We didn’t host a traditional workshop; instead, we incorporated The Monument Quilt into the Think S.A.F.E. Project’s end of the year field day. Held in the middle of our central lawn, the activities drew in students from across campus. My partner and I manned a table littered with quilt squares and fabric pens situated between the tie-dye station and the giant bubbles area. As students moved from one activity to another we asked them to stop and share a personal story or message of support. Generally, students were slightly taken aback at first and most needed a minute or two to compose a short message. Some students even moved on to play a round of corn hole or throw a couple balls at the dunk tank before they came back to add their own words to the quilt squares. It gradually became clear that, for many students, no one had asked them to interact, even indirectly, with survivors of abuse and assault. Sexual violence is a hard topic to address in any setting. It can be particularly difficult to present discussions of abuse as appealing on a college campus, but the field day engaged students in a positive way. Part of the beauty of The Monument Quilt is that each student was able to walk away feeling that they had joined a larger community and, perhaps more significantly, that they were able to help another person. Hopefully participation in this project will leave students more open to the larger discourse concerning sexual violence.
Molly Ashmore, Darcie Folsom, and Alia Roth