WASHINGTON, D.C. — As thousands of Trump supporters poured into the nation’s capital on Thursday evening to attend the president-elect’s inauguration, many were greeted with a huge projection on the front side of the convention center of photos and quotes from victims of sexual assault.
The installation was the work of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a group that stages protests and other creative disruptions targeting sexual assault.
The projection was originally planned for the front portico of Union Station, Washington D.C.’s largest transportation hub, where Donald Trump was hosting a candlelight dinner with several of his largest donors on Thursday night. But much of that building was secured and inaccessible.
Instead, the group relocated several blocks away to the city’s convention center, which sits at a major traffic artery downtown and is surrounded by several large hotels.
For roughly 45 minutes, a slideshow of photos and quotes from survivors circulated on the front of the building, as passersby stopped to take it in. The organizers of the installation hoped their message reached at least a few visitors here for Trump’s inauguration.
“As a native woman, as a queer woman, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and intimate parter violence, there’s so much that is traumatic about seeing my country support somebody that represents violence against all of those things,” said Rebecca Nagle, a co-director of FORCE. “The racism and the misogyny that [Trump] represents is bigger than just him as a person and a figurehead, but is something that is deeply embedded in American culture.”
“The goal of the piece is really to uplift survivors voices at a time that a lot of people are normalizing Trump’s behavior.”
The project was a collaboration with another Oakland-based group, which set up a similar installation on the West coast.
Many victims of sexual assault were particularly traumatized by the election of Donald Trump, who bragged on tape about sexually abusing woman. Now, as he prepares to enter the White House, there are already signs that Trump won’t pursue policies aimed at preventing sexual violence. As part of his proposed plan to reduce government spending, Trump administration officials reportedly approached the Department of Justice with a plan to eliminate the federal grants used to combat violence against women.
“The goal of the piece is really to uplift survivors voices at a time that a lot of people are normalizing Trump’s behavior,” said Nagle.