OPS-- The Organization for Prostitution Survivors-- is a grassroots non-profit that was started by survivors and their allies to stop the violence of prostitution. OPS works in three program areas: survivor services, community education, and men's accountability. By leading the community in healing the harm of prostitution, OPS will shift the social norms that support the practice of prostitution. OPS is both a social service agency and an agent of social change.
Who are the Green River Victims?
More than 90 prostituted women and girls are presumed murdered by Gary Ridgway between 1981 and his arrest in 2001 in the Seattle area. He was charged with killing 49 identified victims more than half of whom were under the age of 18, and admitted to killing more that were never found or identified.
Why create a memorial for the victims of the Green River Killer?
This tragedy has gone unacknowledged for too long. Until the families of victims and survivors have experienced healing from these murders, our community as a whole cannot begin to heal. We must address the violence of prostitution that continues all around us. These victims deserve to be acknowledged!
People often excuse the violence done to women and children in the life of prostitution as if they were asking for it or somehow brought it upon themselves. This attitude is similar to how people often think about women who experience domestic violence, rape, and sexual harassment and is known as victim blaming. The Green River Victims Memorial will help dispel the myths about prostitution that make blaming the victim so prevalent, and provide a place for future generations to learn from our painful past.
What is Phase One for the Green River Victims Memorial?
Phase One is about coming together through participatory art to create dialogue about the memorializing process in order to heal from this tragedy. From January 2013 until January of 2014, OPS will organize art workshops 3 times a week for survivors of prostitution for the full year. Workshops will be led by local artists in Seattle and will include opportunities in multiple media for survivors to engage with art in the healing process. OPS will also invite families of victims to participate alongside survivors in this process of restoration and active memorializing.
Phase Two will be the completion of the memorial. In the first phase of this project we will NOT be constructing the physical public memorial.The form and location of the physical memorial is to be determined during phase 2. These decisions will grow from thePhase One workshops, gallery shows, and presentations to stakeholders in the community as we build support for the permanent memorial.. Phase One will produce a documentary video and an art book of images that will be included in the development plans for the permanent memorial. Physical copies of these will be available as perks for backers.
Why is it so important that we work with current survivors to do this memorial project?
OPS believes that giving voice to survivors must be the drive for this memorial project. Through these experiences and healing via creative arts, survivors take on the lead role, guiding us forward and establishing the foundation for the permanent memorial. Survivors have lived to tell their stories and we have a lot to learn from their strength and tenacity. These women have a lot to contribute to our community and we need to welcome their stories and expession.
How will my pledge dollars be used?
Phase One is a year long journey. Your pledges will be used to create a safe space where survivors can explore the themes of healing and memorializing, as well as a gallery space to bring the art to the public. These explorations will take place through drawing, painting, sculpture, dance, poetry, movement and other creative arts. Funds will also help build support among stakeholders (families of the victims, city officials, community groups, arts organizations, etc.) through community presentations and trainings for completion of the permanent memorial
What will the permanent memorial look like? Where will it be?
These questions will ultimately be answered in Phase Two of the GRVM Project. Phase One focuses on working with survivors to discover the themes, explore the issues, and facilitate the dialogue between survivors and the other stakeholders in the community that will essentially serve as the foundation for the permanent memorial.
What is this the story behind the $10,000 perk level? A dry-eraser...really?
In the late 1960s and 1970's, German artist and activist Joseph Beuys pushed the boundaries of what is considered an "artwork" with his ideas about expanding the concept of art. The issues of social and environmental justice figured prominently in his advocacy that "everyone is an artist" and that through "social sculpture", a better world is possible. Beuys created a series of what he called "Chalk Talks" where he gave presentations about social and environmental issues and later sold the chalkboards that he used (or in some cases the erasers) as works of art. Much of Beuys' work anticipated contemporary liberation arts methodologies and the art of social practice. In homage to Beuys, OPS will use just one dry-eraser for all workshops and presentations and present it to just one lucky person at the end of Phase One.