By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The nation’s first permanent memorial to survivors of sexual violence will be built in Minneapolis. The city’s park and recreation board approved a location at Boom Island Park.

For sexual assault survivor Sarah Super, the space is personal. She’s working to make the memorial a reality.

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“When I started this project, I had been raped six weeks earlier by an ex-boyfriend,” Super said.

After publicly speaking about her attack in 2015, she heard from survivors across the country and felt compelled to act.

“What could we do creatively, proactively to show our support even when perpetrators walk free, even when people are ready to invalidate, blame and shame?” Super said.

It turned into a memorial for survivors, a permanent place to not only recognize the experience but offer healing.

“The design of the memorial is a circle of benches with three panels of mosaic and we have two metaphors depicted in the design. The first is the use of mosaic as a statement that shattered pieces can be made whole and the second being the ripple effect. That message that by telling our stories we unconsciously give others the permission to tell theirs,” Super explained.

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“It’s a good step,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Londel French.

The board voted unanimously to approve the project at Boom Island Park last year.

“To be able to advocate and do that means a lot to me a lot of healing that needs to go on in this place in this country. I think we’re going to do something good here,” French said.

Each step of the journey brings Super closer to making the survivors memorial here a reality.

“We felt like it provided some open space that there’s a sense of safety and predictability for people who have survived something traumatic,” Super said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for next spring, but first they need to meet the fundraising goals by the end of the year.

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Super has raised 60 percent of the $640,000 needed. To help and learn more about the project, visit the survivors memorial website.

Jennifer Mayerle