Podcast – Episode 1

The podcast is finally finished! It has been a lot of blood, sweat and many, many tears but I am so excited to share it with you all.

Please share this post, help me get it out there. These stories need to be told. These voices need to be heard.

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with me and to Tullia Connor for helping me make this project a reality.

Music courtesy of bensound.com

A message from a participant

I just did the single most empowering thing for myself since I was raped in my own bed almost two years ago by someone I trusted. I took part in a photo shoot by ‘Rory Banwell Photography’ called “Still Not Asking For It.” I posed semi nude – I was asked to wear black tape (provided) over my nipples and a black pair of underwear on – on a white back drop for a short 15min portrait session.

As soon as I arrived, thanks to Rory and her team, I felt comfortable, I felt safe, and I felt really chilled out. I didn’t even notice how naked I was because, for once in my life, nothing about this moment was about how my female body was about pleasing anybody else. I could just be. I consented to this, I know my photos will be on the Internet, and I feel enthusiastic about that. I didn’t have to look sexy. I didn’t have to pull any pouty faces. I didn’t have to be skinny, nor pose to look skinnier, nor did I feel like it. I didn’t have to be a white person. I didn’t have to be able bodied (though I am). Patriarchal beauty standards do not exist in Rory’s space. I just had to stand there exactly as I am right now, if I wanted to.

It was a wonderful thing to experience being surrounded by beautiful women, coming and going, standing relaxed with beautiful messages. No one was judged or objectified. I was complimented but I did not feel awkwardly “looked at”. We all held each other in mutual respect and chatted about stuff we felt like chatting about. I feel empowered from merely being in that environment. I felt safe, welcomed, happy, and respected in Rory’s space. I wish the whole world treated women the way Rory and her team treated me today. I didn’t have to do or say anything I didn’t want to. If I had wanted to pull out of being photographed at the last minute, I would have felt completely ok with expressing that. I found I didn’t even care about my body image issues. Being in Rory’s studio was a special moment for me; I felt like I was glimpsing into a world where consent really mattered and I saw what that would look like. It’s actually really beautiful.

Two main things I’m taking away from this today is: 1. How blissful it was to be respected and my enthusiastic, informed consent genuinely cared about. 2. I feel that one thing I can do to fight the patriarchy’s bullshit beauty standards for myself as a woman, is to simply be comfortable with my own raw naked body. In the end, it’s just a picture of me as I am now. And being unapologetically ok with that is a powerful thing.

I believe in Rory’s project and the greater message it delivers to the public. It’s an important message that needs to be heard. If you’re even a little bit interested in taking part, I recommend it. It’s hard; having a body in public space where we live in a culture that’s enthusiastic about shaming our bodies, blaming our victims, and also about profiting from our insecurities. I respect that it’s hard. But, if you’re a person of colour, of any colour, of any age, of disability, of any gender identity, of any class, a survivor, an ally who (above all) wants to do this – I feel that your participation would be valuable.

 

Sydney SNAFI shoot

Today I shot in Sydney for SNAFI and I can’t wait to release all of these photos! A really good collection and Sean from the wonderful Paste studios filmed a little video for me to show what a SNAFI shoot is like. Really looking forward to seeing how it turned out.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along, it was great to meet you all and hear your stories. Thanks for giving up your Saturday’s to be a part of it. 

  

I stand with Kesha

It is often hard to articulate why it takes so long for victims of sexual violence to come forward. So often women are questioned as to why they didn’t leave a domestic violence situation as soon as the abuse began. Survivors of child sexual assault are questioned over the legitimacy of their claims when they only come forward after many others have, or when some kind of class action is occurring. Women who claim that wealthy men, or men in positions of power, have abused them are often labelled as gold diggers or it is insinuated that there is some kind of ulterior motive, other than justice, for speaking out. It is so hard to be taken seriously when talking about sexual assault, and therein lies the flaw in our society. The character of the victim is often what is being disputed, rather than discussion around the actual allegations. This week, Kesha has unknowingly become the personification of the deep-seated problems in our dialogue about sexual violence.

