Earlier, I went to see T’étais habillée comment hosted by the Henriette Bathily women’s museum at Place de Souvenir in Dakar. It literally means “what were you wearing“. This pertains to the all-familiar question that people that deal with sexual assault get asked. As if the lack of clothing decides on whether or not you deserved to be assaulted or raped. T’étais habillée comment is one you have to walk through yourself and let me tell you, it is a tough one. All in all, was very confrontational and probably full of triggers depending on your experience. Let’s go through some of the victims outfits. TW: this post contains mentions of sexual assault and rape.
Victims of sexual assault and rape should not be asked what they were wearing. Even if you walk around naked, you do not deserve to be raped. Moreover, you are not a commodity and you do not owe anyone anything. Victims that shared their stories were mostly fully dressed from head to toe. And most of them were actually attacked in their own homes or at work. That was very confrontational to me, because it means that it could be my outfit hanging there. Also, the clothes hanging there, were regular clothes that everyone wears on a regular basis. Pyjamas, jeans, skirts, dresses and even a hijab.
Never do we ask suspects of sexual assault and rape what they were wearing or drinking. If they have a history of assaulting. Their ability to understand consent is never questioned, or doubted. Their recollection of events are never discredited or bluntly dismissed.
All in all, this was my take on t’étais habillée comment? If you are in Dakar, you can visit the expo until December 20th. Believe me, you do not want to miss this.
Last but not least, if interested, it is possible to leave a message for survivors and other visitors. Keep in mind that the subject is very sensitive and there is no place for victim-blaming. I wrote the following:
Keep sharing your experiences. You. are. NOT. alone.
You are strong. beautiful. worthy. resilient. & more.
but most importantly:
You are still a wo(man).
For more information, check out the details below.
Place du Souvenir Africain et de la Diaspora
Corniche ouest, Dakar (next to Seaplaza)
Tél.: +221 33 825 21 51
If you have any questions about the expo, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can watch the video I made about T’étais habillée comment? below. Thank you for reading.