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KC-CASA’s “What Were You Wearing” Exhibit Challenges Victim Blaming Myths

A hooded sweatshirt and jeans. A child’s footie leggings. A matching pink and black “girl boss” tank top and shorts. A Star Wars t-shirt. Boy’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boxer shorts. Nothing seems significant about these clothing items-except they were the clothing worn by rape victims when they were assaulted.

In April KC-CASA’s “What Were You Wearing” art exhibit, featuring outfits similar to those worn by victims of sexual assault, was on display at the Feed in downtown Kankakee. These outfits, displayed on hangers against stark white walls, were shown next to the most common myths countered with facts about sexual assault. The powerful display sheds light on misconceptions about rape victims, including the commonly asked question, “What were you wearing?” that implies that victims of assault are somehow at fault for the crimes committed against them.

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