NOBODY ASKED WHAT MY R*PIST WAS WEARING
Freya Morris creates a powerful series of photographs exploring rape culture and consent
By Amie Tyrer
'Nobody asked what my rapist was wearing' by Freya Morris
TW: Rape/ Sexual AbuseIn the case of rape, women have been and assumedly always will be accused of ‘asking for it’. If we are wearing a short skirt, lacy underwear, a slightly see through t-shirt, or have our bra straps on show, it is deemed as an invitation to invade and violate our bodies. In a culture that justifies unwanted, aggressive sexual advances by examining our clothing choices, it’s difficult not to feel threatened and concerned for your own safety as a woman, if the clothes on your back can be deemed as impetus for rape. This feeling of threat and concern, combined with an overriding sense of frustration, is what spurred University of Leeds graduate Freya Morris to create her striking photography series ‘Nobody asked what my rapist was wearing’. This week we were lucky enough to have a look at the photography series and speak to Freya about her motivations and intentions for the piece.
Hey Freya! Please can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Freya Morris. I have recently graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA(Hons) Film, Photography and Media degree, and am due to commence a Masters within the same field this coming September. I have a passion for researching issues around feminism and inequality which have been the basis for the majority of my work. I am from Croydon, but, I spent my childhood moving to different countries. My interest in feminism began during my time living abroad, as my eyes were opened to different forms of female oppression in other parts of the world. I aim to create projects that raise awareness for these issues and help dismantle social stigmas.
'20 minutes of action' by Freya Morris
'This is not consent' by Freya Morris
'Cup a feel' by Freya Morris
The photography series you have created is so striking and the message so clear - what was the inspiration behind the series?
The initial concept for this project was born out of the anger and disappointment I felt towards the rape case of the 17-year-old girl whose choice of underwear was used by the accused's defence to conclude that she must have given consent. Consequently, she was blamed for the rape on the basis that her thong meant she asked for it. Thankfully some good came from this case as it sparked the international #Thisisnotconsent movement. Additionally, the ignorance of consent in society, as well as my personal feminist views, led me to create a project that I feel is significant. On a day-to-day basis, women are oppressed due to their choice of clothing, drinking and their behaviour, limiting their freedom to choose. It is everyday experiences like this, as well as the rape cases such as The People vs Brock Turner, that have influenced me to create these photographs.
'Little Devil' by Freya Morris
'It was my clothes fault' by Freya Morris
'The Colour Red' by Freya Morris
What were your aims when creating this series and what do you want people to take away from looking at your images?
The intention behind of creating these photographs was to raise awareness of issues surrounding consent. There are obviously blurred boundaries in society as to what is perceived as sexual consent and what is not; the images bluntly outline these differences. These photographs are bold and shocking; they aim to confront the audience by questioning their acceptance of problematic consent and blame culture. This project aims to inspire its audience to reject current standards of consent and demand change from society.
'The Portal' by Freya Morris
'Asking for it' by Freya Morris
'Touched up' by Freya Morris
'Mist Memory Lane' by Freya Morris
Do you think it is possible to change the way society views rape and victim blaming through art/media?
I don’t necessarily think that art/media can completely alter the way society views victims of rape as these patriarchal ideologies are still firmly in place, however it is definitely a starting point. Photography gives a voice to creators in order to help expose these issues within our society, as it has done for me.
Sometimes people need to be shocked into seeing what is really in front of them; these issues surrounding sexual consent are so normalised that they are in some ways accepted. This is why art is so important because it can stun people into realising what is in fact unacceptable, as well as raise awareness for the problem at hand. I came across this brilliant quote during my research: “the language of photography can be a weapon to expose… it has provoked, inspired, and enlightened people” so although art can’t put a stop to the way society views women who have been raped, but it can definitely encourage others to take a stance, as photography is only the beginning.
'Either or ask before' by Freya Morris
'Grab n Go' by Freya Morris
'Eye can see you now' by Freya Morris
Share this article