Around the age of 8 years old my mom told me whenever we walked to our car we carried our keys in between our knuckles, so if ever attacked by a man I was to stab him in the eyes with the keys to get away.
At the age of 12 I experienced a man yelling an inappropriate phrase towards me while I walked through the mall with my friends. This was the first time this happened and was both confusing and scary for me.
When I was 17 and walking to my car in a Mcdonald’s parking lot a man yelled at me “You have a nice ass.” I quickened my pace as he stated that he would kill me if I did not respond. The exact words were “I’ll fucking kill you bitch!” I did not understand the concept of being a bitch for not wanting to be yelled at as I walked to my car.
Now as a woman, I have grown to realize it is a widely experienced phenomena for many men to yell or say inappropriate things to women as they walk down the street, through the mall, through a parking lot, at their jobs, or even just waiting to close their bar tab. As one can imagine it is exhausting. An added exhaustion is hearing about people experiencing sexual harassment or assault and the victim be blamed for “asking for it.” No woman is asking to be sexually harassed, raped, or if they should smile more. Women can wear whatever they want, drink as much as they want, and they are still not asking for it. Women owe nothing to men. This is a documented collection of images expressing the phrases yelled at myself and my friends, along with the outfits we were wearing when it happened, reiterating the fact that we are never asking for it. This collection was taken over the course of two months with instant film. The quotes added were taken down at the time of the incident and never altered. When I was younger I had a hard time remembering what the perpetrator would say because fear and adrenaline would kick in and would essentially black out. I created this body of work to encourage empowerment and strength among women in a subtle way to fight back. An estimated ninety-one percent of women have experienced a form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. It is important to me that we as a society put an end to street harassment and sexual assaults of any form. I intend to create conversation and awareness of this issue through photography as a medium.