ORONO – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the University of Maine is sharing survivors stories in a unique way.
Banners are hanging in the green by the Fogler Library on its campus.
Each one depicts a faculty member, staff member, or student who has been a victim of sexual assault.
“My co-collaborators on this project remain anonymous, though their portraits are out there, they’ve been deidentified” said Traci Molloy, the artist and activist who created the banners. “I don’t paint all their features. The text is their handwriting and their story is out there and it is their truth,” she added.
For almost 20 years, Molloy has worked with individuals affected by trauma.
She said art gives people a platform to express themselves even when it could be difficult.
“Art is its own language.” Molloy said. “Often times people who are survivors of trauma can’t communicate what happened. When you create piece of art, you allow people to experience it viscerally and on a different level.”
According to Elizabeth Ward Saxl, the Executive Director of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 1 in 5 Maine residents will be assaulted in their lifetime.
“The more that people share their stories, the more others will share their stories, and bring awareness to something, like I said, that is very often stigmatized and silenced.” said Susan Gardner, the Director of UMaine’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies.
The banners will be hanging on campus until April 26th.
On April 3rd at 5:30 p.m., Molloy, along with some of the people featured on the banners, will be facilitating a panel in the St. John Hill auditorium on UMaine’s campus.
The event is free and open to the public.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, resources are available on Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s website.