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Dear Poll: Would You Wear This?

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, which is why Jennifer Baumgardner's new T-shirt controversy is so fitting. If her name sounds familiar, it's because she was the brains behind the "I had an abortion" T-shirt worn by indie rocker Ani DiFranco three years ago in a public venue. As if that didn't cause enough controversy, she's back with a new version, but this time the shirt reads "I was raped." Since there's so much negativity, shame, and fear surrounding rape, Baumgardner hopes her T-shirts will force the general public to think and talk about it. Some might say this shirt is crossing the line, but she defends herself by saying,

The wearer isn’t advertising that he or she was raped, but rather opening up to you, the viewer, and also saying that this is a small part of who he or she is.

So ladies, even if you haven't been a victim of sexual assault yourself, you might know someone that has, so tell me, would you ever wear this shirt in hopes of raising awareness about rape?

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jillerin457 jillerin457 8 years
It's inappropriate. Being a cancer survivor is VERY different from being a rape survivor. Cancer is not a crime; it's a disease. Having cancer does not cause the same kinds of social and psychological problems that rape does. They are worlds apart. Plus, as another person has said, people don't necessarily want their children asking "what's rape?" at a very young age. Certain things should be reserved for one-on-one conversation, not public flaunting.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 8 years
I wouldn't wear the shirt personally, just because I would have a crappy day any day that I decided to wear the shirt. I'm all for raising awareness, but wearing a shirt like this would make me feel like I was letting it own me.
dameneko dameneko 8 years
i'm a survivor, and i would wear this t-shirt. i wouldn't have been able to do that 10 years ago, but i can do it now. a fine way to transmute the shame that hung over my head like a vulture dripping with the rotting flesh of misguided morality for so, so long.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
nope wouldnt wear it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
nope wouldnt wear it.
Karma87 Karma87 8 years
Well, I went public about my story on this site, for many reasons, a lot mentioned above... Yes- we are survivors, quite right, Ibelieveiny0u, never victims. True, hkcupcake and sunlandseagirl, keeping rape or molestation quiet is the same as condoning it- well said. Crazylady, I know what you mean when you say a t-shirt makes a traumatizing situation feel less than what it is, but we have to start somewhere, because if it helps just a handful of people (boys get raped and molested too, and it's a lot harder for them to come out with it that for some women)and their families, then it's all so worth it. Sunshowers, anything written by Elie Wiesel is some of the most profound and emotional literature on the planet. It's my personal belief that every single house in every single country should have Elie Wiesel's works in them, and my mother thought the same thing... "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel Never forget. Indifference toward a crime is just as bad as the crime itself. Whether it's sexual assault or this particular Holocaust against the Jews. Oh! And I'd wear that shirt. Damn straight! If the pregnancy came from rape, I may wear the abortion shirt, too. So many factors, so many people, so many different ways to arrive at a conclusion.
Karma87 Karma87 8 years
Well, I went public about my story on this site, for many reasons, a lot mentioned above...Yes- we are survivors, quite right, Ibelieveiny0u, never victims.True, hkcupcake and sunlandseagirl, keeping rape or molestation quiet is the same as condoning it- well said.Crazylady, I know what you mean when you say a t-shirt makes a traumatizing situation feel less than what it is, but we have to start somewhere, because if it helps just a handful of people (boys get raped and molested too, and it's a lot harder for them to come out with it that for some women)and their families, then it's all so worth it. Sunshowers, anything written by Elie Wiesel is some of the most profound and emotional literature on the planet. It's my personal belief that every single house in every single country should have Elie Wiesel's works in them, and my mother thought the same thing... "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."- Elie WieselNever forget. Indifference toward a crime is just as bad as the crime itself. Whether it's sexual assault or this particular Holocaust against the Jews. Oh! And I'd wear that shirt. Damn straight! If the pregnancy came from rape, I may wear the abortion shirt, too. So many factors, so many people, so many different ways to arrive at a conclusion.
