Ask A Feminist

“Still not asking for it” photo-series takes a stand against rape culture

Posted by
Harriet Hall
Published

An Australian photographer has created a photo series entitled Still Not Asking For It, which takes a bold and impactful stand against sexual abuse and rape culture.

Rory Banwell started the series after a 2013 survey revealed that 8 out of 10 sexual assault victims in Australia don’t report their assault to the police.

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Her bold black and white images show men and women, standing naked wearing only simple, black underwear, the women, nipples covered by crosses of black tape and skin emblazoned with powerful statements such as “Only I choose what’s sexual,” “marriage is not consent” and “alcohol is not an excuse.”

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Banwell says that she was inspired to create the photo-series after she found out she was going to have a daughter.

“Someone actually said it was time to buy a gun,” she tells i100.

“We were so disappointed that people's initial reactions were that we would need to protect her, purely because of her gender.”

“I was so taken aback by this sentiment that I decided I needed to do something,” she says.

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Banwell’s series was inspired by a photograph of a woman on the 2012 Chicago Slutwalk, who was topless with the words “Still not asking for it” written in black marker across her stomach.

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The photographer hopes that her photographs will project the message that it is never the woman’s fault when she is raped or abused.

“I don't want my child growing up in a society that accepts sexual violence, accepts the statistics and won't do anything about it,” she tells Mashable Australia.

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The series was published on Facebook in November last year, and Banwell is planning to continue the project this year with a more diverse range of subjects, telling Mashable:

“I would really like to include messages about people of colour and how they are more likely to be victims of domestic violence… and [how] ideas about masculinity are detrimental to male victims of sexual assault… [and] messages about transgender, non-binary and non-cis-gendered people and how much more likely they are to be victims of sexual assault.”

In the UK, 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence in their lives, and 85% of victims do not report their abuse to the police. 

If you need any help or support, reach out to Rape Crisis England.