With movement’s like #MeToo and #TimesUp, more and more women are speaking up about rape culture. One of them is Cindy Bishop who started the #DontTellMeHowToDress campaign and exhibit. When I asked her what triggered her to start this, she shared this experience. “That started in Thailand this year just as a response that I had on social media to a newspaper article where local authorities were telling women not to dress sexy as to avoid sexual assault.” This was mainly for the Thai new year event wherein water fights took place all over the country. After responding to the article, she realized how many women felt the same way she did. “It prompted me to look closer at the issues involved around sexual assault and harassment and that why is it always the women who are to blame for it?”
This experience was the stepping stone for the exhibit wherein they showcase the clothing worn by victims during the time of their assault. If you didn’t get a chance to catch it in Thailand, Cindy, together with SPARK! Philippines, put up a localized version. This is actually part of the #RespetoNaman nationwide campaign against gender-based violence. There will also be other activities in line with this. The #DontTellMeHowToDress exhibit will be up at Power Plant Mall until Dec. 1.
According to Cindy, the exhibit has been positively received so far. “I think this is a subject that people feel personally affected by but have not really had a chance to express themselves.” She also addresses that, yes, these topics are taboo but if we don’t start conversations about it, it will continue to happen. Now, it is good that we are talking about it but to reduce these issues even further, children have to be taught at a young age. Cindy says, “Parents need to talk to their children about this and it needs to start early. I started instilling this idea from a young age in both my children.” She mentions that we should be teaching these to both sons and daughters. “When my children are fighting over a toy or for example they started playing a game that one of them decided they don’t want to play anymore, no means no.”
If you want to educate yourself more on rape cultures and other issues surrounding it, visit the exhibit and updates on the #RespetoNaman campaign.
Photos courtesy of SPARK! Philippines
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