Well, What Were You Wearing?

As a photographer, I realize I have the potential to get people talking about uncomfortable topics by creating images to start conversations. For this project, I decided to combine photography with my interest in public health. As a young woman, I hear about sexual assault all the time, whether it is on the news, on social media, or firsthand accounts from people. By definition, sexual assault is any type of forced sexual contact or behavior that occurs without consent.

The main question for victims is usually what they were wearing at the time of the attack. This really bothers me because sexual assault is an act of control and power and has nothing to do with a person’s clothing. However, victims are often blamed for their assaults, with the misconception that they “provoke” their attackers by wearing revealing outfits. I decided to document what victims wore at the time they were assaulted to show that there is no type of clothing that causes assaults to occur. There is no size. There is no body type. In America, a person is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds, with these attacks having both short- and long-term effects, such as PTSD. Sexual assault never occurs because of what a person is wearing; the only reason sexual assault occurs is because a person assaults someone else.