Below is the art and written work of students like you from around the country, sharing their personal stories and protesting rape culture.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
If you are a teenager or young adult, PLEASE submit your own artwork, video or written work telling the world your story. You can share a personal story of an encounter with rape culture, a positive moment with consent, or simply put out a call for consent awareness! Show other youth why consent is important to you. The more submissions we get, the clearer it will be that this is an issue that deserves attention and that matters greatly to our generation.
"Women's March on Washington", January 21st 2017
Voicing Consent + family went to the women's march in Washington, DC to show solidarity for all women and people affected by the hatred caused by the Trump Administration. We won't accept a president who condones rape and sexual assault!
"Consent is Mandatory" Darty Shirt, October 2016
A shirt my roommates and I made at a Darty (Day Party) to promote healthy party culture!
"100% Consent Patches", December 14th, 2016
From Harry Wetherbee, age 23, Vermont. From creator: "Send a self addressed and stamped envelope to 527 Drum Heller Rd, Sharon VT to get a free patch, choose jeans or flannel".
"Cubicle", March 14th, 2016
From anonymous, age 17, New York State; piece written about silence and perception.
I’m sitting at an old rickety picnic table right now, on the edge of a park on the cusp of my town, where the rocky, treeless and man-filled bluffs jut out into the river. The sun is above, and the sky and the river are both calm and baby blue, so it is beautiful, I suppose, but there is also a cold wind, and my jacket isn’t think enough, and I am alone. I was just sitting in town with my parents, you see, but they weren’t much fun - all blubber and blabber – and then my brother called screaming and they wanted to head home. I stayed out, and I walked down to the water.
While I was sitting with my parents, I saw Amory for the first time. Amory wasn’t much to look at; he was shortish, and very white, I guess. He was heading down the hill with Will, a vanquished ghost of my past. It was from Will that I knew it was Amory. Will was a lot to look at. Will had informed me, through a group text which I was in against my will for diplomatic reasons, that he was going to be missing out on the town Spelling Bee because he had an appointment to go fuck Amory, who he had met at a gay people party the night before. This was a couple months ago. I might’ve gone to that party, except for at that party there was alcohol and my house is always burning and alcohol is very flammable and if I enter my house with alcohol in me, then I might catch alight too.
I knew that it was still Amory because people don’t leave Will. Will leaves people, if he likes, but people do not leave him. Will and Amory turned past us and they came into the little Geordane’s café my parents and I were sitting outside of, and they ordered and they sat down on the other side of Geordane’s big glass window to eat. My parents didn’t notice any of this – they were preoccupied with arguments about boarding schools and wilderness programs. And therapy and hypnotism and yoga and acupuncture and kava tea and plain old psych meds, which were too dangerous and didn’t work and were the product of a corrupt capitalist society. The same with the police and Child Protective Services, who I was too weak to call a few days ago when I first saw the cuts on my mom’s hands and feet.
As my parents were reviling in their listless words, I closed my eyes and began to drift, as I oftentimes do these days. I was hoping to drift somewhere faraway, somewhere hot and strange with a sea of faces to lose myself in. Yet, I only went to the night before, where I lay in my room, listening to my brother tear the house down. My conscience likely blocked me from any other past moment, and my ego prevented my return to the present. And so, I stayed in this prison of my own creation, listening to my brother’s ethereal declarations. “If you make me get treatment, I’m going to kill myself,” he would cry, preluding a crash in some distant corner of my self-generated universe. And it was real and simultaneously so unreal, and I was detached from this reality and that world and myself all at once. And then I was flying again, spinning, spiraling down through the nighttime air.
I hit the ground in my backyard 3 days ago. Still, it was dark outside. I was staggering across the muddy grass, wearing only socks. My toes were frozen so that I could no longer feel them, and my ankles were swollen and achy, and I was crying, trudging aimlessly to the back door. It was locked; all of the house doors were locked. I was with my mom and Mr. Hess, the neighbor. I could hear my brother running inside, I could hear when he told my mom calmly through the window that he hated us, that he would never let us back in. Mr. Hess told me that I was okay. I was too hysterical and afraid to respond with anything coherent.
My dream was broken by the distorted sound of my brother’s voice. His obscene demands through my dad’s crackling cell phone speaker shocked me back to the sunlight. I blinked, saw my mom all red again, on the verge of tears. My parents still had not noticed Will and Amory; I found this strange. What to me could be sex, could be love, was cordiality in my parents’ eyes. They saw two friends walking down the street, turning into the café, talking about girls over their lunch. Then I broadened my perception a bit, and I noticed that nearly everyone in the café saw Amory as my parents saw him. And I recalled a quote I had pulled from some reading a little while back: “People see what they want to see. People hear what they want to hear.” I felt the sun beating down on me and unsettling my insides, and I almost chuckled, but my parents stopped me.
My dad pushed his hand down into my forearm. He told me that my mom and him had decided to head back home immediately. I told him that I understood, and I did understand. I do understand the love and the morality and the essentiality of keeping the family together. I was just afraid, and I still am afraid. And my own fear is terrifying. It is an independent, writhing creature that seeks only to grow and attack until it tears me to bits, just as my brother’s fear has done to him and our family.
So my parents and I parted, and I began walking down the hill, hugging my jacket tightly around me in an attempt to bar myself from the winds billowing up from the river. I put on my earphones, and I listened to an upbeat song about a boy and a girl picnicking by a stream. I heard the boy sing about how he loved the girl, how he would ask her to prom, to marry him, to raise a family with him in a white-gabled house in the suburbs.
Then, I felt a certain kinship to Amory. We were both shadows, I supposed. We are both small bodies encumbered with others’ light, or with others’ darkness. We have both experienced far from what was expected of us, and more than any outsider could pain themselves to know. And ultimately, to those many other people in the café, we were both two teenage boys. Whoever we are and whatever we saw, to them we were both naïve, straight cut clay models of a white-gabled society. We are not permitted to be anything more than supplements, or victims. And by the town, we are not perceived even as supplements. To them we are postcards, perhaps, or screensavers. We are not real.
I arrive at my post by the river, and I feel afraid for Amory. I fear because I know how Will can be, and I see our whole town as a series of neat rows of cubicles under fluorescent lighting. Will and Amory are in a cubicle together, and I can almost make them out, vague outlines behind their opaque cubicle walls. But the walls are high, and I can just barely see over them if I stand on my toes. Even then, I can only sometimes see the wisps of hair on the top of Amory’s head. Amory is shorter than Will. And the other townspeople, they are all sitting, nestled in their own cubicles, hard at work looking through Facebook photos of Will and Amory laughing together. They are smiling, and thinking, ‘Ah, the best of friends.’
And we are alone.
"LIFE OF RAPE CULTURE", MAY 31ST, 2015
From Brynne Thomas at the TEDx Youth Conference at Trinity College School, Ontario, Canada
"I don't Owe You", February 3rd, 2015
From the Avalon Sexual Assault Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"Leda and the Swan", 1933
Written by William B. Yeats, from The Poems of W. B. Yeats: A New Edition, edited by Richard J. Finneran.
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
"Anaconda", November, 2015
From Megan Schuster
"Use Your Words", 2015
From the Early To Bed Shop, Chicago, Illinois
From Matilda Stone, on the blog Smash the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.
"Consent for Valentine's Day", February, 2002
From Arlene, on the blog What We Pretend.