jimmalou1978 jimmalou1978 8 years
As a rape victim, I personally would NOT wear that shirt. I am not ashamed of what happened; I was 12 and couldn't do anything to stop it. But I also do not want everyone on the street to know about it. I tell the people I want to know; those I know will have compassion but not pity. I'm not looking for a "poor girl" response. And while it may provoke discussion, I think there are better ways of starting that particular conversation. I am not trying to "silence rape victims." I just think that it's everyone's personal decision who they want to know that they were assaulted. That's all.
jimmalou1978 jimmalou1978 8 years
As a rape victim, I personally would NOT wear that shirt. I am not ashamed of what happened; I was 12 and couldn't do anything to stop it. But I also do not want everyone on the street to know about it. I tell the people I want to know; those I know will have compassion but not pity. I'm not looking for a "poor girl" response. And while it may provoke discussion, I think there are better ways of starting that particular conversation. I am not trying to "silence rape victims." I just think that it's everyone's personal decision who they want to know that they were assaulted. That's all.
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 8 years
I have been thinking about this issue for a while since i read about the abortion shirt in Bitch! and I am ambivalent about it. On the one hand I want to give kudos, on the other hand I am tempted to say "that's unnecessary!" "Why would you want to air that out in public? That's private stuff!" and the truth is.. this second reaction is because I know if i saw someone with a shirt like that I would be uncomfortable, as I'm sure other people would be. I remember a girl in class once told me and another classmate that she has been raped a few years ago. The uncomfortable silence was... it was there. And it was long, and it was uncomfortable. And it was ended by a joke and change of subject on my classmate's part. But the thing is, this shirt is MADE TO UNSETTLE. It's in your face, you can't turn it off and you can't ignore it. Women get raped. Someone you know may have been raped. And they may feel ashamed. And maybe they haven't told anyone and they are ashamed. And maybe they never will tell anyone but they won't feel so alone if they see someone wearing that shirt. And it will definitely get tongues wagging. Some people will react with prejudice, but hopefully they will stop and think why they find the shirt so disturbing. So yes, a lot of us won't have the balls so wear it. But those of us who do, should.
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 8 years
I have been thinking about this issue for a while since i read about the abortion shirt in Bitch! and I am ambivalent about it. On the one hand I want to give kudos, on the other hand I am tempted to say "that's unnecessary!" "Why would you want to air that out in public? That's private stuff!" and the truth is.. this second reaction is because I know if i saw someone with a shirt like that I would be uncomfortable, as I'm sure other people would be. I remember a girl in class once told me and another classmate that she has been raped a few years ago. The uncomfortable silence was... it was there. And it was long, and it was uncomfortable. And it was ended by a joke and change of subject on my classmate's part. But the thing is, this shirt is MADE TO UNSETTLE. It's in your face, you can't turn it off and you can't ignore it. Women get raped. Someone you know may have been raped. And they may feel ashamed. And maybe they haven't told anyone and they are ashamed. And maybe they never will tell anyone but they won't feel so alone if they see someone wearing that shirt. And it will definitely get tongues wagging. Some people will react with prejudice, but hopefully they will stop and think why they find the shirt so disturbing.So yes, a lot of us won't have the balls so wear it. But those of us who do, should.
jessie jessie 8 years
i couldn't do it, but kudos to who those who could
BeautyXRush BeautyXRush 8 years
Id respect someone who wore a shirt like that, but I couldn't do it.
michelle-c42934 michelle-c42934 8 years
Sunshowers, I agree with what you say completely. It's just that some people are much stronger than others. Some things happened to me when I was younger, I spoke about it once about 3 years ago and now I just want to forget. I tried to speak up another time, but only because I thought it would help protect someone else and they treated me with contempt so I shut up.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I wouldn't wear this, even if I had been raped. But I also wouldn't wear a "cancer survivor" shirt or anything else similar. For me, all those things are private, not just rape. Suffering is something for me to share with the people I choose to share it with, and those people don't include random folks walking down the street.But if others want to then all the power to them.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I wouldn't wear this, even if I had been raped. But I also wouldn't wear a "cancer survivor" shirt or anything else similar. For me, all those things are private, not just rape. Suffering is something for me to share with the people I choose to share it with, and those people don't include random folks walking down the street. But if others want to then all the power to them.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
no, i can totally understand what a victim might feel like but i dont think many would want to let the world know about it; i know i wouldnt
crazylady crazylady 8 years
As a surviver of molestation (my brother did it to me for 6 years) I think it is a delicate subject what is best approached from one on one conversation. While I could wear one and be proud that I earned the name surviver, I wouldn't out of respect for those it may affect that still have feelings to sort out. It makes a very serious and emotional situation feel trite.
