What Were You Wearing

CONTENT WARNING: This gallery contains descriptions of gender-based violence. Please utilize self-care as needed. Call The Refuge 24/7 for support locally at 912-538-9935.

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Note: The following stories are in each survivor's own words. This gallery contains an instance of ableist language that does not reflect the views of The Refuge staff.


On May 24, 2013,  Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman attended a conference hosted by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault in Little Rock, Arkansas.   The conference packet included the poem  What I was Wearing.  Dr. Simmerling wrote the poem in the early 2000s and received a registered copyright in 2005.

Deeply moved by the poem, Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman began to brainstorm ways to create a visual representation of the poem during a break at the conference.  Throughout June 2013, Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman conceptualized and developed the framework for the Installation.  Ms. Brockman contacted Dr. Simmerling during the summer of 2013 and was given permission to utilize her poem in connection with the Installation.


In September 2013, the Student Union Connections Lounge was reserved to host the first “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month to be held April 2014.  From September 2013 and onward, student-survivors at the University of Arkansas voluntarily shared brief descriptions of what they were wearing when they experienced sexual violence via  personal interviews with Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman. These descriptions were used to recreate the outfits worn during the assaults.  Clothing for the Installation was donated by Peace At home Thrift Store in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

The first “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation was displayed at the University of Arkansas March 31-April 4th, 2014

Click here for the What Were You Wearing Poem

Click Here For The Photo Gallery


Special thank you to Faith Maddox, a Sophomore at the University of Kansas studying English and Creative Writing, for providing the illustrations for this virtual display. Faith has been a Peer Educator at SAPEC since May of 2019. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master's degree in either Social Work or Education. Instagram: @faaithica.

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2018 The Refuge

“This project is supported by VOCA Sub-Award No. C19-8-176 administered by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime or the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.”