Nation’s First Permanent Memorial Honors Victims of Sexual Assault

Mosaics bring healing to those victimized


Sophie Herron

Lori Greene’s Mosaics, permanently located at Boom Island Park, honor victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Sophie Herron, Staff Writer

An idea first pitched in 2015 has become a reality in Boom Island Park: the first memorial for survivors of sexual related violence. On Oct. 10 2020, a virtual opening ceremony for the memorial was dedicated to survivors of sexual violence, especially those, who face it the most, indigenous women and women of color. Sarah Super first suggested the memorial in 2015 after she was sexually assaulted; however, the city did not approve it until 2017.

The memorial consists of three pillars decorated with five mosaic images, telling the story of a woman coping with sexual assault, with circular seating in the middle. The circular seating represents how breaking the silence causes a ripple effect that can lead to change. The mosaic images show how, after a traumatic experience, such as sexual assault, people can feel broken and not know how to carry on their lives. But, it is possible to resemble oneself and continue living, and when people begin to share their stories, others will break the chain of silence.

The last pillar has a blurb including lines such as, “As a community, we are choosing to break the silence that protects perpetrators and isolates survivors in their suffering.” Painted on the sides of the pillars are the phrases, “We believe you,” “We stand with you,” and “You are not alone.”

A movement with a similar message was the March for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women on Feb. 14, 2020, which art teacher Bill Colburn attended. He described his experience making posters for the March where, much like the Boom Island Memorial, people were beginning to speak out against forced silence. He said, “The thing that I remember about that day was that many people, but primarily the women…were wearing…red face paint in the shape of a hand over their mouth…which is such a powerful symbol of being not allowed to speak…Knowing this is about sexual violence, I feel like that image was perfect.”