According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), there are on average 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States alone. This violence is seen across the board and especially by women and girls, transgender individuals, Native Americans, prisoners, and people serving in the military. It is known that sexual violence often has lasting impact on victims such as depression, drug abuse, and suicide. In response to society’s prevalent rape culture, three activists have come together to organize My Body: Not For Consumption, an art show and panel discussion that will explore “radical ways of discussing sex and the body to empower participants to take action and rethink ways in which they consume images of the body and sexual violence.” Community organizer Corinne Werder explains that she learned during her time doing anti-sexual violence work with RAINN that many people don’t see sexual assault directly impacting them unless they’re a victim or survivor themselves. She continues, “Even if they have a friend or family member who they know has experienced this violence, they seemed to throw their hands up and say ‘I feel horrible but there’s nothing I can do.’ And that’s not true. Rape is such a personal violation and I think because of that people are afraid to talk about it. They don’t want to believe that this could happen to someone they know because that means it could happen to them. And they definitely don’t want to believe that someone they know raped someone. Rapists are not always the lone wolf lurking in the shadows. They are people we know, sadly. 82% of the time the perpetrator is known to the victim/survivor, and it’s often a case of intimate partner violence.”
“Rapists are not always the lone wolf lurking in the shadows. They are people we know, sadly.” — Corinne Werder
Corinne asked Yunique A. Saafir to be the photographer for My Body this year because of the “way her work subverts how society receives images by giving power back to the subject with a positive and loving lens.” Last year, Corinne organized My Body as a Tumblr page, but in curating the event as fine art this year, the goal is to “strive to elevate bodies of trauma victims in a way that is not open to contestation. Having these images and conversations at Dixon Place allows for validation of experiences that are not told in the digital mainstream narrative of rape culture.” Yunique added that this exhibit is created in order to urge society to consume images of victims/survivors in a way that promotes support and affirmation of a multitude of experiences, outside of the dominate cultural norms.
My Body: Not For Consumption will take place on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 7:30pm at Dixon Place located at 161A Chrystie St, NYC.
Click here to learn more and purchase your ticket!
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Yunique A. Saafir is a Photographer in Brooklyn New York; via a diaspora journey from Kingston, Jamaica. Her work explores personal experiences with mental health and the idea that depression can illuminate the self and spark clarity. Through photography, she posits the idea that sedative feelings can bring healing and that vulnerability is sacred. She believes there’s power in that ambiguity and darkness, an unappreciated ability to run directly into the void, to become undone, and to rebuild again.
Corinne Werder is a writer, sex educator and community organizer residing in Brooklyn, NY. She looks at the world through the lens of an anti-capitalist, pleasure activist, femme-of-center queer woman. Corinne is a RAINN Speakers Bureau volunteer, sexual assault advocate at Bellevue Hospital and experienced editor. Corinne passionately believes the power of language and accessibility can break open most closed minds. She hosts weekly community action meetings and facilitates conversations around carrying an anti-capitalist framework in artistic work.
Karmenife Paulino is an artist, writer and stand-up comedian from Harlem, NYC. Karmenife is most known for her photo project entitled “Reclamation” where she reclaimed fraternities for survivors of sexual violence. Karmenife currently is working on a collection entitled “Put Him In His Place,” which combines her artwork with harassing messages she has received on online dating sites in an effort to reclaim space, power, and voice. Karmenife has also begun an illustrious career as a stand-up comedian whose work focuses on uplifting marginalized groups that are often targeted in the white, male, cis dominated comedy world.