Duquesne University Student Brings Sexual Violence Awareness to Pittsburgh

By Olivia Kappler | Photographs from Jasmine Mabon-Connor  

America is finally directing attention to the elephant in the room: sexual violence. Women, men, and transgender people across the nation have been standing up, now more than ever, and addressing their reality with sexual harassment and assault.

This powerful domino effect that is sweeping the nation has allowed for sexual violence awareness to be more prominent within living communities. Duquesne University junior Jasmine Mabon-Connor is bringing this awareness right here to Pittsburgh.

Saturday, November 11, Mabon-Connor will host her pop-up exhibit called “Clothing Doesn’t Equal Consent” in the NiteSpot center in Duquesne University’s Student Union from 7-8:30 p.m. The exhibit will feature outfits of real people who have been taken advantage of sexually, as well as each person’s story to accompany the outfit they were wearing during the incident. 

“Raising awareness of sexual violence at Duquesne has always been a goal of mine, and I thought this would be a prime opportunity,” says Mabon-Connor.

Mabon-Connor was able to create such a powerful display with the help of Duquesne Athletics, Greek Life, The School of Nursing, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, her colleagues in Students Against Sexual Violence, and Dr. Elisabeth Vasko in the Duquesne Theology department. 

She hopes to illustrate, in a realistic manner, that the way a person is dressed does not mean that he or she is “asking for it” by bringing the authentic stories from these survivors to a community level will allow the Pittsburgh area to experience the reality and horror of sexual violence. 

“Clothing cannot and should not dictate consent,” says Mabon-Connor. “With this exhibit, I’m hoping that people who attend see the clothing that we will have on display and start to have a conversation about the issue.”  

She’s also hoping this exhibit is just the beginning for her spreading awareness of sexual violence, allowing her to bring her passion behind this issue to an even bigger platform in the coming months. At all starts by having community members break the silence and join the conversation of sexual violence.

“I want to see the whole community rally around this project, and I would be happy to share it with them.” 

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