An exhibit at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is being described as “terrifying” by those passing by, even though it consists of everyday, common clothing.
But the jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts and pyjamas are outfits described by New Brunswick women as the clothes they were wearing when they were sexually assaulted.
The What Were You Wearing? exhibit was designed to debunk the myth that clothing choices can lead to sexual assault.
“I think that [it’s] showing people that this myth is not true, and that it’s everyday clothes that people are wearing,” said Jackie Toner, a UNB student who helped put the display together.
“It’s a baseball glove, it’s a winter coat, it’s anything.”
Alongside each of the 16 outfits is an account of what happened to the woman who wore it.
“It was my friend’s 19th birthday,” says the text next to a white shirt and black pencil skirt. “I was so excited to celebrate with her at Klub Khrome, especially since it was our first time going out together.
“I felt beautiful, powerful, and ready for fun. I didn’t know that the same outfit that my friends thought was ‘perfect’ for our night out would be the same one used against me in court.”
Each exhibit lists what the unnamed victim recounted wearing.
“White long sleeve shirt. Varsity-style cardigan. Loose ‘mom’ jeans,” reads one description.
Some lists are followed by accounts of the victim-shaming that came after the assaults.
“When I told my mother, she said that I was teasing boys with that shirt. I spent the next 3 years wearing only hoodies to make sure no one thought I was ‘asking’ to be touched,” says the account next to a blue…