Archive for Sunday, September 11, 2016

Photography exhibit aims to spark dialogue on sexual assault

September 11, 2016

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At the University of Kansas, as at many college campuses across the country, it’s more common than not to see female students carrying a small container of Mace or clenching keys between their fingers, just in case of an attack, when walking by themselves at night.

As director of KU’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, Jen Brockman is all too familiar with this phenomenon. The measures taken by women to protect against sexual assault — and the ways in which contemporary society normalizes these actions, Brockman notes, often placing the blame on victims instead of perpetrators — are the subject of “Guarded,” a traveling photography exhibition slated to make its KU debut Sunday at the Kansas Union Gallery, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd.

The installation features black-and-white photographs, each depicting a different woman and the items she carries (pepper spray, whistles, stun guns and the like) to protect herself.

“What this fantastic exhibit does is really, it’s a narrow lens of focus on what we view as ‘normal’ steps that female students instinctually take to increase their feelings of safety,” said Brockman, who first met photographer Taylor Yocom at the University of Iowa, where Brockman previously served as executive director of the university’s Rape Victim Advocacy program.

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The threat of sexual violence is pervasive on college campuses, where statistically one in five women are victims of sexual assault during their academic careers, according to a survey published last year by the Association of American Universities.

“Guarded,” which originated as Yocom’s senior project while still a photography student at the University of Iowa in spring 2015, has since been featured in USA Today, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post, among other outlets.

Many women, Brockman expects, will see themselves in the photographs come Sunday evening. During the exhibit’s opening reception, slated for 6 to 9 p.m., visitors will have the chance to pose for Yocom’s camera, contributing to the project. KU is the first venue on the exhibition’s tour to host a live studio, Brockman said.

And while female viewers may recognize the experience portrayed in the images as “universal,” at least for women and female-identifying individuals, their male counterparts might be surprised by what they see. But that’s OK, Brockman said. The idea here is to facilitate awareness.

Brockman hopes, ultimately, that someday the “Guarded” series will serve as historical documentation of how our culture once viewed sexual assault.

“It’s really in the hope of striking up that dialogue, whether it’s with female-identifying students or male-identifying students,” she said, of “What are we willing to accept?”

“Guarded” will remain on display in the Kansas Union Gallery through Sept. 24.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Like it or not major self defense instruction for freshman women should be mandatory the first two semesters. At no cost to the students. This type of instruction can also give a boost to self esteem. Alcohol and other date rape drugs could be discussed in these classes.

Like it or not men and women should be encouraged 24/7 to consume very little alcohol because women will not always know their male counterparts all that well. Intoxication is often used as a defense mechanism for male predators. Why is that?

Law enforcement is male dominated which might be a problem for the female dominated victims of sexual assault?

Alcohol and other date rape drugs often play a role in sexual assaults? What is being done about this aspect? Is there a war on date rape drugs yet? Should frat houses and their men receive preferential exclusion from drug busts and prosecution?

What do men get out of having sex with passed out or unconscious women? These women could not possibly consent to having sex? Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

Shouldn't men be educated about leaving drunk and/or unconscious women alone?

Blaming rape on how a woman is dressed is lame lame lame. Come on men get a grip on yourselves.

Having sex can be a natural event which has been documented for some time now but must be consensual on both sides preferably while sober or at least nowhere near drunk.

Again I say it is time for the campus to mandate major self defense instruction for freshman women the first two semesters. At no cost to the students. Boosting self esteem and confidence should be part of the college experience. I would think parents would cheer this on.

Michael Dennis 1 year, 1 month ago

How about appropriate punishment of rapists? Watch "The Hunting Ground."

Nathan Anderson 1 year, 1 month ago

The one in five women stat is misleading. The AAU study, like most studies taht come to this conclusion, lumps in an unwanted kiss and dance floor grinding with rape. It also had a very low response rate of less than 20% and the authors cautioned that their conclusion shouldn't be extrapolated to the entire US college population.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/09/aau_campus_sexual_assault_survey_why_such_surveys_don_t_paint_an_accurate.html

The new KU SAPEC is just another place on campus to disseminate 3rd wave feminist propaganda, a place where women can marinate in victimhood culture and man hating. Just look at their twitter feed. This exhibit is another example.

Is this an Onion article? https://twitter.com/KU_SAPEC/status/7...

How are these tweets helpful in sexual assault prevention and education: https://twitter.com/KU_SAPEC/status/7... https://twitter.com/KU_SAPEC/status/7...

Retweeting about black girls in animation, equal pay, decoupling money and masculinity, and feminist intersectionality prevents sexual assault how? https://twitter.com/feministcampus/st... https://twitter.com/HeforShe/status/7... https://twitter.com/SGD_KU/status/768... https://twitter.com/salamishah/status...

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