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About FORCE:

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture's picture
FORCE, the recipient of the 2016 Sondheim Prize, was founded in 2010 by and for survivors as an art and activist collective dedicated to constructing a culture of consent. FORCE is an intersectional, LGBTQ focused, multicultural, pro-black and anti-white supremacist collective, who has done our deepest organizing work in Baltimore and Mexico City, and has planted seeds globally. With a focus on local organizing in our home bases, we strive for our visual imagery, language, resources, and organizing... more

The Monument Quilt

Inspired by the AIDS Quilt, from 2013-2019, FORCE collaborated with survivors of rape and abuse from across the country to tell a collective story. The Monument Quilt is a collection of over 3,000 stories from survivors of rape and abuse. Written, stitched, and painted onto red fabric, our stories are displayed in city and town centers to create and demand public space to heal. The quilt resists the popular and narrow narrative of how sexual violence occurs by telling many stories, not one. The quilt builds a new culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed.

The 50th and final display of the Monument Quilt was May 31-June 2, 2019. The 3,000 collected squares were displayed an additional 49 times in 35 different cities across the US and in Mexico (read more on CNN and MSNBC).

  • The Monument Quilt

    The Monument Quilt blanketing then National Mall with 3,000 stories from survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence, May 31-June 2, 2019.
    The Monument Quilt blanketing then National Mall with 3,000 stories from survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence, May 31-June 2, 2019. Photo by Nate Gregorio.
  • The Monument Quilt on the National Mall

    May 31-June 2, 2019, was the 50th and final display of the Monument Quilt, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This video tells part of the story from our weekend. Learn more: app.themonumentquilt.org
  • Image from first Monument Quilt workshop, August 2013

    Individuals from across the country are making their own square for the Monument Quilt. Each square is 4ftx4ft, red, and contains a survivor's story. Allies who submit squares to the project can write their own personal story or a message of support. Learn how to submit your square, or how to host a workshop, by visiting themonumentquilt.org
  • The Monument Quilt Displays in Baltimore, 2014 and 2016

    In 2014, the Monument Quilt was displayed on Federal Hill at the conclusion of our 2014 tour. In 2016, FORCE organized Not Alone Baltimore, in which the Monument Quilt closed down 2 blocks of North Avenue for a day-long healing event. The display came at the conclusion of a month-long campaign, where messages of support for survivors blanketed Baltimore on buses and billboards.
  • View from Des Moines Exhibit, 2014

    Leaders from Nisaa African Women's Project in Des Moines read one of the quilts
  • 2015 Oklahoma City Tondalo Hall.jpg

    Protest at Oklahoma Dept of Corrections to free Tondalao Hall.
    Protest at Oklahoma Dept of Corrections to free Tondalao Hall. June 2015, organized with UltraViolet. Tondalao Hall is a woman who served prison time for a law called "Failure to Protect," which often criminalizes domestic violence survivors like Tondalao. She was finally released from prison in November 2019. Photo by Rebecca Nagle
  • 2017 2US_Mexico Border.jpg

    The Monument Quilt displayed across the US/Mexico Border
    Nuestra Tierra, Mi Cuerpo, display at the US/Mexico Border in Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, TX, April 2017, Organized by FORCE with leadership from Mora Fernandez, Lorena Kourousias, Juan Ortiz, and Eva Ixchel Villareal, in collaboration with: La Casa Mandarina, Feminismo Consciente, UTEP- Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Center Against Sexual and Family Violence, Violence Intervention Program,Inc., Mujeres en Movimiento, and Make the Road NY. Photo by Hannah Brancato.
  • The Monument Quilt at Ohio University

    The Monument Quilt displayed on the football field at Ohio University
    October 2017, the Monument Quilt at Ohio University.

Pink Loves Consent

“PINK loves CONSENT” was a web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties. The action and internet aftermath got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women.

This project was a collaboration with web developer Dan Staples. The models pictured are Brittney-Elizabeth Williams and Alexa Richardson.

  • About Page

    This is a screenshot from the "About" page of our pretend Victoria's Secret website. “PINK loves CONSENT” was a web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties. The action and internet aftermath got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women. This is the home page. The project was designed by FORCE.
  • Then and Now Page

    “PINK loves CONSENT” was a web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. Posing as VIctoria's Secret, FORCE got people talking about rape culture and consent online. On the website, we explained the difference between printing "Sure Thing" and "Ask First" on a pair of underwear: When it comes to sex, words like "no" are for setting boundaries—NOT flirting. THE PROBLEM: Across the country, women are saying "NO" and not being heard.
  • Twitter Screenshot

    The action and internet aftermath of PINK loves CONSENT got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women. This is an example of the conversation about consent that was happening on Twitter during the height of the spoof.
  • Let's Talk About Sex

    This is one of the underwear styles that we designed as an alternative to Victoria's Secret's styles. Alexa Richardson models. Photography by Philip Laubner.

