“To the man who made me think that saying ‘no’ meant consequences. The man who made me grow up far too fast at 13- I am so much more than just your victim.”
My project ‘War on Women’ explores how we can challenge the stigma against cases of sexual assault through visual advocacy and how we can spread awareness through the truth.
The #MeToo campaign has brought incredible and harrowing clarity to the scale of sexual assault as well as providing a platform for all to share their experiences. The response to this campaign was widespread; however, this made me question how many of these cases had actually been reported compared to how many of these women were left to pick up the pieces of a crime that had gone unheard of.
I questioned why as women we are silenced. Michelle Obama’s words struck a chord with me; “all of us are doing what women have always done: Trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us. Maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his.” In this speech, Michelle discussed Trump, a powerful individual, boasting about having groped women during the election campaign. Trump’s degrading, lewd language used to describe his predatory behaviour as a powerful individual left me with a sour feeling in my stomach.
This project is about taking power and control back into the hands of victims and giving their voices another platform from which to be heard. A lot of my research has been based on interviews with victims of assault and harassment. Their stories, while difficult to hear- were incredibly powerful and I am so grateful that these women were comfortable enough to share such personal and distressing events.
A small number of hand stitched zines containing photography and quotes from these interviews will be available to buy for £4, with half of the proceeds going to Girls Against and the other half going to Rape Crisis Scotland. In making these, I hope to spread the word and let it be known that ‘enough is enough’. Our bodies are not a hotel room for your quick getaway. We will not be silenced.
You can follow Nicole on Instagram here and send her a message if you want to buy one of her Zines. Girls Against would like to thank Nicole for donating some of the proceeds to our campaign and we hope to put this money towards creating some new merchandise. We’d also like to thank Nicole for using her art and her voice to raise awareness of the issues of sexual harassment and assault!