‘What Were You Wearing?’ showcases clothing of sexual assault victims

51 students, male and female, share their stories in a new exhibit at UofL.

‘What Were You Wearing?’ showcases clothing of sexual assault victims
The 'What Were You Wearing?' exhibit displays what victims were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new art installation at the University of Louisville shows items of clothing worn by victims of sexual assault.

The exhibit “What Were You Wearing?”opened on Saturday. It’s designed to challenge the idea that victims of sexual assault should be blamed because of the clothing they wore.

Fifty-one students tell their story of sexual assault and detail the clothing they were wearing at the time in the installation. The outfits, both male and female, are replicated for the exhibit.

The art installation began in 2013 at the University of Arkansas. It has since grown in popularity and scope.
The art installation began in 2013 at the University of Arkansas. It has since grown in popularity and scope. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“The purpose of the exhibit is to explode the myth that what you were wearing has anything to do with whether or not you’ll be sexually assaulted,” UofL Law Professor Joanne Sweeny said. “Because as you can see, it’s a wide variety of outfits. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing.”

Gretchen Hunt, head of the Office of Victims Advocacy with the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General and an award-winning activist, spoke at the event’s inception on Saturday evening.

“What Were You Wearing?” began in 2013 at the University of Arkansas. Its name was inspired by the poem “What I Was Wearing" by Dr. Mary Simmerling.

The art exhibit continues through Dec. 1 at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. It is sponsored by the Diversity Committee and Women’s Law Caucus.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-1o p.m. and Sunday 12:00-10:00 p.m.

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