Top Ten Party Commandments

In September 2013, FORCE tricked the internet into thinking that Playboy had re-invented its annual party school list in response to the predominance of rape on college campuses. The new “2013 Top Ten Party Commandments” chose to focus on consent, boldly stating, “A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And f- those people.” Slate, NY Magazine, Salon and others reported that the party commandments were an elaborate hoax to promote consent. The fake list featured 10 groups of college students from across the country doing smart and creative things to educate their peers about consent and make the practice of consent a mainstream, accepted idea.

As a follow up to the online spoof, FORCE hosted a contest encouraging students to share ideas about how they are creating consent culture on their campus. The contest was accompanied by the FORCE's own magazine, Consent: A Good Time for Everyone, including actions and activities for students to use to promote consent on campus. The Consent zine was designed by Whitney Frazier. The spoof was a collaboration with web developer Dan Staples.

  • Top Ten Party Commandments

    The infograph that FORCE developed to highlight student groups promoting consensual party times on campus. Text: It has been brought to our attention that fun-loving undergrads everywhere feel like their party times are under serious threat. The enemy? Rape. To kick rape out of what we’ve been promoting, we had to re-invent the whole list. We now present to you the ultimate guide to a consensual good time. The only good time that is a good time for everyone. Full infograph: http://www.brobible.com/life/article/fake-feminist-brobible-think-its-cool
  • Consent: A Good Time for Everyone

    Our Consent College Issue was released after the Playboy spood, and features ways that college students can bring consent to their campus.
  • Consent Action Pack

    Within the consent guide, students can find activities and step by step instructions about building a culture of consent on campus.
  • Drunk Does Not Equal Consent

    This graphic was developed to support students in talking about the relationship between drinking an consent.
  • 7,000 In Solidarity - student winners of the consent contest

    UCLA's 7000 In Solidarity campaign was #1 in the Consent Revolution Awards, with nearly 1000 likes.

Rape is Rape

On the eve of the last presidential debate, FORCE projected “RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building along with stories of survivors. The text tells the experience of survivors, which in a national conversation about the politics of rape, have eerily been left out. The project was a collaboration with the art/activist collective Luminous Intervention.

This project was a collaboration between feminist team FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture and the activist collective Luminous Intervention. The project was conceptualized by Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle. Photos are courtesy of Casey McKeel.

  • Rape Is Rape

    On the eve of the last presidential debate, FORCE projected “RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building along with stories of survivors. The text tells the experience of survivors, which in a national conversation about the politics of rape, have eerily been left out. The project was a collaboration with the art/activist collective Luminous Intervention.
  • Rape Is Rape

    This is one of the stories from a survivor of rape. It read, “As a young girl I was raped by a group of teenage boys. They put money on the bed afterward. I was convinced it was my fault”

Mourning and Rage

On Feb 14, 2013, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture floated 44 giant Styrofoam letters in the reflecting pool to spell, “I CAN’T FORGET WHAT HAPPENED BUT NO ONE ELSE REMEMBERS”. The poem, written by a survivor, highlights the isolating and silencing experience of rape in the United States. The poem was a demonstration for The Monument Project: a call to create a permanent memorial to survivors of rape and abuse.

To Be Heard

Members of Gather Together and individuals who have created Monument Quilt squares created a performance inspired by the Monument Quilt. The performance was followed by an opportunity to create quilt squares and participate in a healing ritual. The performance featured statements and stories from survivors of rape, abuse and domestic violence.

This performance was part of FORCE's installation for the Sondheim Artscape Prize 2016 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The performance was collaboratively organized with Melani N. Douglass. Photography by Tara Sloane.

Not Alone Baltimore

In 2016, FORCE organized Not Alone Baltimore, a month-long campaign, where messages of support for survivors blanketed Baltimore on buses and billboards. A series of program where survivors shared their stories and discussed solutions to the challenges Baltimore faces in adequately serving survivor accompanied the visual component of the campaign. Not Alone Baltimore concluded when the Monument Quilt closed down 2 blocks of North Avenue for a day-long healing event.

