I was made aware of a creative new anti-violence initiative and awareness campaign called My Name Is Strong through a volunteer job. The description instantly caught my attention: “our commitment is to turn a single room into an overpowering exhibit of human strength.”
My Name Is Strong aims to empower all individuals who have been impacted by gender-based violence through creative expression. The campaign isn’t just for survivors, but anyone who has been impacted by rape, harassment, sexual assault, etc. My Name Is Strong is based out of St Louis, Missouri and you can view submissions on their Facebook page. While I come from an artistic family, I’m not the best artist but I enjoy just putting a paint brush to canvas or collage. Something that really impressed me about the campaign is that it isn’t just about fine art; poems, photographs, songs, etc. are also included.
For me, it’s very important to not be a victim, but rather a survivor. The more I read about My Name Is Strong, the more it made me think about what makes me strong, as well as those I care about. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) from 2010 found that 1 in 5 women had been raped. I think it’s important to note that the information from the survey is from reported incidents, and there are many reasons why an incident may not be reported. Primary survivors aren’t always women, as the NISVS survey discovered that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experienced “severe physical violence” from a sexual partner. Even if you aren’t a primary survivor of gender-based violence, there is a good chance that you are impacted by it.
I’m planning to have a small get together at my house, provide some art supplies and snacks, and hopefully get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Strength comes from many places, and even looking through My Name Is Strong’s Facebook gives me hope from the submissions. If you go to the Facebook page, there is more information on how to get your creative work to the three people who run My Name Is Strong.
My Name Is Strong is also on Twitter, and we are too. Find us @mysexprofessor and find Holly, the author of this post, @ItsHollyAgain