Sexual assault survivors, friends, family, MOCSA volunteers and staff lined up for hours to receive meaningful tattoos during Sexual Assault Awareness Month from artists at Glory Bound Tattoo in Lee’s Summit, MO.
Glory Bound wanted to work with a local organization for this event. “This fundraiser was our attempt to do our part to make a difference in our community,” Evan Phillips, Glory Bound Tattoo Artist and Fundraiser Organizer, said.
“Like so many others, I’ve been personally affected by assault,” Phillips said. “So, this cause was close to home for me.”
“This was a therapeutic experience for a lot of people,” Sandra Williams, MOCSA Special Events Coordinator & Executive Assistant, said.
“Glory Bound is a big open room, so people were able to connect and share stories of why they were getting tattoos and what it meant to them.”
The conversations helped put the fundraiser into perspective for the artists at Glory Bound. “It was extremely touching to hear so many stories from MOCSA employees and from those who needed MOCSA’s services,” Phillips said. “It really drove in that we were actually doing something that could make a difference in people’s lives.”
Jillian Benneson receiving a tattoo.
More than 70 people received close to 100 tattoos in one day from five artists who each curated their own designs onto flash sheets.
Jillian Benneson, one of the 74 people who received a tattoo, said tattoos are a sense of power.
“I come from women who used MOCSA as a resource, so this event felt fitting,” she said. “My tattoo is a lighter. I feel that fire has always been a way I have kept myself grounded.”
Maddie Johnson said the fundraiser was a good way to process her sexual assault and tell her story, in her own terms, in a way that will forever mark her.
“As the designs for the flash event were released, I saw a butterfly as one of the options and knew that would be my tattoo,” Johnson said. “I saw an interview where Taylor Swift said the image of a butterfly symbolizes breaking away from darkness, which feels a good reflection of where I am at now in my storytelling.”
“Unexpectedly, getting the tattoo was not the only healing part of this event,” Johnson said. “I decided to go by myself, and I quickly realized how grateful I was to be in community with others who believed survivors. While I didn’t say much other than small talk with those around me, it was good for my spirit to rest for a few hours in a safe, brave space with others. I am thankful to both MOCSA and Glory Bound Tattoo for partnering to give me, and I imagine others, a space to start telling my story on my own terms.”
MOCSA staff were inspired by the passion and dedication from Glory Bound artists and those who waited for tattoos.
“It was an amazing and emotional experience to see the parking lot full, then walking up to the tattoo shop and seeing so many people in both waiting areas,” Brandy Williams, MOCSA Director of Education, said.
Brandy Williams, MOCSA Director of Education.
“I am confident that the people who showed up were driven by their support of MOCSA and their willingness to help us fulfill our mission to support survivors of sexual assault and prevent sexual violence in our communities,” Williams said.
Williams went on to say how donating 100% of the proceeds to a local non-profit is unheard of.
“I want to thank Glory Bound for their support!” she said.
“It was so humbling to see and meet so many people who came to support such a great cause,” Dani McBay, one of the tattoo artists said.
“I’m looking forward to next time!”