Socialist Party
| Print

10 January 2018

Photography: No Fear

Art can help expose sexual harassment

Mary Finch, East London Socialist Party

"No one stopped to help me when I walked through the barriers at Leeds train station and a drunk man grabbed and pulled my hair. No one helped me as he then proceeded to shout 'slag' and 'bitch' at me across the station when I managed to free myself."

Every woman has a story like this. Amy Cousens, a friend and fellow Socialist Party member, told me this one. I've been trying to capture those experiences - of the endemic, systematic sexual harassment and assault of women - in a photography project titled No Fear.

Emilie Autumn, a musician poet, and author, writes in her book 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls' that in the US a woman is raped approximately every two minutes. A pedestrian is hit by a car in the US every eight minutes.

Theoretically, then, Emilie argues that a woman is safer walking in the middle of the road at night than on the pavement, because you're more likely to be harassed or assaulted than run over.

So I've been photographing women and non-binary people in the middle of the road at night to give expression to their anger, grief, fear and defiance. Everything that capitalist society ignores, and often actively tries to repress.

Not believed

Overwhelmingly, those who come forward with allegations of sexual harassment or assault are not believed - the result being that most don't come forward at all. But women are breaking the silence, and art has been an essential part of this process.

Jen Brockman displayed 18 outfits in an art installation at the University of Kansas, each a representation of what a survivor had been wearing when they were sexually assaulted. Lying among jeans and shirts, dresses, and pyjamas, is a child's red dress.

Noa Jansma, a 20-year-old student from the Netherlands, spent a month taking selfies with her street harassers and sharing them on Instagram.

One of the most disturbing things about the project is the reactions of the men. None of them refused a photo, which Jansma correctly concluded "shows that these men honestly do not realise they're wrong, they think it's the most normal thing in the world."

I started my project for two reasons. First, I believe that regardless of whether it is political or not, art is one of the most valuable products of humanity. I am a photographer because I want to capture and communicate the beauty and complexity of human consciousness.

Second, I am committed, absolutely, to fighting for women's liberation and for a socialist world. Women's oppression is inherent in capitalism, so full liberation means fighting for socialism.

Art has an important place in that process. But political art - projects like Jansma's, Brockman's, and my own - cannot create the change it seeks without looking outwards, towards workers and struggle.

The capitalists might own the system, but workers run it - and we have the power to overthrow it.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26678




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle22 Feb Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangle21 Feb Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity...

triangle21 Feb Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangle21 Feb How can young people and students fight the Tories?

triangle21 Feb Northern Ireland talks process paralysed

triangle21 Feb Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

triangle20 Feb After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle22 Feb Southampton Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party in 2018

triangle22 Feb Lambeth Socialist Party: Role of a Marxist in the workplace

triangle22 Feb Cardiff East Socialist Party: Carillion scandal - Bring all outsourcing back in-house!

triangle22 Feb Swansea Socialist Party: Why we're lobbying the council for a no-cuts budget

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999