Memorial to Survivors of Sexual Violence



Memorial to Survivors of Sexual Violence


Sarah Super
Project lead

Joan MacLeod, Rachel Blaseg, and Jennifer Germain
Landscape architects with Damon Farber Landscape Architects, MN

Lori Greene
Mosaic artist with Mosaic on a Stick


Boom Island Park, 724 Sibley St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413


Completion date October 10, 2020; Documented October 30, 2021


Photographer: Heather Shirey


Description from Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board

"The Memorial is consists of several key elements: Three Monuments, The Circle, and the Landscape. Three Monuments: The base of each column is made of grey textured concrete representing the colorless and raw emotions experienced by survivors. Emerging from these bases are three columns of colorful mosaics, each face representing a page for each survivor to share a story, collectively becoming books or columns. The mosaics are designed by sexual survivor and mosaic artist Lori Green and express the journey from feeling alone and frightened back toward connections within community. The choice of mosaic as a medium represents how pieces of shattered glass can come together into something beautiful and lasting. Along the edge of each column is a polished black granite spine engraved with words of support – You are Not Alone, I Believe You, We Stand with You. Each of these polished spines reflect back our image as community members and allies of survivors as we walk past each column. We are invited to participate in the survivors’ journeys and become allies in bringing our voice to this issue and standing with survivors in solidarity. Each column is capped with a crown illuminating the journey and providing a thousand points of light of hope. The Circle: As one passes the last column, they are led into a circle first crossing a threshold of broken stone paving representing shattered lives and communities and into the circular gathering space. The plaza floor of colored concrete is sandblasted in a pattern of rippling rings like water, that radiate outward overlapping each other. Each ripple represents the courage of each survivor to break the silence and share their story, giving courage to others to share their story of survival. The plaza is enclosed by a series of precast benches and are an invitation for visitors to gather, converse, listen and share. Several exits are provided to allow for visual and physical choice and safety. Landscape: The plaza is supported by the sculpting of the earth to embrace and nurture those who enter the plaza. Plants were chosen to provide low water and low maintenance options while providing a soft framework of color and texture to compliment the Memorial. White poplar trees focus attention toward the Mississippi River and create a veiled enclosure. Their interlaced root structures provide a community of support always present at the site. Additional flowering trees bring color for vibrancy."


Summary from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board:
"The Memorial, which stands on the land of the Dakota Oyate, seeks to bring awareness to the high level of sexual assault experienced by indigenous people. It is the nation’s first, permanent, public memorial to honor survivors of sexual violence, located at Boom Island Park. 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. The Memorial was inspired by the hundreds of stories survivors shared with Super after she publicly identified herself as her ex-boyfriend’s rape victim. Super states: “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 Memorial is a symbol of the community’s solidarity with victims/survivors. Their experiences are honored using two metaphors: a ripple effect and mosaic. The circle of benches is intended as an invitation for dialogue. The ripple effect seen in the seating platform and extending into the landscape signifies the multiplying power of survivors’ voices; when survivors tell their stories, they unconsciously inspire other survivors to tell theirs, who inspire others to tell theirs. The mosaics symbolize that broken pieces can be put together to create something whole and beautiful."


Additional information from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board:
"Me Too Movement and Survivors' Rights Movement. Keynote speakers at the public dedication for this monument (October 10, 2020) included Tarana Burke, activist and founder of the Me Too movement, and V (formally Eve Ensler), activist, author and playwright best known for “The Vagina Monologues.”



Site provided by Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board

Notable donors to the Memorial include Gloria Steinem, V (formally Eve Ensler), Nora McInerny, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates.

Is Referenced By




Creators: Sarah Super, Joan MacLeod, Rachel Blaseg, and Jennifer Germain, Lori Greene; Photographer: Heather Shirey