Quilt Shares The Stories Of Survivors Of Sexual Assault

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Healing the pain by exposing the problem. The stories of survivors of rape and abuse are shared through a quilt.

Marcus Washington explains this effort is meant to release the pain and bring those affected closer to the community.

Each patch tells a story–the story of many survivors–like a woman who was not only raped at 14, but again at 24.

“I would not wish what had taken place on anyone. Not even on my worst enemy,” the woman said.

Displayed at Federal Hill Park, the Monument Quilt carries the voices of the survivors of sexual assaults, bringing attention to the problem survivors often say is kept a secret in fear.

“Because we live in a society where, especially women and other marginalized folks, are blamed for our own sexual assault, we’re blamed for our own rape,” said sexual assault survivor Melanie Keller. “Who can blame us for not coming out and speaking about it?”

Studies show 1 in 3 girls, 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 transgender people will be sexually assaulted within their lifetime.

“Ninety-seven percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Why? Because we’re not speaking up, we’re not speaking out,” one woman said.

“As tragic as that is, it’s important to come together around those stories. You’re not alone,” said Kate Bishop, FORCE.

Created here in Baltimore, the Monument Quilt has traveled on a 12 city tour–from South Dakota to New York–bringing attention to the problem.

Larger than two basketball courts, the sewn pieces of fabric bring the voices of survivors together, hopefully removing the shame shared by so many victims.

“They’re not alone. They are joined together with other survivors to share their story and to share their strength,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

On that 12 city tour, the quilt was seen by hundreds of people in places like Birmingham, Des Moines and Pittsburgh.

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