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About FORCE:

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

FORCE, the recipient of the 2016 Sondheim Prize, creates art actions to upset rape culture and foster a counterculture of consent. Our campaigns generate media attention and get millions of people talking. Nationally known for producing large-scale public art projects, we believe that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in America to face the realities of sexual violence, and envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent. FORCE’s... more

The Monument Quilt

Inspired by the AIDS Quilt, FORCE is working with survivors of rape and abuse from across the country to tell a collective story. The Monument Quilt is an on-going collection of 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.

To date, over 2,500 collected quilt squares have been displayed 44 times in 35 different cities across the US (read more on CNN and MSNBC). As the quilt continues to grow, survivors, loved ones and supporters are encouraged to make a square. In a culminating display in Washington DC, thousands of fabric squares will blanket over one mile of the national mall to spell “Not Alone.”

Poem on the Pool

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.

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.

  • 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 website was designed by Dan Staples, and the photography is by Philip Laubner. "PINK loves CONSENT is more than a style.
  • 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.
  • picture-11-2.png

    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 Facebook during the height of the spoof.
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    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 Facebook during the height of the spoof.
  • I Heart Consent

    This is one of the underwear styles that we designed as an alternative to Victoria's Secret's styles. Photography by Philip Laubner.
  • Ask First

    This is one of the underwear styles that we designed as an alternative to Victoria's Secret's styles. Photography by Philip Laubner.
  • Let's Talk About Sex

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

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.

As 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.

  • beliefgraphic2finaldraftcorrected.png

    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.
  • BELIEFISANACTIONfinaldraft (1).png

    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.
  • beliefgraphic3draft.png

    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.
  • White Supremacy Controls Who Is Beleived

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

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

Solidarity Campaigns - Tribal Sovereignty

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.
  • 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.

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.

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. Organized by Melani N. Douglass. Photography by Tara Sloane.

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.

From the Press Release:
Stories of survivors of sexual violence were projected onto the US capitol building on the eve of the final presidential debate. The text tells the experience of survivors, which in a national conversation about the politics of rape, have eerily been left out.

Between the stories, the words RAPE IS RAPE were projected.

Women are twice as likely to be raped in their lifetime than to develop breast cancer. Only 14% of all rape fits lawmakers Ryan, Akins and Rivard’s narrow vision of “forcible rape”. The stories projected onto the capitol building last night are from the other 86% of people who have been raped:

FORCE strongly believes that American culture is uncomfortable to the point of being incapable of recognizing the reality of rape in this country. The organizers believe that the culture of rape will not improve until a more difficult conversation is had.

The origins of “legitimate rape” or “women who rape easy” are deeper than anti-abortion legislation, conservative views, or a few politically incorrect statements. The problems in the public conversations about rape are bigger than election year politics. The image of forcible rape is the only publicly recognized image of sexual violence in America, and it is not realistic. Rapists do not only use physical violence. Rape is not only committed by a few sick criminals. Rape is not a rare occurrence. Rape is much more complicated and much more common. If sexual violence is going to end, Americans need to drop the story of “forcible rape” and face reality. These stories are here to force the issue.

  • 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”

Playboy's Top Ten Party Commandments: The Ultimate Guide to a Consensual Good Time

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.

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
  • THOU SHALT...

    Each highlighted student group had a different tactic for having consensual and sexy party times. Full infograph: http://www.brobible.com/life/article/fake-feminist-brobible-think-its-cool Numbers 1 and 2: ASK FIRST! Diversity and Equity Center at South Puget Sound Community College: These Northwest scholars know “consent is not just sexy. It’s necessary.” Students say, "Consent isn't confined to only sex. We ask before we hug our friends and take their pictures.” Like any worthy party trick, consent needs to be practiced.
  • Let's Talk About Sex

    Images created for the consent action. We reframed fun to include open, verbal, clear communication when it comes to sex.
  • Yes Means Yes

    Images created for the consent action. We reframed fun to include open, verbal, clear communication when it comes to sex.
  • CONSENT

    Images created for the consent action. We reframed fun to include open, verbal, clear communication when it comes to sex.
  • Twitter Conversation

    Twitter was taken over by discussion about hoe Playboy COULD and SHOULD promote consent.
  • Fake Huffington Post Article

    For this spoof, FORCE not only posed at Playboy by reinventing their website; they also released fake news sites to make the hack even more believable. This screenshot is from our fake Huffington Post site. The fake site is viewable here: http://huffingtonpost.collegebreaking.com/ Huffington Post and Brobible all covered the story for real once the spoof was revealed. Here are links to those articles: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/force-anti-rape-playboy-party_n_3944751.html http://www.brobible.com/life/article/fake-feminist-brobible-think-its-cool

FORCE:'s Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.