Secret telling begins early on in life. Frequently, at a middle school sleepover party when surrounded by friends, pizza and soda, the urge to tell becomes overwhelming.
But sometimes, you don’t need to worry about your secrets slipping out.
UC Davis’ second PostSecret event was the perfect opportunity to experience the catharsis of disclosing a secret without the fear of being judged or having it shared with an unwanted audience.
The idea behind PostSecret as an art project is that people submit their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. PostSecret began in Washington, D.C. in 2004, and has since evolved into a website and even a few books.
The UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program and Students Against Sexual Violence coordinated its own PostSecret in order to encourage people to speak out about sexual violence. The secrets were displayed on a wall in Griffin Lounge last week.
Ayn Reyes, the president of Students Against Sexual Violence and a student assistant at CVPP, was in charge of the event. She said that the students working on the project took the idea from the website postsecret.com after brainstorming different ideas for how to get people talking about their secrets.
During the past week, Griffin Lounge in the MU hosted an array of magazine clippings, sketches and stickers. Secrets ranged from those who professed that they had been sexually assaulted, to being HIV positive, to only attending his or her discussion section because of an attractive TA.
Some secrets even seem to challenge common assumptions. One secret reads, “I escort women into the clinic to keep them safe, even though the thought of an abortion makes me want to cry.”
Alissa Kolom, a sophomorepolitical science major, was one of many to walk through the PostSecret display. Kolom said she knew about the original PostSecret, as well as the website and books by Frank Warren, but she stumbled across the Davis PostSecret unintentionally.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Kolom said. “It’s like a public journal. I can imagine how it would be a release to write a secret down and to see the others. No one comes here to be angry, and sometimes you see one that you can relate to and it makes you feel better.”
Reyes said that during the course of the project they received about 30 secrets, and supplemented those with about 20 others from a similar event that took place in the fall.
“PostSecret has been a success,” Reyes said. “I’d like to thank everyone who submitted secrets, and for all of the public support, because the event would not have been possible without you. I think it will now become a recurring event on campus.”
The PostSecret project is one of numerous other events that have taken place as part ofsexual assault awareness month. The CVPP, the UC Davis Police Department and many other campus groups and organizations have been collaborating to bring other events to campus.
Reyes said that an upcoming event is “Women Take Back the Night,” which will take place May 6 at 6:10 p.m. The event will be held on the Quad and will include music, food, secret-sharing and speakers who have survived sexual assault.
DARCEY LEWIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.