'What Were You Wearing': UN Exhibit On Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors

RISE CEO and Founder Amanda Nguyen gives her opening address.

New Delhi:

The United Nations headquarters in New York is playing host to an exhibit aimed at creating awareness about sexual assault and demanding justice for 1.3 billion survivors of sexual assault worldwide. 

Named “What Were You Wearing”, the exhibition, in collaboration with RISE and Spotlight Initiative, features as many as 103 outfits worn by survivors of rape at the time they were attacked.

The exhibit, which was inaugurated at the UN Visitors Centre in New York, on July 11, will continue until August 31. According to the UN, the exhibit features contributions by survivors such as entrepreneur and activist Paris Hilton and focuses on shifting the “blame for sexual assault to where it belongs: squarely on the perpetrators.”

The name of the exhibit is derived from one of the many “offensive questions are consistently put to traumatised victims around the world – placing blame on their shoulders for a crime perpetrated against them,” a statement by United Nations said.

Speaking at the opening, President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid said, “It should be a catalyst to spur conversation about our collective responsibility to eliminate violence against women and girls,” adding that the exhibition had “stopped him in his tracks.”

RISE CEO and Founder Amanda Nguyen said, “Today, all five of the survivors have stepped out of anonymity to tell their story to the world at the United Nations. I am one of the five… My story is not mine alone.”

When the exhibit first opened in December 2021, it consisted of five outfits. Each of the outfits represented a region. As per the World Health Organization, 35 per cent of all women worldwide have survived sexual violence. 

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