

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