Monday, February 12, 2018

Vagina Monologues

Vagina Monologues

On Saturday February, 3rd DeeJae Cox, of The Los Angeles Women's Theater Project,  directed a production of  The Vagina Monologues. She asked me to create a display that would tell the stories of sexual assault survivors. The first thing I thought of was a quilt. Quilts were an expression of women's art when there was no openness to or interest in the artistic expression of women. Quilts were a way that women could share the company of other women at a time when they were isolated from each other in farm, field or kitchen. Quilts were a way women kept their families warm. Quilts were a way women were good stewards of every scrap of fabric they possessed. Once constructed, quilts hold memories and tell stories.

There was not time to construct a proper, cloth quilt so I made one from paper. The pictures of the survivors on the quilt have jagged edges to represent the jagged marks left in their lives. The pictures are mounted on red paper, I think the red is self explanatory. And pink yarn tries it all together because I couldn't tie the quilt together with pussy hats.

I also constructed  a resistance banner and encouraged guests of the after party to have their picture taken in front of it and be the "I" in resist.  I was inspired by Coachella Valley Artist Clarissa  Cervantes. She had a beautiful resist banner at the 2017, Women Rising Event. 


Two different groups shared their stories. Some of them are #MeToo and some of them are #MeAt.  #MeAt, "Is a campaign to give a visual to the innocence lost by pedophiles." Susie Q Spite is the founder of the #MeAt campaign.  Some of the #MeAt did not share a story, simply a picture of themselves and the age at which they were assaulted. Following are some of their stories.

#MeAt 12 
when my teacher began molesting me. I have a recent confession from him that I provide to the LAPD. Because of the statute of limitations he is free to molest.
#MeAt 7 
when my neighbor molested me. He was my babysitter.
#MeAt 15 
when I was assaulted by our neighbor.
#MeAt 8 
when my father began molesting me and my sister. I told my mother but she didn't believe me. It has been a hard life for me and my sister. I hope more women speak up so that mothers will protect their children.
#MeAt 25 
when I was raped by my neighbor. 
#MeAt 2 
my uncle was caught abusing my sister and jailed. I was 2 when he took to me.
#MeAt 15 
when my brother molested me. It happened to me much younger but for now I remember this as the time it stopped because I ran away from home.
#MeAt 19 
when I was raped by my boss. I never said anything to anyone until recently.
#MeAt 16 
when my stepfather molested me. My mother knew and did nothing to save me. She has since passed. Mothers must try and help their children heal when complicity exists.
#Me At 5
when a family friend molested me at a family party. There was lots of drinking and my mother was drunk. I still carry resentment towards my mother because I told her. She didn't do anything and it happened again.
I don't have a picture of being molested by my father as a child.
#MeAt 10
when my aggressor, stepfather forced me to perform oral sex. He decided this was something he was going to continually do and he blackmailed me to keep quiet and not tell anyone, or my siblings and I would be separated from our mother. He continued doing this for fifteen years gradually increasing his desires to touching forced oral sex and eventually forced intercourse. At age 24 I met my current boyfriend,who, although he knew nothing of what was going on with me, understood me. He decided to take me in to live with him. Within a couple months I told him everything I had been through. He has been my rock and has helped encourage a positive change in my life. With the help I have received from CVSAS, my way of thinking and being is stronger and better than I would ever imagine.
#MeAt 60
I was caring for my mother in New York when I was awakened by the pain of something being inserted inside my vagina. My nightgown was pulled up to my neck and I was totally exposed. I froze and was disoriented. All I could hear was his voice saying, "doesn't that feel good" and "don't you like that?" That moment changed my world and left me powerless which led me to being homeless. One minute I was in New York and the very next moment I found myself riding a Sun Line bus in Palm Springs and ended up in a homeless shelter - and there is where my healing began.
The perpetrator was a man with whom I was interviewing for a job. He tried to rape me but I was faster. I left and told no one. It was 1983.
The perpetrator was a man, the store manager where I worked who said all I needed was a good stiff dick - his, to be exact - to knock me out of my lesbianism. I left and told no one. It was 1979.
The perpetrator was a fifteen-year-old boy who molested my four-year-old daughter. I told someone. I called the police. He was arrested. It was all I could do to not become the next perpetrator and kill him. It was 1977.
He was my cousin. He was a teenager and I was so young I don't remember my age at the time. He took me into the barn. I told my mother and she believed me but my aunt, his mother, did not.
The reason for my book cover.
He was one of our families' best friends. I had known him since I was three-years-old. He called me into the laundry room during my parents' Christmas party. He tried to kiss me. He put his hands on me.  He told me his marriage was not working. When my father confronted him about what he had done he said, "I can't believe she is bringing this up now."
Left vulnerable at age 6.
I was sixteen-years-old at church camp. We were all in the pool playing volleyball. I felt someone grab my crotch. I got out of the pool and told the female counselors. Later, when I was sent to the camp director for counseling, he told me he was the one who grabbed me. He said he was surprised by my reaction.
Sexual assault survivor, Cosby survivor, Women's advocate, Mother, Grandmother, Warrior Woman speaking truth to power! Now, no better time.


Many of the women who shared their stories for the quilt are fearful that they will be recognized and do not want their names or stories shared. Understandably, many of us have lived with fear and shame for a very long time. Some of the #MeAt stories are those of men who were molested as boys.

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