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'Why I didn't report' pop-up invites survivors to share stories

The pop-up space is being funded by a survivor of child sexual abuse.

The "#WhyIDidntReport Pop-up Gallery" opened at 208 Bowery

The "#WhyIDidntReport Pop-up Gallery" opened at 208 Bowery on Thursday. Photo Credit: Kat Sullivan

The students behind the #WhyIDidntReport flyers that appeared in the wake of sexual assault accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have opened a four-day pop-up to encourage survivors to keep telling their stories. 

The “#WhyIDidntReport Pop-up Gallery" in NoLIta aims to give survivors a safe place to share their experiences and “further the healing process." It's being funded by Kat Sullivan, a survivor of child sexual abuse.

The 39-year-old is using money from a 2016 settlement with the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, which she says forced her to withdraw in 1998 after she reported that one of her teachers raped her. The teacher was fired, but was hired at another school and never held accountable for the assault, she said.

“I committed to giving away all of the settlement to amplify the voices of survivors,” she said.

When she saw a story on NY1 about the flyer campaign, she got in contact with the students, Ha Jung Song and Bowook Yoon, and offered to do an event with them.

Sullivan said she was impressed by Song and Yoon and wanted to keep the conversation going about the barriers victims face when reporting abuse.

“Survivors have always been trying to have this discussion,” she said.

The space will have trauma experts on hand and is being staffed by a diverse group of people to ensure everyone feels welcome, Sullivan said. 

The gallery is being staged with the help of LGBTQIA+ advocate Luke Stavrand and Assemb. Linda Rosenthal, who is the sponsor of the Child Victims Act, which would reform the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse. 

Song and Yoon have said they originally created the flyers encouraging people to share why they didn’t report their abuse after seeing tweets from President Donald Trump that appeared to blame victims for not reporting right after an assault happens.

The “#WhyIDidntReport Pop-up Gallery," at 208 Bowery, between Prince and Spring streets, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

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