Quilt Walk for Justice

FORCE creates public actions in solidarity with interconnected issues. This has included work to advocate for Tribal Sovereignty and build healing spaces for Native communities. This series includes a works created to bring visibility to the Dakota Access Pipeline and its connections to these higher rates of sexual violence for Native Women. FORCE also collaborated with other organizers to bring visibility to the Dollar General case. Despite the fact that its store supervisor sexually assaulted a 13-year-old, Dollar General was fighting the survivor’s family and the survivor’s tribe to avoid paying any penalty for the molestation of a minor interning at their store. If ruled in Dollar General’s favor, this case would severely limit all American Indian Nations’ ability to protect their citizens from crimes like the sexual assault this young person experienced. In coordination with fellow Native American activists, FORCE created a fake “coupon saver” to bring attention to the above-mentioned Dollar General Supreme Court case.

We do this work through social media campaigns, direct actions and quilting workshops. 4 in 5 Native women will be raped, abused or stalked in their lifetime and 1 in 3 Native Women will be raped, abused or stalked every year. 96% of these perpetrators are Non-Native. Because of a racist legal framework imposed by the United States government, Native Nations are prohibited from prosecuting Non-Native people who commit sexual assault, rape, child abuse, or murder on their lands. FORCE’s tribal sovereignty projects took place in partnership with community and national Native organizations, including National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Native Alliance Against Violence, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Family Violence Prevention Program, and many other Tribal programs, coalitions and grassroots advocates.

  • No DAPL Prayer

    During a busy morning commute, hill staffers and DC professionals had their regular routine disrupted by a group of Native women praying in Union Station. At 8am on Tuesday Nov 15, 20 people, led by DC Standing Rock Coalition and FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, gathered in Union Station, DC to pray that President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Hope Butler (Piscataway Conoy Tribe of Maryland) stated, “President Obama, we fear what the future holds under Trump.
  • Sexual Assault on the Pipeline

    Created with Sara Tomko, FORCE produced this infographic to demonstrate the intersections of sexual violence and pipeline construction.
  • Quilt Walk for Justice

    The Quilt Walk for Justice was a day of action at the Supreme Court to bring attention to the Dollar General case.
  • The Monument Quilt at the Supreme Court

    FORCE displayed the Monument Quilt at the Supreme Court in coordination with the Quilt Walk for Justice, protesting the threat to Tribal Sovereignty posed by the Dollar General case.
  • Dollar Genocide

    In coordination with fellow Native American activists, FORCE created a fake “coupon saver” to bring attention to the above-mentioned Dollar General Supreme Court case.

In This Man

#INTHISMAN

January 2017

On the eve of the presidential inauguration in 2017, survivors of rape and abuse projected building-sized statements of how Trump reminds them of their abusers in Oakland, California and Washington DC. The projections were stills from a video by DISCLOSE, an Oakland-based art-activism collective.

As Trump supporters and protesters poured into the nation’s capitol for inauguration weekend, the front facade of the Washington DC Convention Center was lit up with statements like “In this man’s words I feel the anger of the man who pinned me to the floor when I was 14”. The next night, the convention center hosted an inaugural ball, celebrating Trump’s presidency. In Oakland, California, DISCLOSE organized survivors and allies to march to the Oakland Police Department headquarters, where they projected the video upon the building’s front facade. The Oakland action was in protest of the inauguration of a “Rapist in Chief”, and to the repeated sexual exploitation, coercion and intimidation of sex worker Celeste Guap, whose story made national news in 2016.

“The members of the OPD who exploited Guap, like Trump, are examples of the endemic perpetuation of gender-based power and sexual harm, resulting in the continued oppression of all women, especially women of color and trans women,” said Jadelynn Stahl, from DISCLOSE.

In the video, titled “We Will Not Be Silent”, survivors name the parallels between the violence of the Trump presidency and the violence they’ve experienced in their own lives. The video concludes with a commitment to survivor-led organizing and resistance. The video was created by DISCLOSE, and includes the voices of several survivors of gender-based violence. It was projected by Luminous Interventions in collaboration with FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture in DC, and was projected by the San Francisco Projection Department in collaboration with DISCLOSE in Oakland.