An American court denied Kesha’s injunction that would have allowed her to break her contract with Sony and Kemosabe. In 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr Luke claiming that he had sexually abused her from the age of 18 (claims that included him drugging and raping her) and had driven her to an eating disorder via emotional abuse (for which she stayed 60 days in rehabilitation in 2014). Dr Luke quickly counter-sued stating that Kesha was trying to “extort” him. These lawsuits went back and forth until late 2015, when Kesha filed this injunction to free her from her contact with Sony and Kemosabe and would allow her to make music without collaborating with her alleged abuser.

Which seems like a fair enough request right? The prospect of being forced to make SIX more albums with someone who took advantage of you at such a young and vulnerable age would be overwhelming for anyone, especially someone recovering from an eating disorder triggered by emotional abuse from the very man you are being expected to work with! But, the good old American court system has put commercial interests before a human being. The judge deemed that there is literally a price on personal safety, and that is $60 million. Sony have spent the last ten years “investing” in Kesha and Dr Luke and they want both parties to “succeed”, but that comes at a cost and that cost is Kesha’s body autonomy and security.

It seems as though the court has lost the ability to distinguish between a corporation and human being as both parties are being treated as equals, rather than human rights being placed at the forefront of any decision. Sony now has a mandate by which to guide Kesha’s relationship with her alleged abuser and legally force her to collaborate because the court has told Sony and Kesha, that Sony know what is right for Kesha, more than she does. Despite her saying that she categorically cannot work with him because she does not feel safe; a commercial contract must be protected more than her. Her human right to not be sexually abused is less than important.

And while we’re talking about legal responsibilities, does it not seem extremely odd that no one is talking about Dr Luke’s legal responsibility to NOT RAPE anyone? You may say that these are just allegations, but does it really make sense that Kesha would put herself through this public rigmarole if there were no truth. False rape allegations make up less than 5% of all reported assaults, and only 1 in 6 sexual assaults ARE reported. Someone in her position, who has a lot to lose, would not put themselves through this public legal battle if these allegations were not true. You need only to look at the devastating photo of her crying in court to see how distressing this outcome is for her.

Back to my original point; Kesha is a wealthy white woman with access to many legal resources and support and even she is not taken seriously enough to have a CONTRACT voided. She is probably in one of the strongest positions to have her story heard. She has privilege that most people cannot even dream of, yet she is still not taken seriously. She is told that her personal safety is not important. She is told that she said vs he said is not enough for courts to even break a contract so HOW THE FUCK could she possibly contemplate pressing criminal charges? How can any of us? If it is your word vs someone else’s, then that is not enough. Even if you do have the legal resources to attempt a civil action, just so you don’t have to work closely with the person for the next 6-10 years, then that is not enough. Even if you do have the strength to speak up and come forward, then that is not enough.

We have a problem in our society and for those of us that are not white cis-males, we are the ones who suffer because of it. We are the ones who will continue to be trampled on and told that we do not matter, unless we do something about it I stand with Kesha because if we allow this to be ok and we don’t fight with Kesha, then it will only get harder for other victims to come forward. It will only make it more difficult for our children tell us if, god forbid, something like this happens to them.

I stand with Kesha because we are worth more than commercial contracts.

Still Not Asking For It II

Well here they are, the new photos in the SNAFI series. So stoked to release them and can’t wait to see what I get in Sydney in a couple of weeks. Watch this space!

new photos

Today’s shoot.

Today I shot for SNAFI for the first time in almost two years. It felt wonderful to have so many supportive participants from my home town. I am now sorting today’s photos and getting ready to release part 2 hopefully early next week.

A journalist from the ABC was filming today’s shoot for a small, 3 minute documentary she is making for ABC News 24. I am so grateful to everyone who was happy to be filmed or interviewed for it today. Thank you for showing your vulnerability to the world in more than one way.

Can’t wait to shoot again tomorrow. I have at least another 15 people coming so it will be a busy morning.

Thank you again for all of your support. Can’t wait to share the new pics with you all!

WELCOME!

Welcome to Still Not Asking For It!

This website will be a place to share all things about the SNAFI project and issues relating.

I am hoping that this will become a place of learning and knowledge.

Thanks for checking out the website and I am looking forward to sharing with you.