Attending this event?
To view sessions, please select the Grid view below or use the Session Title filter.

After registering for the conference, you can log in here to save sessions to your personalized itinerary, sign up for workshops and performances with limited capacity, edit your profile, and edit your session description. For help using Sched, please see support.

For full details about the conference, please visit hastac2023.org
Back To Schedule
Friday, June 9 • 11:45am - 12:05pm
Social Justice through Wearable Technology: A Critical Making Approach to Support Sexual Assault Survivors

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

This paper introduces a wearable garment designed to provide an alternative narrative to counter the flawed assumption that attire is responsible for rape, sexual assaults, or gender-based violence in Bangladesh. Building on Carl Disalvo’s conception of how design decisions contribute to the formation of publics and his notion of tracing as “…use of designerly forms to detail and communicate, and to make known, the network(s) of materials, actions, concepts, and values that shape and frame an issue over time” (Disalvo, 2009; p.55), the garment challenges the culture of blaming the victims of sexual assault. The wearable textile project features a poncho-style shawl made of traditional handwoven South Asian ‘khadi’ fabric which has been embellished with a programmable circuit and colorful LEDs. It uses Arduino Lilypad to regulate how the LEDs illuminate to highlight texts providing affective support to the victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence. Using Cricut iron on technology, the garment affixes texts and shapes indexing affective support towards the sexual assault survivors. The garment also uses a LilyPad Vibe Board programmed to accentuate the heartbeat of the wearer. As the source of the power of the circuit, the garment uses a 3.7-volt lithium-ion battery pack. Building on Kafai and Peppler’s notion of ‘e-textile’ (2014, p. 179), the paper argues that the garment functions as a healing mechanism for the victims so that they can overcome the shame and trauma caused by sexual violence. It also works as a technology for protesting against victim shaming and blaming that are rampant in various societies by challenging the prescribed behavior and moral policing resulting from the flawed assumption that dress is the root cause of rapes and other forms of sexual misconduct.

Works Cited
DiSalvo, Carl. “Design and the Construction of Publics.” Design Issues, vol. 25, no. 1, Winter 2009, pp. 48 –63.
Kafai, Yasmin B., and Kylie A. Peppler. “Transparency Reconsidered: Creative, Critical, and Connected Making with E-Textiles.” DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media, edited by Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, MIT Press, 2014, pp. 179-188.


Nusrat Zahan Chowdhury

The University of Texas at Dallas

Kasif Rahman

The University of Texas at Dallas, United States of America

Friday June 9, 2023 11:45am - 12:05pm EDT
PS 401 (Design Center)