The #DontTellMeHowToDress (DTMHTD) exhibition makes a stop at Singapore from 28 March to 21 April 2019. Held at NomadX in Plaza Singapura, the exhibition aims to prove that sexual violence may be inflicted on anyone, regardless of how they are dressed. This questions the societal stance that a survivor is somehow responsible for instigating sexual violence because of the way she acts or dresses. The DTMHTD exhibition also serves as a platform for survivors’ stories to be heard, and an avenue to show that help is available.
The DTMHTD exhibition in Singapore showcases eight sets of clothing worn by survivors of sexual violence in Singapore. Gathered by AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC), these outfits are exhibited with permission from the survivors, and are accompanied by narratives based on both reported cases and news articles. The exhibition also displays portraits of celebrities and luminaries who support the cause, as well as other interactive elements that tackle the theme of sexual assault and the subsequent shaming of these survivors locally and across Asia.
Singapore celebrities who have pledged their support for the project include Paul Foster (Actor, Host and Model), Wallace Ang (Actor, Host and Singer), and Gina Tan (Actress, Model and Singer).
Singapore is the third country to host the DTMHTD exhibition, following the huge, positive reception and public endorsement in Thailand and in the Philippines on November last year. Similar to the exhibition held at Thailand and the Philippines, DTMHTD was launched in collaboration with UN Women network organization – the Singapore Committee for UN Women. The exhibition was also made possible with the support of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), who connected the organisers with the survivors featured in Singapore’s DTMHTD exhibition.
For the uninitiated, the DTMHTD exhibition is part of the larger #DontTellMeHowToDress campaign on social media, pioneered by Cindy Sirinya Bishop – a Thai-American model, actress, and host of the hit reality series Asia’s Next Top Model. The DTMHTD movement took off in March 2018, in response to a Thai government official’s advice that women should avoid dressing in sexy or attractive clothing if they do not wish to get sexually assaulted.
As a survivor of sexual harassment herself, Cindy believes that women should have the right to choose how they dress and remain safe – at the same time. What was originally a rant post on social media over the Thai government’s directive has amassed tremendous support from fans and fellow survivors alike, and rapidly grew to the #DontTellMeHowToDress campaign we know of today.
“Don’t Tell Me How to Dress” Exhibition
Date: 28 March 2019 – 21 April 2019
Time: 10am – 10pm
Venue: NomadX Level 3, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238839
Visuals courtesy of Firefly Photography