The Act Like Nothing Happened project expresses the trauma and pain of being sexually assaulted, which is considered too taboo to be discussed. The aim of my thesis is to provide the feelings through expressionism and start a conversation about this topic that creates mental and emotional disarray in its wake.
Sexual assault is a major crime that many people experience in their lives. However, often victims and society do not know how to deal with it. This project explores ways of coping with sexual assault through the visualization of survivors who deal with the pain of such an assault. We hear news of sexual assault every day, and all we conclude is that it should not happen but what can be done about it? Therefore the cycle is not broken, and the heinous crime keeps happening again and again. Growing up, I couldn’t handle the idea of people mourning on the news for a day or two and moving on with their lives until something else took place. Everyone talks about how the victim's family is feeling but not the victim. It is always expected that the victim needs to stay silent. But what is the survivor's pain? Has anyone ever talked about how the survivor is feeling? What do they have to say? This is my motivation.
Throughout my journey at VCUarts Qatar, learning about design’s role in social issues has been my top priority. Design can introduce projects with a pragmatic approach, teaching audiences through emotion and experience to provoke action. In this way, design can influence a blinded world to solve complex universal problems.
I explore Performance Art and Design as a unique platform where practically any element of art and design can be merged to create for a specific audience, time, and place. My area of interest is performance art, experimentation, and outcomes from photographs that whisper to you, Act Like Nothing Happened. I have and want to represent the pain of what survivors actually go through with expressionism through performance art.
The larger finding of this project was that it sadly happens to many demographics, not just kids, but the 76 genders and counting: men, women, transgender, non-binary, cisgender, bigender, and the list just goes on. Another realization is that this topic is not just a project for me, but a passion that I will continue researching in the future.