I Didn't Ask For It
I Didn’t Ask For It is a project about the sexual harassment of women in public areas. The women I’ve worked with had experienced harassment in the area of Nottingham. I conducted an interview with them and asked them questions related to the experience as well as harassment of women in general. Important part of the project was criticising victim blaming. Therefore I asked the women to wear the same clothes they had worn on the day of the incident because I wanted to point out that the clothes or appearance of the women is irrelevant. The purpose is to present that experiencing harassment can happen anytime, anywhere and to anybody. I photographed them at the location where it had taken place.
I‘ve photographed and interviewed 9 brave women and myself. I decided to include my story in the project because I didn’t want to separate myself from the women and present their stories as though it is their issue. This is our issue. This is what we have in common. I’m doing this project because it personally bothers me.
The first incident I can recollect happened when I was 14. I was inappropriately touched by a strange man and despite feeling violated I somehow knew already that incidents like this are ‘normal’ part of women’s life and my expected reaction is to brush it off because it would likely happen again. So it did. Harassment I experienced later in my life ranged from catcalling and sex offers to groping. Some experiences would be worse than others, yet they resulted with the same outcome; I would quietly accept them and never discuss them with anyone.
The last time I was ‘just’ catcalled something clicked and I realised on a conscious level that behaviour like this is inherently wrong and something should be done about it. After many years of being a silent victim I decided contribute toward raising awareness about this problem in our society. Any form of harassment on any level is harmful, and by ignoring or not giving enough weight to these issues we just contribute to the cultivation of gender stereotypes and toxic attitudes toward women. My last incident was the moment I decided to do this project.
The primary outcome of the project is an e-book.
Available here: I Didn't Ask For It - ebook