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HOT AND BOTHERED: Tackling Sexual Harassment and Assault in Higher Education | TFAP College Art Association Affiliated Society Session
February 13, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
HOT AND BOTHERED: Tackling Sexual Harassment and Assault in Higher Education | TFAP CAA Affiliated Society Session
Attending or working in a place of higher learning comes with inherent dangers – 40% of female identified faculty and 30% of female identified staff experience sexual harassment, and one quarter of all female identified students are assaulted while attending college. This panel will present artists, feminist scholars, and academics who have responded to this phenomenon. Topics include: artists’ strategies for effective responses; how representation of gender stereotypes fuel the phenomenon; how artists can challenge and change a culture which normalizes harassment and toxic “rape culture” within educational settings; the physiological effects of harassment; formal reporting strategies – does the system work; backlash and repercussions in the academy.
Session Chairs: Anonda Bell, Paul Robeson Galleries; Express Newark, Rutgers University, and Connie Tell, The Feminist Art Project, Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities, Rutgers University.
A Guide to Upsetting Rape Culture
Activists fighting rape on college campuses face constant opposition. Many administrations continue to put PR before the well being of survivors, and the recent roll back of Title IX regulations will, again, discourage victims from reporting. In this environment, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture creates needed space for survivors to be affirmed, to refuel, and to organize together. In 2010, FORCE began creating public art that faces the realities of sexual and domestic violence, envisioning a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent. They orchestrate consent-themed culture jams, large format projections featuring survivor’s testimonials, and poetry events to honor Black women who are criminalized for self-defense. FORCE launched the Monument Quilt in 2013 — a collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse, bearing stories of trauma alongside affirming messages like, “You are not alone.” The growing Monument Quilt includes over 2500 red quilt squares, which literally blanket the ground in public venues to create and demand space to heal. FORCE brings sharp focus to how rape culture relies on white supremacy through partnerships and calls to action on various issues, including tribal sovereignty. The Monument Quilt has been displayed on twenty college campuses, from Baltimore to San Francisco to Chicago. Countless quilt workshops have been organized on campuses as safe spaces for survivors. FORCE co-founder Hannah Brancato will discuss FORCE’s projects, the collective’s role in changing language about abuse, and techniques for faculty and students to resist rape culture on campus.
Against My Will: A Multigenerational Collaboration with Sexual Assault Survivors
Trauma is a deeply disturbing, distressing experience that can leave a permanent scar on the psyche. According to a 2016 Justice Department survey, it is estimated that 1 in 5 college aged women (18-24) will experience some form of sexual assault during their school tenure, including rape, forced kissing, touching, or grabbing. This statistic has remained unchanged for nearly 30 years. This presentation will discuss “Against My Will”, a site-specific installation featuring 22 double-sided vinyl light post banners made in partnership with individuals that experienced trauma due to sexual assault. The images were created in collaboration with artist and activist, Traci Molloy, 10 current Alfred University students, and 12 Alfred alumni. The participants, all cisgender women, are survivors of rape, sexual assault and/or sexual harassment. The sexual violation could have occurred while the women were students at Alfred, or at any juncture in their life. Many of the project’s participants had never shared their assault stories prior to this collaboration. On April 18, 2018, Alfred University staged a 90-minute performative panel on sexual assault concurrent with the opening of “Against My Will”. The lecture will focus on the role art can provide in terms of engendering social justice, providing a platform of communication for traumatized, dispempowered individuals, and serving as a catalyst for change, while simultaneously functioning as an aesthetic object. The presentation will also touch upon the difficulties that arose while creating this public project and panel presentation, ranging from the emotional and psychological, to institutional, bureaucratic, and financial.
Fourth Wave Czech Made: Resisting Harassment in the Academia in Central and Eastern European Context
On December 18, 2016, a group of students of four major Czech art colleges got together under the name Fourth Wave and published a video critiquing ubiquitous sexism present at their respective institutions. The gesture of resistance had a considerable impact within Czech art circles and was soon followed by a formation of an initiative entitled Codex of Feminist (Art) Institution seeking to outline and promote feminist values in art institutions. A vital source of inspiration for this initiative was the feminist led Academy of Fine Arts Vienna that could serve as a model of feminist educational art institution. This paper uses the three platforms/places of feminist activism and practice as material of an enquiry into the resistance to and prevention of sexual harassment. Based on interviews with members of the Fourth Wave group, employees of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and Czech women art professors with feminist leaning, the paper discusses the following questions: What strategies can be applied on the institutional level to grapple with various forms of sexual harassment? What changes should be introduced in study programs, teaching methods, and staff recruitment processes in order to prevent sexism that fuels sexual harassment? What are the challenges of building a harassment free art academy? Overall, this paper deepens our understanding of strategies of combating and preventing sexual harassment in the context of art institutions.
30 Years of “I Never Called It Rape”: A Retrospective on the Landmark Study on College Rape
In 1994, journalist Robin Warshaw published “I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape” based on the first comprehensive study on campus sexual assault and acquaintance rape conducted by psychologist Mary P. Koss. While the book helped established concepts like “date rape” and familiarize the public with the statistic that “1 in 4” college women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, it also produced a new cottage industry of critics, like writer Katie Rophie, who sought to undermine the validity of Koss’s research and Warshaw’s interviews with female rape survivors. This paper will reflect on the legacy of this landmark book, its role in shaping our contemporary research and discourse on sexual violence in higher education, and the limits and potential of Warshaw’s subjects in our era of #MeToo and beyond.