Minneapolis is home to the first permanent Memorial to Survivor of Sexual Violence. It was unveiled in October 2020 with a virtual dedication hosted by Break the Silence, the group that made this happen led by Mary Super.
It is dedicated to those who have survived, often in silence, whether by choice or because they were silenced. The garden is a place where they can heal and where others can help absorb some of the burden of that healing.
Only when we recognize their pain can we work to stop sexual violence. Violence happens when people are powerless and betrayed. In an instant that might be a personal attack but it is built, supported and perpetuated by a society that does not address a myriad of inequities based on gender, race, color, ability or disability and other traits.
The park gives vocabulary and sparks an important conversation that breaks the silence that hopefully leads to a more compassionate and just society that bolsters survivors and holds the betrayers accountable.
We visited yesterday. While too snowy and too cold to rest at the benches of conversation, we talked about violence and trafficking and what we could and are doing to help. Also, we took in the art, the mosaics, which represent the idea that even broken pieces can be put together to create something whole and beautiful. The imagery shows the difference community and truth-telling can make to turning victims into survivors. The loneliness of betrayal and violence through the strengthening of connection and knowing: we believe you, we stand with you and you are not alone.
Below is the recorded dedication. They still accept donations!