Tuesday afternoon, North Boulevard in downtown Baton Rouge was draped in red. Patches of a giant quilt were spread out all over the grass, each one of them telling a story of a survivor of sexual assault and abuse.
A handful of people added to the quilt, writing on blank patches with markers, either sharing their story as a survivor, or writing in solidarity. Others walked around the display reading stories from around the country. A series of patches spelled out the words “Not Alone.”
The Monument Quilt is a traveling effort by the activist group Force to collect thousands of survivor stories. Each stop on the tour is meant to create a healing place where people can share their stories or quietly reflect.
Force co-founder Rebecca Nagle says the project aims to make communities more supportive of survivors, rather than blaming or silencing them. Nagle herself is a survivor of sexual assault.
“I am not broken by that experience, but I realize what is broken and that is the culture in the country that I live in,” she told the audience.
The Baton Rouge stop was organized in partnership with the LSU Women’s Center, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, the Iris Domestic Violence Center and the Lighthouse Project.