In the Blog
Being Public About Surviving rape
Prominent third-wave feminist activist and writer Jennifer Baumgardner made a splash three years ago when she distributed a controversial t-shirt that had, writ large on the front: “I Had An Abortion,…” Baumgardner is making headlines again today with a new tee, one that says “raped” on it. The letters are smaller this time — it’s a pale pink shirt with an illustration of a safe, and inside the safe is a note emblazoned with the words “I was raped” — but the spirit of provocation remains the same.
As is to be expected the reaction to this T is mixed. Some see it as an empowering way to raise awareness around how common sexual assault is. Other people don’t.
Here’s why the creator thinks wearing a shirt like this is important:
Why wear a shirt that says “I Was Raped”? Because wearing it lets others know that they aren’t alone. Because wearing it invites conversation about a silenced experience that so many women and men share. Because rape is a crime that someone did to you, against your will. Because, as Maya Angelou says, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” Because you shouldn’t be ashamed that you were raped; the perpetrator should be ashamed. Because being public shatters the very silence that enables rape to be so common. Because naming what has happened is the first step toward changing the reality of rape. Because legal redress is rarely served, so it’s crucial to find our own justice and acknowledgment. ~ Jennifer Baumgardner, “I Was Raped” project, 2008
“By having an object like this,” Baumgardner told the New York Times, “that’s so mundane, it sort of forces [rape] into everyday conversation.”
What do you think?