Okanagan College art exhibit raises awareness around consent

The project has been to Vernon and will go to Penticton, Salmon Arm

An art installation is now open at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

The exhibit, titled What Were You Wearing?, highlights the clothing survivors were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. The exhibit also has descriptions of what the survivors were doing at the time of the assault, which ranged from working out to playing in the yard as a child, to getting water before going to bed.

The exbit, What Were You Wearing? kicks off Okanagan College’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

READ MORE: Kelowna fundraiser raises awareness about Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Brianne Berchowitz is the college’s student union executive director. She said the goal of the exhibit is to educate staff and students that sexual assault can happen anytime, anywhere, regardless of the outfit.

“One of the questions that always comes up is ‘what were you wearing?’ and that’s a problematic question because it doesn’t really matter,” Berchowitz said.

“Sometimes the story is ‘I was wearing my pyjamas and I wasn’t doing anything at all and I wasn’t asking for it.’ We’re trying to let folks know that it doesn’t matter what they were wearing, but it’s still important to know they can wear anything and these things can still happen and that we’re trying to stop it from happening.”

She added, the project aims to let people know there are resources available for them as well, including counselling.

The exhibit was first on display at the college’s Vernon campus last week. Berchowitz said they’re now working towards having the exhibit shown on Penticton and Salmon Arm campuses. The project is based on a similar installation presented at the University of Arkansas in 2013.

Elske Larson is a representative from the student union and she said one of the goals of the exhibit is to raise awareness around consent.

“We just want to let people know that consent is key. ‘Yes’ is really the only way to give consent and verbally saying ‘yes, I want this’ is the key,” Larson said.

She added the student union also has a Let’s Get Consensual campaign, which aims to debunk persistent rape myths, including the myth that a survivor was “asking for it” based on what they were wearing.

“Clothing is not the reason. It’s not what they were wearing that caused the incident to happen. We should all feel comfortable wearing what we want to wear… the fact that people are getting targeted and put to shame because of what they want tow ear is awful.”

“People need to understand that it’s not their fault, they’re not alone and that there’s help out there for them.”

The exhibit first opened on Tuesday and will be open until noon on Jan. 22.

For more information on Okanagan College’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month initiatives, visit their website.

READ MORE: Petition calls for sexual assault investigation unit within Kelowna RCMP

READ MORE: UBCO and Elizabeth Fry host panel to discuss structural change for sexual assault survivors


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

sexual assaults

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Lake Country approves 5.88 per cent property tax increase

The average home assessed at $711,000 will have to pay an extra $123 per year

Kelowna to introduce new strategy for community education about supportive housing

The model seeks to enhance community engagement, accessibility and transparency

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read