Native American women are sexually assaulted 2.5 times as often as any other ethnic or racial group. For decades, tens of thousands of Native women have been unable to prosecute the people that rape them on tribal land because of U.S. policy. The 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act began to address this injustice for domestic violence survivors, but jurisdictional issues still prevent rape survivors from getting the justice they deserve.
The Monument Quilt is a bright, red, hand-sewn story of survival. Each 4-square-foot piece is created by a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence. Over 400 such stories will be displayed on April 2 and April 4 in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, respectively, to call attention to the state of violence against Native women in Indian Country.
On Thursday, April 2, FORCE and the Native Alliance Against Violence are hosting the Gathering of Voices: Addressing Sexual Assault in Indian Country at the state capitol in Oklahoma City. The public is invited to join on Thursday at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building first-floor rotunda, located at 2300 N. Lincoln Boulevard, for a program from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and for a quilt viewing on the East Lawn from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
On Saturday, April 4, FORCE and the Muscogee (Creek) National will display the Monument Quilt at the Schusterman Center at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, located at 4502 E. 41st St. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The display was planned in partnership with the Family Safety Center, University of Oklahoma and Domestic Violence Intervention Services.
While the quilt contains stories from many different survivors, this week’s events focus on the state of violence against Native women in the U.S. Native American women suffer from the highest rate of sexual assault in the country, and over 80 percent of those assaults are committed by non-Natives. A staggering 39 percent of Native women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The quilt displays seek to call attention to the confluence of U.S. law and policy that foster these unacceptable rates of violence.
The Monument Quilt is a physical space that provides public recognition to survivors and reconnects them with their community and its members. The Monument Quilt seeks to change the public perception of those who experience sexual violence by telling many stories, not just one. The quilt will forever change how our society responds to rape, shattering a culture that publicly shames survivors and instead creating one that publicly supports them. Survivors, loved ones and supporters are invited to make their own quilt square following these instructions.