Maybe instead of ridiculous cat videos or hilarious sound bites from the “famous” people we deem worth our time on the World Wide Web, maybe this should break the internet today.
The title caught me off guard as I was scrolling through my news feed between meetings. I thought to myself, “Okay, another artistic way to discuss rape culture and how women are…” Hold the phone. Guys? Dudes?
The article that stopped me in my tracks, originally posted in 2013, highlights through striking photography the far reaching arm of rape culture, affecting women—and men.
I was uncomfortable as I noticed the subject of the first image, after reading the hand written note scribbled on a whiteboard. And as I realized how quickly I jumped to a gender-biased assumption relating to the difficult topic, things only got worse. The photos are heavy, at a minimum—that is difficult to argue.
But to see men sharing their stories of rape puts a completely different spin on the already touchy subject, and rightfully so. We don’t talk about it. We don’t share. We certainly don’t raise as much awareness as we could. One in three women and one in five men is affected by sexual assault.
Maybe it’s time for a change in our typically one-sided focus of the issue.
The photographic ensemble, Project Unbreakable, created by Grace Brown serves the purpose that art is meant to serve—engage the viewer in such a way that may cause a level of discomfort, confusion and ultimately a connection with either the subject or the artist.
Mission sadly accomplished.
We don’t speak of it as much as we could or as much as the victims, these brave men and women, need us to. We don’t listen when the terrifying encounters are recalled—or in most instances, they aren’t shared to begin with. It is a disgusting yet pressing truth in every society, and we owe it to ourselves to pay as much attention to the issue of sexual assault on men as we do for women—no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
From the artist:
“The mission of Project Unbreakable is to increase awareness of the issues surrounding sexual assault and encourage the act of healing through art. Since the project’s conception in October 2011 by then 19 year old Grace Brown, it has featured over 3,000 images of sexual assault survivors holding posters with quotes from their attackers.”
All of the photos can be viewed on the Brown’s Tumblr site, along with guidance as to what we can do and how we can lift this dark, heavy veil. These stories deserve our attention—take five minutes to be aware of all that surrounds us, and let’s leave the cat videos for another day.
For more information on Grace’s Project Unbreakable, check out her short video below.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photos: Grace Brown, Tumblr