Silent No More Art Workshop involves an artist talk by me, the creation of a functional art object, and a group exercise and discussion. The workshop is a creative vehicle of support and empowerment that encourages participants to use their voices in order to combat rape culture. Whether they are survivors, bystanders or advocates of sexual assault victims; through the use of metaphor, participants experience the personal and therapeutic impact of speaking out against sexual violence.
Occidental College Silent No More Art Workshop, November 20, 2015, Los Angeles
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.
An art making station is in place. I give an artist talk about my work relative to my being a sexual assault survivor.
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.
Students are instructed to leave one side of the shape white and to paint the other side of the shape solid black.
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.
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.
Students are asked to identify what functional object we have made. Only one student guessed correctly.
Students stand and form a circle, facing one another. They each roll their decorated paper into the shape of a megaphone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once everyone has had a turn; all are invited to hold their megaphones up to their mouths simultaneously.
In unison, they shout and chant through their megaphones, “Silent No More!”
Participants are now asked to sit down for the discussion.
Students are invited to reflect and share how they felt in the process of speaking out against rape culture.
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?
Did they feel anxious, fearful, sad, remorseful, excited, relieved, joyful or empowered?
Students are invited to discuss how they perceive the rape culture to be on campus and what impact speaking out against it may achieve.
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.
We had a group hug at the end.
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.
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.
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).
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.