An online Facebook confessional. Steubenville rape trial. Excessive media attention. Victim blaming. It doesn’t matter which screen we turn on, we can’t escape the negative stigma surrounding victims of sexual assault—even in our precious college bubble. Especially in our precious college bubble. Here is an example found on the Emerson Confessional page: “So many men’s lives are absolutely ruined by the stain of 'rapist' because they have had sex with a girl who they assume is consenting.” Needless to say, a 60-comment debate filled with threats, angry replies, and more disheartening, victim blaming statements followed.

In light of all of the negative media attention rape has received in the past few months (on Emerson Campus and on national news), I wanted to provide something provocative and empowering. There is an incredibly—and in my opinion unjustified—amount of victim blaming surrounding sexual assault. I wanted to something that would make women feel empowered, sexy, and unencumbered by hideous societal judgment on clothing.

Here’s the thing: a woman is never asking to be raped. People are projecting the opposite if they comment on the victim’s alcohol level and style of clothing. Rape is always the rapist’s fault. End of story. I don’t care if a woman if walking down the street with nothing on but a smile, she is not asking to be assaulted, abused, and humiliated.

“My Little Black Dress Does Not Mean Yes” is a slogan floating around the Internet that spoke to me. I had several hopes for a photo campaign surrounding this slogan—and the idea that a woman or man is never asking for it. I had hoped that it would allow for participants to not only feel attractive, but to feel freed from societal stigmas that have surface in the media. I had hoped that these pictures would be seen by victims who may feel wrongly at fault and take a second look at why they feel that way. I had hoped to have at least a miniscule impact on opinions and to provide an opportunity for women of Emerson to feel freely fierce.

 


01/31/2015 12:47am

Needless to say, a 60-comment debate filled with threats, angry replies, and more disheartening, victim blaming statements followed.

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