Nation’s 1st permanent memorial to survivors of sexual violence now open at Boom Island Park

A memorial to honor survivors of sexual violence, the first permanent one to exist within the United States, is now open at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis.

An event is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. to celebrate the completion of the site. Keynote speakers will include Tarana Burke, activist and founder of the #MeToo Movement, and V (formally Eve Ensler), activist, author and playwright best known for "The Vagina Monologues."

Due to COVID-19, this is a virtual event, not an in-person gathering. However, the Survivors Memorial is open as of Friday and can be visited at any time. The memorial is located at the south end of Boom Island Park, between the playground and bridge to Nicollet Island.

You can watch the livestream event on Facebook or YouTube.

According to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, Sarah Super launched the initiative for the memorial to honor survivors of sexual violence in 2015, only weeks after her ex-boyfriend broke into her home, hid in a closet, then woke her at knifepoint and raped her. He was later sentenced in Ramsey County to 12 years in prison for the crimes.

The memorial was inspired by the hundreds of stories survivors had shared with Super after she publicly identified herself as the victim in that case. Super was also inspired by the work of Dr. Judith Herman, one of the country’s leading experts on psychological trauma and abuse.

“When I first spoke out about being raped, a lot of people said and did nothing," Super said. "Their silence taught me that there is no such thing as a neutral response to sexual violence. A response will either be hurtful or healing. Silence is not neutral. Silence supports the perpetrators and never the victims. The Memorial is one way community members have taken a stand and voiced their support for those who’ve been victimized. Our goal was to break the silence and respond to sexual violence and rape culture as a community in solidarity with victims/survivors."

The design team behind the memorial includes: Super, landscape architects Joan MacLeod, Rachel Blaseg and Jennifer Germain of Damon Farber Landscape Architects, a landscape architecture and planning firm based in Minneapolis, and mosaic artist Lori Greene of Mosaic on a Stick.

The city said the memorial is a symbol of the community’s solidarity with victims/survivors.

For more information, click here.