Wooden statue promoting on-campus play vandalized

By Cory Lesniak

February 26, 2014

All around campus, you may have noticed wooden figures, or silhouettes, featuring statistics and facts about sexual assault and violence against women in a promotion for the Performing Arts Center’s play “Extremities.” 

One silhouette for the show was found vandalized and destroyed throughout Murray Hall last week. Pieces of the wooden statue were dismembered and left throughout the building in what Dean of Students Trudi Goggin described as “an act of aggression.”

On Feb. 16, Campus Security officers were conducting their early morning patrols in Murray Hall when one officer noticed the hand of the domestic violence silhouette in the elevator. Then, on the fourth floor of Murray in the middle of the hallway, the body of the silhouette was found split into two separate pieces. The arms and head of the silhouette were later found in the trash room on the fourth floor.

Many at Dominican, including those involved with “Extremities,” responded harshly to the vandalism.

“Any act of vandalism is an act of disrespect and comes with a level of aggression and violence,” DUPAC Artistic Director Krista Hansen said.

Some students were upset and expressed their feelings to the Dean of Students Trudi Goggin.

“This goes further than just broken pieces of wood, it has a deeper meaning, [and] it’s intense. We hurt one of us, we hurt all of us,” Goggin said.

The silhouettes were placed strategically around campus to promote the show “Extremities,” an intense and raw psychological thriller that raises proactive and difficult questions about rape and rape culture, where it received rave reviews this past weekend.

Each silhouette had a message on it representing the story of a woman. The vandalized figure represented a woman who was killed by her abuser, dying frightened and alone.

The damaged silhouette was initially placed in the Coughlin Commons area near the Resource Desk so that resident students coming in and out of the building could become informed on the matter of sexual assault and be encouraged to attend “Extremities.”

“When I was informed about the incident, I was overcome with intense feelings of anger and disappointment on how someone can engage in such insensitive actions,” D.A.S.H. Co-President and Resident Assistant Violet Gallardo said.  “As a member of Residence Life, we strive to uphold a safe space for all and we want raise consciousness and literacy on campus in regards to issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape culture.”

The silhouette, like many women who survive these horrific situations of abuse, has stood strong and was pieced back together and put on display yet again in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building, where it greeted audiences to the show.

“It’s a very dishonorable act and we thought we should still put it out on display,” Hansen said.

There are still no leads in the investigation as to who destroyed the silhouette.