(Saint Paul, MN) – Survivors and allies will celebrate the completion of the nation’s first, permanent, public memorial to honor survivors of sexual violence with a virtual event on Saturday, October 10th, at 10am CST. The event will stream on Facebook and YouTube Keynote speakers include Tarana Burke and V (formally Eve Ensler). Event details can be found here.
Survivor and activist Sarah Super launched the Memorial initiative in 2015, only weeks after her ex-boyfriend broke into her home, hid in a closet, then woke her at knifepoint and raped her. He was sentenced in Ramsey County to 12 years in prison for his crime.
“When I first spoke out about being raped, a lot of people said and did nothing in response,” said Super. “Their silence taught me that there is no such thing as a neutral response to sexual violence; a response will either be hurtful or healing. Silence is not a neutral response; silence supports the perpetrators and never the victims.”
The Memorial, built in Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota was inspired by the hundreds of stories survivors shared with Super after she publicly identified herself as her ex-boyfriend’s rape victim, as well as by the work of Dr. Judith Herman, one of the country’s leading experts on psychological trauma and abuse.
“Our goal was to break the silence and respond to sexual violence and rape culture as a community in solidarity with victims/survivors,” she said. “The Memorial is one way community members have taken a stand and voiced their support for those who’ve been victimized.”
“We are honored to have had a hand in helping Sarah make this Memorial a reality,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates is among donors including Gloria Steinem, V (formally Eve Ensler), author Nora McInerny, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. “It is an incredible testament to the stories and courage of survivors,” he said.
The Memorial design team includes: Sarah Super, landscape architects Joan MacLeod, Rachel Blaseg, and Jennifer Germain of Damon Farber Landscape Architects, and mosaic artist Lori Greene of Mosaic on a Stick. The design includes a circular seating area, three 12′ panels of mosaic, and a surrounding landscape. The circle of benches is intended as an invitation for dialogue. The mosaics symbolize that broken pieces can be put together to create something whole and beautiful. The ripple effect seen in the seating platform and extending into the landscape signifies the multiplying power of survivors’ voices; when survivors tell their stories, they unconsciously inspire other survivors to tell theirs, who inspire others to tell theirs.
Visit www.survivorsmemorial.org for more information.