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Oct. 21, 2018

Exhibit considers myth of clothing’s role in violent acts

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An exhibit opening at Northwest Missouri State University this week aims to dispel the myth that a person’s clothing justifies acts of violence committed against them.

“What We Were Wearing” opens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, on the first floor of the Administration Building and continues through Friday, Nov. 9. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Northwest is the latest university to create an exhibit inspired by an art installation constructed in 2013 at the University of Arkansas. Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert were motivated by Mary Simmerling’s poem “What I Was Wearing” to create the exhibit, which addressed the victim-blaming question that survivors are often asked.

“This exhibit provides a tangible response to one of our culture’s most pervasive rape myths – that a person’s clothing may be justification for acts of violence committed against them,” Danielle Koonce, a violence prevention coordinator at Northwest, said. “If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes. Instead, we must change the culture and evaluate why we ask the question ‘What were you wearing?’ in the first place.”

The exhibit is sponsored by Northwest’s history program; the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Wellness Services; Green Dot; Greek Life, Concerned Advocated for Relationship Equality (CARE), and Panhellenic Council.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215