Occidental College Silent No More

Silent No More Title Banner Revised

November 20, 2015, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA

The first Silent No More Art Workshop that I conducted occurred at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California on November 20, 2015, in Professor Caroline Heldman’s undergraduate class, Campus Anti Rape Movement.

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An art making station is in place. I give an artist talk about my work relative to my being a sexual assault survivor.

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Students, thereafter, each receive a piece of poster paper that has been cut in a certain shape. I do not disclose to the student the purpose for the shape.

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Students are instructed to leave one side of the shape white and to paint the other side of the shape solid black.

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They are instructed to write “Silent No More” on each side of the shape, along the edge of the top shorter curve. While doing so, we discuss the concept of Ying Yang and opposing forces as they relate to rape culture.

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One one side of the paper, along the edge of the bottom longer curve, they are to write a short phrase pertaining to a positive aspect of sexual assault survival. In the empty spaces they are to paint related positive images. On the other side of the paper, along the edge of the bottom longer curve, they do the opposite; they write a short phrase representing a negative aspect of sexual violence, and paint related negative images.

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Students are asked to identify what functional object we have made. Only one student guessed correctly.

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Students stand and form a circle, facing one another. They each roll their decorated paper into the shape of a megaphone.

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They are instructed to decide whether the negative side will be the interior or the exterior of the megaphone, relative to how they process negative aspects of sexual violence within their soul, mind and body, internally and externally.

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One by one, using their megaphone to project their voices, students are invited to speak, shout, sing or perform the negative short phrases they wrote about sexual violence.

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Once the last participant has spoken their negative phrase through their megaphone, the group is instructed to unroll their megaphones and roll them up again with the opposite side facing out.

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Students now take turns speaking out through their megaphones (in whatever manner they desire) the phrase they wrote on a positive aspect of sexual assault survival.

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Once everyone has had a turn; all are invited to hold their megaphones up to their mouths simultaneously.

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In unison, they shout and chant through their megaphones, “Silent No More!”

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Participants are now asked to sit down for the discussion.

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Students are invited to reflect and share how they felt in the process of speaking out against rape culture.

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They are asked to describe their feelings going into the exercise and coming out of it. Did they feel anxious, fearful, sad, remorseful, excited, relieved, joyful or empowered?

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Did they feel anxious, fearful, sad, remorseful, excited, relieved, joyful or empowered?

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Students are invited to discuss how they perceive the rape culture to be on campus and what impact speaking out against it may achieve.

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Clean up time. Megaphones can be collected and hung from the ceiling in a designated area with fish wire in a circular pattern, as a temporary art installation through which the workshop can be remembered and discussed.

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We had a group hug at the end.

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Professor Caroline Heldman (center) and her student, Micol Garinkol, who has been attending our #EndRapeSOL #CA meetings to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in the state of California. Caroline is one of the two organizers and leaders of the movement, along with activist-artist Ivy Bottini.

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The next day, on Saturday, November 21, 2015, at Bill Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the #EndRapeSOL #CA campaign (of which I am a member) held a rally for the elimination of statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in the state of California. Several of Caroline Heldman’s Occidental College students participated. I was one of the speakers and was featured in an LA Times article and video.

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Members of our #EndRapeSOL #CA campaign include students from Caroline Heldman’s classes at Occidental College. This photo was taken at our November 2, 2015 meeting at the National Council of Jewish Women in Hollywood. The movement is organized and run by Caroline Heldman and Ivy Bottini (1st row, 2nd from right).

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On Dec 1, 2015, Caroline Heldman, Ivy Bottini, Margaret Smith, Gloria Allred, my daughter and I met with California State Senator Holly Mitchell to discuss how we may best support the bill to abolish the statute of limitations on sexual assault prosecution that is being presented by Senator Connie Leyva.

