You might have seen the striking imagery from the This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me campaign before. This image in particular has stayed with me ever since I first saw it some years back.
The campaign, started in early ’90s, struck out against the “she asked for it” mentality. With a series of television commercials and stark black and white images with the campaign slogan on them, This Is Not An Invitation To Rape Me dispelled misconceptions of women “provoking” acts of sexual assault and confronted rape within family relationships.
When one of the campaign founders, Charles Hall, approached me about being part of an photography exhibit dedicated to this powerful message I was thrilled and honored. Four of my photos along with many others, including my good friend Lou O’Bedlam a.k.a Lou Noble, will be on display this coming Thursday. Please visit the official show website here.
Fox Art Gallery is located at:
Lower level of Logan Hall on the Penn campus at
249 South 36th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104
P.S. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charles in a two-hour Skype meeting to discuss the campaign and my photo selection for the show. Ever since I first saw the campaign images, I was aware of the absence of male and transgendered victims, as well as same-sex rape situations. Noticeably, all of my images chosen for the show were of women, too. So, since this Skype meeting was my “chance”, I brought it up because I felt it was the campaign’s responsibility to give these scenarios exposure.
The This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me FAQ states that they set out to tackle the most common stereotype, but I thought that without addressing the full scope of the issue they were reinforcing a few stereotypes themselves. Of course it turned out I wasn’t the only one to ever mention this, and, fortunately, Charles was open to talking about it. As a result, some of the featured photographers were asked to submit work addressing a wider scope of subjects – I’ll post mine here after the reception. I sincerely hope that this important campaign will expand its range in the coming years.