Queer artist Hayley Morgenstern brought awareness of sexual assault to UMKC on April 16 with a lecture in the Student Union.
Morgenstern read excerpts from Ann Cvetkovich’s “An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality and Lesbian Public Cultures.” She also spoke of Dorothy Allison, author of “Bastard Out of Carolina.” At one time in America, Allison’s book was banned because of its content.
Cvetkovich’s work focuses on the sexual assault experiences of some women and members of the gay community. Some of these experiences have been overlooked. According to “An Archive of Feelings,” it is easier to accept her sexual assault because she is a Lesbian rather than a straight woman. In reality, class and privilege play roles in how people accept sexual violence.
Allison’s book is considered fiction, but some events are based on her personal experiences. A common problem is that women are seen as the only possible victims. However, for centuries, sexual assault of children has been prominent.
Morgenstern believes reading about sexual assault is easier than actually visualizing it. That is why many visual art pieces which deal with sexual assault are not often discussed.
“Academic writing is starting to be reflexive, and it will begin to open up to change,” Morgenstern said.
Throughout the literature, the word “resilient” was used on many occasions when discussing sexual violence. Literature depicts sexual violence mostly against women. Cvetkovich and Allison display different types of sexual violence.
Through literature, visual art and performing, artists can convey a moral, social and political message. Campaigns like “Take Back The Night” and the Clothesline Project are available as a means of liberation and healing. With UMKC LGBTQIA students celebrating pride, this lecture was a way to bring awareness, literature and students together.