The first national monument honoring survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence is coming to the country’s capital this weekend.
The Monument Quilt features a collection of over 3,000 stories of sexual assault and domestic violence written, painted and stitched into red fabric by survivors and allies. The quilt, created by the the Baltimore-based organization FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, was constructed over the past six years as organizers traveled to 49 states and 33 cities in the U.S. and Mexico, where parts of the quilt were displayed.
This weekend, the quilt will be displayed in its entirety on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from May 31 to June 2. In its entirety, the Monument Quilt will read “You are not alone,” in both English and Spanish.
It will be featured on the National Mall starting at 4 p.m. EST on Friday.
“D.C. has many monuments, but not one for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence,” organizer Lorena Kourousias told HuffPost. “By blanketing the national mall, we are asking for space for survivors to heal.”
The quilt contains a diverse group of stories including testimonies from women of color, trans and gender non-conforming folks, sex workers, First Nation communities, child sexual abuse survivors and many more.
Organizer Kalima Young told HuffPost capturing a diverse set of stories was one of their key goals because conversations surrounding gender-based violence “often exclude some of the most marginalized voices that experience it the most.”
Each swatch of the quilt, some written in English and others in Spanish, brings a unique message. Some parts of the quilt share stories of sexual and intimate partner violence, while others feature empowering messages of hope. Some parts of the quilt are stitched in remembrance of friends who died by gender-based violence, and other parts share messages of despair.
“For every black woman who reports her rape, at least 15 black women do not report,” one part of the quilt reads.
Another part of the Monument Quilt reads: “No soy tuya, soy mía,” which translates from Spanish to: “I’m not yours, I’m mine.”
One swatch of the quilt simply reads: “He goes to bed peacefully.”
People interested in viewing a specific swatch of the quilt can find the location of the patch on the National Mall on the Monument Quilt’s website. (Find the patch you’d like to view and click on it; the corresponding zone and block number will appear.)
Young said that she hopes people viewing the quilt this weekend realize that gender-based violence is an epidemic. Every 92 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. And people in the LGBTQIA community, specifically trans women of color, are at a higher risk than others of experiencing gender-based violence.
“I want people to understand that we are in a crisis point,” Young said. “I want people to feel the urgency and to self-reflect on the ways that they have participated or colluded with a culture of rape.”
Kourousias said that she believes the Monument Quilt will be a “transformative space” for survivors and viewers alike.
Both Kourousias and Young agreed that they hope everyone takes away one very important message from the Monument Quilt.
“We want folks to understand that they’re not alone and they’re part of a community,” Young said. “As we say all the time: We hear you, we see you, we believe you and you are not alone. And that’s what we hope people experience when they see the quilt.”
Scroll below to see more swatches from the Monument Quilt.
Head over to The Monument Quilt’s Facebook event page to learn more.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website. In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.