RAISKAUS ON AINA RIKOS (Rape is Always a Crime) Finland
RAISKAUS ON AINA RIKOS (Rape is Always a Crime) URB 11 at Kiasma Contempory Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland
As an artist that participated in URB 11 at Kiasma Contempory Art Museum in Helsinki. I staged a spontaneous protest with a group of visitors that showed up to hear a 10 minute talk about my work. To reclaim the urban experience, I asked the audience to take part in a spontaneous awareness march against sexual violence throughout the city. Some of the audience knew there would be a demonstration because there was an article in the Swedish HBL.fi the same day but most did not know that they would be involved in a protest that would travel through the city. As part of my project I brought the protest signs already made and distributed them to the audience. At the end of the protest the signs were left in front of the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum.
Shari Pierce “RAISKAUS ON AINA RIKOS”
During the history of mankind sexual violence has proved to be a successful means in the suppression of women – and enemies in general. Within art history violence against women has always been visualized. In the baroque period rape used to be presented as an act of war in order to present the aggressor in a somewhat dignified manner. After Goya's Los Desastres de la Guerra the application of sexual violence as a strategic instrument became increasingly visible within the 19th and 20th Century.
You the public may ask- Is what we are doing here now, is this Art?
The question of whether social issues are to be dealt with on an artistic level is still debated, but this tricky question has already been addressed by artists at the latest in 1977, when Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz - in collaboration with local women's organizations - staged a performance called In Mourning and in Rage in commemoration of victims of a Los Angeles serial killer. This artistically performed protest defied the separation between “fine” and “socially engaged” arts which since then has never been abolished.
Your participation today becomes an act of self-expression within the entire community. This creative expression empowers you, the individual, by creating a space in which you can engage in a dialogue with one another and the issues in which you have a personal stake. There is a chance that someone in this group has experienced sexual violence or knows someone who has been assaulted. Any person, at any age, of any race can experience sexual violence.
In Finland, rape has been largely defined according to whether or not physical violence has been used. Rape has been categorized and essential made legal. If a person is asleep or intoxicated, the crime can be defined as sexual abuse, which is punished more leniently than rape. On February 15th, 2011 the laws were changed at this Parliament house. As of June 2011, rape is no longer legal in Finland. The new laws now define all acts as rape crimes. In order for these laws to be effective society must change their views about what rape is and the consequences to the victims.
Therefore, I invite you to walk with me for 10 minutes through the city center in a peaceful protest to create awareness about rape in your society.