Project Shamed hashtag written on the sidewalk in chalk.
Culture Performance Social good/activism

Project Shamed

Project Shamed is an online and social art performance that aims to bring awareness about the overhead statements that prevent survivors of sexual violence from coming forward, especially within Black and Latinx communities.


Alexsa Tolentino


Despina Papadopoulos


According to RAINN, someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. I am also aware of how common it is due to the amount of people I personally know who have been survivors of sexual violence. However, despite the common occurrence, sexual violence has continued to be seen as a taboo subject. For my thesis, I was curious to research why that was. As I reflected on all the stories I heard throughout my years of growing up in Brooklyn, I recalled the attitudes that were held against the young girls who were clearly victims of sexual violence in my neighborhood. Victims were questioned on not only what they were wearing or "Why were you out so late?", but also questioned due to preconditioned beliefs held within the community. These statements were so casually dropped into conversations throughout our lives, that we were more than likely to have already believed these stereotypes before such unfortunate event could occur. Therefore, I decided to collect these victim-blaming statements by creating a website where users can submit their own quote. Then, I would take those quotes and display them around multicultural communities in order to spread awareness.

Project Shamed hashtag written on the sidewalk in chalk.


Within the Black and Latinx communities, there are many reasons no one talks about sexual violence. For starters, there is a confusion as to what is considered abuse and what isn’t. Although many are warned about the potential dangers of strangers, studies show that most abuse happens by someone the victim knows. In Patricia A. Washington’s research study “Disclosure Patterns of Black Female Sexual Assault Survivors,” several black survivors spoke about the inadequate and incomplete education they received about abuse. There is also research from Devonae Robinson’s article “Ethnic Differences in the Experiences of Sexual Assault Victims” which mentions that Black and Latinx communities are 30% more likely to experience victim-blaming attitudes from families, communities, and even law enforcement agencies. Yet again, I knew this based on my experiences growing up within a Black and Latinx community, and living in a traditional Dominican household. I have seen first hand the way inadequate education can create the inability of identifying sexual abuse for what it is. I decided I had to find a way to collect these absurd victim blaming statements and use them as a way to raise awareness and educate not only the young adults, but also the seniors around the neighborhood who may not be as tech saavy.

Technical Details

I first designed the mobile wireframes on Figma. Followed by using HTML, CSS, and Javascript to build the website. After designing the stickers on Adobe Illustrator, I proceeded to place the stickers in areas my target audience would most likely be. I created an instagram account and promoted the website using Instagram Ads, and customized my audience reach based on Google Trends. After receiving quotes, I narrowed down the submissions, and rear projected from ITP 4th floor at 370 Jay ST using two projectors. Although successful, I wanted to make it even more drastic. Therefore, I chose to use chalk as a performance piece during the Downtown Brooklyn's Willoughby Walks Event, which allowed the community to pause and read them as they walked. Some people even joined in and added their own overheard statements regarding sexual violence.

Young girl kneeling down writing a quote on the sidewalk using chalk.a street full of quotes written in chalk while people walk by it.