Honoring Survivors of Sexual Violence


Aimee Fiedler, Writer

Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual abuse/rape

On Saturday October 10, 2020, Sarah Super, with help from Lori 

Greene, built the nation’s first permanent memorial in honor of survivors of sexual violence. The tall panels stand in the center of Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. The panels created by Lori Greene are mosaics: a piece of artwork created by arranging scraps of material to produce a picture or pattern. There are three panels, each with vibrant artwork on either side. Visible to the west of the panels is the skyline of Minneapolis and not too far from the memorial is the Mississippi River. The panels encompass a small, open sitting place with long, rounded benches. The memorial, created by mosaic artist Lori Greene, was meant to have two metaphors. The mosaic represents broken pieces being put together to make something beautiful and whole. The circular seating represents the ripple effect, which is a symbol of the power in a community to break the silence. 

Lori Greene’s images tell the story of a fallen survivor standing up with 

the support of her community. The words inscribed state, “We Believe you. We stand with you. You are not alone.” These reassuring words are meant for survivors who are sharing their story and outsiders who are listening.

The motivator behind this memorial is Sarah Super, who has had her 

own experience with sexual harassment. On February 18, 2015, Sarah Super returned from her trip to Mexico. Upon entering her apartment in St. Paul, Super’s partner at the time raped her at knifepoint. After this horrific experience, she took it to court. Her former partner is now serving 12 years in prison as a registered sex offender. Even after Super won in court, she continued to tell her story. By doing so, she has helped hundreds of people gain the confidence to share their stories of survival.

Although sexual violence may seem uncommon, 1 in 9 girls under the 

age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault. RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) is an anti-sexual violence organization that works to bring justice to survivors, educate on the topic, and prevent sexual violence. According to RAINN, females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely t​han the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. As part of the the Cretin-Derham Hall community, it is important that we look out for one another and educate ourselves on the topic of sexual violence.

“For far too long, the suffering of sexual violence victims and survivors has been forced into the shadows, swept under the rug.” – Sarah Super

“This memorial is a permanent public symbol that says to victim survivors we believe you, we stand with you, you are not alone.” – Sarah Super

For more information, go to https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline

to find more resources as well as the National sexual assault telephone hotline.