on mother’s day in may, 1977, artist suzanne lacy began her extended performance, three weeks in may, retrieving daily police reports from the LAPD and recording the rapes on a large map of the city. over the course of next three weeks, lacy and other female artists organized performances, gallery installations, dinners, self-defense classes, speak-outs and other public events aimed at dispelling the myths surrounding rape, encouraging dialogue within the community, and to help heal the many victims of sexual violence who had been silenced for so long under cultural stigma.
as part of the LA GOES LIVE exhibition and series of performances put on by LACE (LA contemporary exhibitions), lacy has organized three weeks in january, the resurrection of her performance, including a series of public events continuing the fight against sexual violence in LA.
i’ve written about suzanne lacy and her work with oakland youth in the 90s before, but it is exciting to see her continuing to explore the concepts and agendas that she and her peers pioneered in the 1970s that are still so applicable now- feminism, performance art, and art as a tool for social change. in light of the recent string of violent rapes in the mission and angelina jolie’s recently-released film about rape during the bosnian war, in the land of blood and honey, it’s more than obvious that this is still a global issue.
as lacy and her peers declared 35 years ago, rape is an act of aggression and power, not just sex. it’s torture. it’s a war crime. it is NOT the victim’s fault, nor is it invited by the victim by “dressing too sexy.” the fact is, rape destroys lives and communities. together we can prevent sexual violence from being perpetrated on women, children, and men through education and community support! find out how you can get involved in your community at RAINN or sf women against rape. and check the LACE website for more information on the events surrounding three weeks in january, including a recreation of the myths of rape performance and a candlelight ceremony.
PS at the end of three weeks in may, 90 rapes had been reported. that’s reported.