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Students Share Experiences Through #MeToo Display

Annie Wilson (name changed for privacy) thought it would be easy to write her story, but she felt conspicuous holding the paper in her hand and decided to walk back to her car.

Students display stories of survival on large paper t-shirts in the south entrance of Gaiser Hall. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy

 

“I felt like I was about to get naked,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to see me.”

Paper t-shirts hang on a line in Gaiser hall and demanded the attention of all who walked by. Each told the handwritten tale of sexual assault

victims. Paper hands are still available at the south entrance of Gaiser for anyone to share their own stories, thoughts or otherwise show support for survivors.

 

Clark’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a college honors program, organized the display. PTK participates in, “Honors in Action,” an annual student engagement event. This year, the students chose the theme, “Visions of Justice.” Their display addresses the question, “How are shifting views of justice transforming global realities and how are communities responding?”

PTK public relations officer Heather Leasure said they chose to base their event off the  #MeToo since this has been a big year for people coming forward about surviving sexual assaults. PTK’s goal is to shed light on how the majority of people’s views on sexual assault are changing.

 

Member of Phi Theta Kappa prepares a poster for the #MeToo display. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy
Member of Phi Theta Kappa prepares a poster for the #MeToo display. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy

Leasure said she wants everyone to know that it’s okay to tell your story.

 

The paper shirts and hand prints will remain in the hall until Dec. 14. Participants who submit a hand can submit it to a locked box in the area to protect their

privacy and anonymity. PTK members will add them to the display later.

 

Wilson said she appreciated the opportunity to participate in the display.

Students display stories of survival on large paper t-shirts in the south entrance of Gaiser Hall. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy
Students display stories of survival on large paper t-shirts in the south entrance of Gaiser Hall. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy

 

“A voyeuristic gaze, a grazing hand, loose words or escalation,” she said after looking at all the different stories people shared. “No matter the degree of escalation, the fact remains; we are out here. Not one of us chose to be victims, but look how many of us choose to be survivors.”

 

Wilson recounted her own sexual assault experience which began by meeting a friendly woman after work one evening. She said the woman’s male friend drugged Wilson’s drink and violently raped her later that night.

She said she had her three kids with her when she saw a doctor about the rape, but the clinic she went to did not have any rape kits. To get one, she would have had to drive to another clinic 30 minutes away.

Students display their stories of survival on large paper t-shirts in the south entrance of Gaiser Hall. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy

 

She never had the test done. She didn’t want her kids to miss their soccer game.

Wilson encourages people in similar positions to seek a doctor as soon as they feel something is not right. She said they are professionals who can and want to help. She believes that, because she did not get a drug test and rape kit done, she never got justice.

Wilson said her attacker was never even questioned.

“It can happen to anybody; it doesn’t have to be a college party girl,” she said. “I didn’t even talk to a man to get raped, I talked to a friendly girl.”

Leasure hopes the display gives people a chance to talk about their stories; anonymously, if they choose to.

“You know your story is out there and maybe helping someone else so that they know that they’re not alone,” she said.

Phi Theta Kappa created posters for the #MeToo display. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy
Phi Theta Kappa created posters for the #MeToo display. Theresa Matthiesen/The Indy

 

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