“Survivors of rape and abuse, along with our supporters, are coming together to use our collective voice to name what is happening: a rapist is becoming president,” says Jadelynn Stahl from Oakland-based group DISCLOSE. “Not only has Trump bragged about sexual assault in his personal life, but through his public actions, rhetoric and policies, he - and the administration he has appointed- embody the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, classist, ableist, transphobic, and homophobic agenda that is the bedrock of rape culture in the US. We, as survivors of gender-based violence, came together to assert that our collective vision for a world without gender-based violence persists in the face of the impending administration. ”

“As survivors of violence, we know best the tactics that Trump uses to maintain power because we have lived it,” says Rebecca Nagle FORCE Co-Director. “We have been violated, we have been lied to, we have been gaslit. Trump is not new, but all too familiar. As a survivor and as a queer, Native woman I know deeply the hate that Trump embodies, because I live it everyday.”

The full video was released online as part of a #WeWillNotBeSilent Twitter storm coinciding with Trump’s swearing in ceremony. From noon to 1pm EST on Friday January 20th, survivors will be stating the ways Trump reminds them of their abusers using the hashtag #InThisMan. Survivors will also be naming how they plan to organize against and resist Trump with the hashtag #WeWillNotBeSilent. The Twitter storm is co-sponsored by Disclose, Force: Upsetting rape culture, Sister Song and North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. A Storify from the event is available here.

###

DISCLOSE is a Bay Area, art-based, collectivist organization founded in the Spring of 2013 to address the pervasive issue of sexual violence. Project-based, they collaborate with artists, organizers and educators on events which aim to actively consult with and engage their diverse communities through outreach, education and direct action in order to facilitate dialogues that address the complex oppressive systems that allow sexual violence culture to thrive. We center the voices of POC, trans and gender-nonconforming folks and all Women.

  • In This Man

    Still from a series of projects, created in collaboration with DISCLOSE, and projected on the night of the presidential inauguration in 2017. Photo by Nate Larson.
  • In This Man

    Still from a series of projects, created in collaboration with DISCLOSE, and projected on the night of the presidential inauguration in 2017. Photo by Nate Larson.
  • In This Man

    Still from a series of projects, created in collaboration with DISCLOSE, and projected on the night of the presidential inauguration in 2017. Photo by Nate Larson.
  • In This Man

    Still from a series of projects, created in collaboration with DISCLOSE, and projected on the night of the presidential inauguration in 2017. Photo by Nate Larson.

Worthy of Belief

When Betsey Devos was invited to speak at University of Baltimore’s graduation, FORCE organized a series of actions to show our resistance, including a google hangout conversation on what it would mean to create a new tradition of belief in America, a protest at the graduation, and a series of graphics about belief. FORCE joined with awQward, GLSEN Maryland, JHU Sexual Assault Resource Unit, End Rape On Campus, and the Marsha P Johnson Institute to host the online conversation and with GLSEN Maryland for the protest.

45’s administration’s continues to attack survivors - at home, abroad and on campus. 45 revoked the visas of nearly 60,000 Haitian immigrants. Roy Moore nearly won a Senate seat in Alabama - a man who dreams of an America where Black people were enslaved - and has had nine women allege assault against him. DeVos has raised the burden of proof for survivors on campus, making it harder for college students who experience sexual violence to seek justice. The lesson we as survivors learn again and again, is that rape is an American institution, and that speaking out harms us, and makes us more vulnerable within a toxic culture that seeks to punish survivors for asking to be believed. While belief is a luxury for any survivor, we know that for survivors of color, queer and trans folks, folks with disabilities, immigrants and/or undocumented people, youth and Muslim communities, belief in our histories -- the things that have happened to our bodies -- becomes nearly impossible. We believe it doesn’t have to be this way.

  • White Supremacy Controls Who Is Beleived

    FORCE created banners to protest Betsy Devos' commencement address at the University of Maryland in December 2017.
  • Worthy of Belief Protest

    FORCE created banners to protest Betsy Devos' commencement address at the University of Maryland in December 2017.
  • Worthy of Belief Graphic

    One of 3 social media graphics created by FORCE Studio Director Shanti Flagg for our Worthy of Belief campaign, in protest of Betsy Devos' rollback of evidence required in Title IX investigations. This graphic in particular speaks to the reality that we are most likely to disbelieve survivors of color and trans survivors, and that often in response, they face incarceration and other punitive consequences for speaking out against their abuse.
  • Belief is an Action

    One of 3 social media graphics created by FORCE Studio Director Shanti Flagg for our Worthy of Belief campaign, in protest of Betsy Devos' rollback of evidence required in Title IX investigations.
  • Belief Discussion Guide

    One of 3 social media graphics created by FORCE Studio Director Shanti Flagg for our Worthy of Belief campaign, in protest of Betsy Devos' rollback of evidence required in Title IX investigations. This graphic is also a discussion guide for our audience to engage in dialogue within their communities.

FORCE:'s Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.