Exhibit features clothes worn during sexual assault - WNEM TV 5

Exhibit features clothes worn during sexual assault

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

“In the United States about one in four women will experience sexual assault at some point in their life,” said Janine Ouderkirk, executive director at Shelterhouse – a resource organization for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

The statistics are shocking and disturbing. However, women aren’t the only target of sexual assault.

“Surprisingly, many people don’t know about this or believe it, but one in six men will experience sexual assault at some point in their life,” Ouderkirk said.

Ouderkirk said awareness is one of their main goals. That’s why they partnered with Northwood University to host the “What were you wearing” exhibit.

In the exhibit, student survivors describe the outfit they were wearing when they experienced sexual violence.

It’s something Mackenzie Kastle, director of public relations for Northwood University, said can really hit home for some students.

“Sexual assault is kind of this national issue. You know, people are talking about it in headlines all the time. But it really is a local, personal issue as well and we recognize that there may be students who are dealing with it or have questions about it. And so, these opportunities are great for them to be able to deal with professionals, to be able to come out and hear other stories, express their own stories and maybe start to heal,” Kastle said.

The exhibit focuses on how it doesn’t matter what you were wearing at the time of your assault.

“It’s a myth. It’s not what you were wearing. It’s not it. It’s a power and control issue and stuff they choose. They chose to assault someone,” said Mitzi Brown, outreach coordinator at Shelterhouse.

Brown said Shelterhouse employees will also be on hand to help anyone who may have questions or just want to talk.

“To give the kids and even teachers and staff more tools so they understand the issue is real and it is big,” Brown said.

The exhibit is free and open to the public through Thursday.

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