Other Silent No More & Heart Strings Anti-Rape Art Therapy Workshops Convened
(click on any link below to see more photos of workshops convened and scroll down for descriptions of the workshops)

HEART STRINGS ANTI-RAPE ART THERAPY WORKSHOP
Occidental 2017 Tiny Slim Slim Tiny UMD 2017
 Occidental College 4/5/2017 Los Angeles, CA University of Maryland 4/3/2017 College Park, MD
SILENT NO MORE ANTI-RAPE ART THERAPY WORKSHOP
Group Slim 1 0
Angels Gate 6/25/2016 San Pedro, CA Blk Grrrl Book Fair 5/29/2016 Los Angeles, CA
Hopkins Slim University of Maryland Slim Correct
Johns Hopkins University 4/19/2016 Baltimore, MD University of Maryland 4/18/2016 College Park, MD
IMG_7672-1 slim Silent No More 5 Slim
Catalyst Series Conference 4/2/2016 Los Angeles, CA Occidental College 11/20/2015 Los Angeles, CA

SILENT NO MORE & HEART STRINGS ANTI-RAPE WORKSHOPS are two separate group activities that begin with an artist talk by me and a slideshow presentation of my work relative to my personal sexual assault survivorship and my antirape activism. Following the talk and Q&A about my work is the anti-rape art workshop, either Silent No More or Heart Strings. Both workshops, though different, involve the creation of functional art objects, group exercises and discussion. The objects made in Silent No More are painted paper megaphones. In the Heart Strings workshop participants decorate wooden heart necklaces. Participants can choose to either take home the objects or combine the objects to make an installation.  Both workshops are creative vehicles of support and empowerment that encourage participants to use their voices in order to combat rape culture and to help heal themselves and society. Whether they are survivors, bystanders or advocates of sexual assault victims, through the use of metaphor, participants of all genders experience the personal and therapeutic impact of speaking out against sexual violence. The trope of both workshops is the Chinese philosophy known as “Yin-Yang,” the interconnectivity of opposing forces.  Explored in the exercises is the duality of sexual trauma juxtaposed against healing.

SILENT NO MORE ANTI-RAPE ART THERAPY WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

In the Silent No More workshop, there is an art-making station in place with painting supplies and poster paper. I first give an artist talk,with a slideshow presentation of my work, relative to my being a sexual assault survivor and anti-rape activist. Participants gather around the table and each cut a sheet of poster paper into a specific shape. I do not disclose the purpose of the shape. Participants are instructed to color both sides of the shape in solid colors which they feel oppose one another. They are instructed to write “Silent No More” on each side of the shape. While doing so, we discuss the concept of Ying-Yang and opposing forces as they relate to rape culture. Each participant decorates one side of the paper with words and images pertaining to the negative effects of rape and sexual assault, the other side with words and images reflecting survivorship. Participants stand and form a circle, facing one another. They are instructed to each roll their decorated paper into the shape of a megaphone, and are encouraged to consider whether the negative side will be the interior or the exterior of the megaphone, relative to how they process the subject of sexual violence, both internally and externally within their bodies and minds. The group decides whether to first speak out the positive side or the negative. One by one, using their megaphone to project their voices, each participant is invited to speak out a short phrases they wrote about sexual violence. Once everyone has had a turn, the megaphones are turned inside out, and each participant voices a phrase they wrote on the oposingside. Once competed, the group shouts out in unison, from their megaphones, “Silent No More,” three times. Guided by specific questions, group dialogue ensues.

HEART STRINGS ANTI-RAPE ART THERAPY WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

During the Heart Strings workshop, each participant decorates one side of a wooden heart necklace, with words and images pertaining to the negative effects of rape and sexual assault, the other side with words and images reflecting survivorship. Participants physically and metaphorically interconnect by forming a circle and tying the ends of their heart strings to the end of the heartstrings of the persons on each side of them. The hearts are rotated around the circle, so that each person holds in their hands the heart of a different person.  The group decides whether to first address the positive side or the negative side the hearts.  Each person then reads aloud the words of someone else’s heart. The hearts are rotated again, and the opposite sides are read aloud, with each person reading aloud the words of someone else’s heart. The purpose of the holding and reading of someone else’s heart is to emphasize the importance of empathy when listening to or dealing with another person’s sexual trauma.  Guided by specific questions, group dialogue ensues.  Scroll down for more photos.

To schedule either workshop in your location, click here to send me an email.