Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff Brooke Kirkpatrick, left, and Maya Parker, second-year nursing students at Red Deer College, held signs on International Women’s Day Thursday. The students were raising awareness about sexual assault and victim blaming in partnership with Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.

In photos: “I was wearing a white cami and navy blue shorts” and it shouldn’t matter

RDC students raise awareness around victim blaming during sexual assault on International Women’s Day

Five Red Deer College nursing students sat silently Thursday while holding signs with various descriptions of clothing, including “I was wearing plain grey sweatpants, and an oversized hoodie, my hair was in a messy bun …”

Without saying a word, the students wanted to convey a message – if a woman is the victim of a sexual assault, it doesn’t matter what she was wearing.

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, and the second-year nursing students, hoped to raise awareness about victim blaming at the this is what I was wearing when it happened event during International Women’s Day.

Signs like “I was wearing a nude bra, a white cami and navy blue shorts,” told real stories of sexual assault victims organizers found online.

Heather Mcivor, a second-year nursing student and a co-organizer of the event, said students were wearing items of clothing – a sundress, a long floral dress, basketball shorts, a hoodie, shorts, etc. – that real women were wearing when they were sexually assaulted.

She said often sexual assault victims are asked “what were you wearing?”

“That’s entirely inappropriate. You can be wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt or you can be wearing a tank top and shorts and it can still happen to you,” she said.

Vishalini Chilaka, a second-year nursing student, was holding a sign that read, “I was wearing a long floral dress.”

Chilaka said she volunteered for the event to break the silence.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it happens to all of us, and it (the issue) needs to be heard,” said Chilaka.

Samantha Hann, also in her second year of nursing, said victims already feel like they’re to blame for the sexual assault, and it doesn’t help them when they are asked what they were wearing.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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Five Red Deer College students were holding signs like “A sun dress. Months later, my mother would stand in front of my closet and complain about how I never wore any of my dresses anymore” The students were raising awareness around victim blaming during sexual assault at This Is What I Was Wearing When It Happened event on Thursday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Five Red Deer College students, from left to right, Gina Benson, a third year nursing student, and second year nursing students Samantha Hann, Brooke Kirkpatrick, Maya Parker, Vishalini Chilaka, were holding signs on main campus on International Women’s Day. The students were raising awareness around victim blaming during sexual assaults. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Five Red Deer College students, from left to right, Gina Benson, a third year nursing student, and second year nursing students Samantha Hann, Brooke Kirkpatrick, Maya Parker, Vishalini Chilaka, were holding signs on main campus on International Women’s Day. The students were raising awareness around victim blaming during sexual assaults. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

(Front-right) Heather Mcivor, (front-left) Shanyn Cookson, second year nursing students and co-organized This Is What I Was Wearing When It Happened event at Red Deer College in partnership with Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

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