Victim advocates, survivors stand in silence against sexual assault

By Wenjing Yang

A silent protest in downtown Chicago attracted 170 survivors of sexual violence, their supporters and victim advocates. The lunch-hour protest was a visual demonstration of the silencing of survivors of sexual violence, the organizers said.

They wore T-shirts bearing the stories of sexual assault survivors in order to raise awareness.

“There’s usually a lot of stigma around sexual violence,” said Brendan Yukins, prevention educator at Rape Victims Advocates. “By having people standing here with shirts that tell their stories, it erases a little bit of that stigma.”

“We are doing it in such a public space,” said Megan Blomquist, director of education and training at RVA. ”This really demonstrates a public show of support for survivors.”

After an hour, they broke the silence.

Photo at top: Participants wearing handmade shirts stand silently. (Wenjing Yang/MEDILL)