crazylady crazylady 8 years
As a surviver of molestation (my brother did it to me for 6 years) I think it is a delicate subject what is best approached from one on one conversation. While I could wear one and be proud that I earned the name surviver, I wouldn't out of respect for those it may affect that still have feelings to sort out. It makes a very serious and emotional situation feel trite.
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 8 years
I agree with hkcupcake and sunlandseagirl - people make the weirdest justifications for silencing rape victims. "It's private" - okay, WHY??? Who decided that victims of every other type of crime get a name and a face in newspapers, but not those who have been raped? If we refuse to acknowledge that rape happens to REAL PEOPLE, and not just nameless/faceless beings, we are glossing over the ugliness and true horror of the crime. Sure, we all want society to be pretty and perfect, but it's NOT and remaining blissfully ignorant of crime only helps the criminals. michelle_c, you don't think those who have been raped should be vocal about what happened to them because society would treat them like victims - well, first of all, shouldn't that be for the person who was raped to decide? And second, by defying the whole "victim stereotype," like ibelieveiny0u does, maybe they can change how society views and treats them. Maybe if more survivors of rape felt it was okay to speak up, that other people actually cared enough about their plight to listen, if other people were strong enough to look them in the eyes and acknowledge what happened to them instead of looking away and cringing... then maybe they would feel empowered to take what happened to them fight back against sexual predators instead of just hiding it away. "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 8 years
I agree with hkcupcake and sunlandseagirl - people make the weirdest justifications for silencing rape victims. "It's private" - okay, WHY??? Who decided that victims of every other type of crime get a name and a face in newspapers, but not those who have been raped? If we refuse to acknowledge that rape happens to REAL PEOPLE, and not just nameless/faceless beings, we are glossing over the ugliness and true horror of the crime. Sure, we all want society to be pretty and perfect, but it's NOT and remaining blissfully ignorant of crime only helps the criminals. michelle_c, you don't think those who have been raped should be vocal about what happened to them because society would treat them like victims - well, first of all, shouldn't that be for the person who was raped to decide? And second, by defying the whole "victim stereotype," like ibelieveiny0u does, maybe they can change how society views and treats them. Maybe if more survivors of rape felt it was okay to speak up, that other people actually cared enough about their plight to listen, if other people were strong enough to look them in the eyes and acknowledge what happened to them instead of looking away and cringing... then maybe they would feel empowered to take what happened to them fight back against sexual predators instead of just hiding it away. "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."- Elie Wiesel
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 8 years
I wouldn't wear that shirt not because I'm ashamed if I had been raped or were raped (or if I had an abortion). It is because I think sensitive matters like these do not have to be "loudly" relayed to the masses or to any person who sees you on the street. This is a matter, for me, to be confided and dealt with experts (at treating the psychological effects) like psychiatrists, mentors of faith and guidance and people who know me well and love me much. Even if this shirt worn by either people who had been raped or people who were not raped. A lot of people are not educated enough to get what these T-shirt wearers really mean.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
Maybe at a sexual assault rally if everyone was wearing one to raise awareness. I've never been raped but if I had I'd probably be less likely to wear it as weird as that sounds.
LadyP LadyP 8 years
I wouldn't wear that shirt and publicly admit that I was raped or had an abortion. That's like me wearing a shirt that says "Aunt Flo came to town today" because "Aunt Flo" is a small part of me as well...just doesn't make sense!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
Props to her and her mission, but I would never wear that shirt to announce anything that private about myself.
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