WOMEN
09/07/2016 03:28 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2016

9 Images Capture The Raw Violation Of Sexual Assault

The photo series was inspired by Brock Turner’s early release from jail.
“This topic is hard to discuss, which is why it needs to be discussed,” photographer Yana Mazurkevich said. 
Yana Mazurkevich
“This topic is hard to discuss, which is why it needs to be discussed,” photographer Yana Mazurkevich said. 

Warning: This article contains photos depicting sexual assault and rape that some readers may find triggering. 

A recent photo series is taking a raw and honest look at the devastating costs of rape and sexual assault. 

The series titled “It Happens” was created by photographer Yana Mazurkevich in collaboration with the sexual assault awareness media platform Current Solutions. The images are a powerful ― borderline-graphic ― look at just how ubiquitous sexual assault has become in our society.

Mazurkevich created the project in response to former Stanford student Brock Turner’s early release from jail last week. The 21-year-old served just three months of his six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in 2015. 

The main photo in the series, featured above, is supposed to depict Brock Turner’s victim after she was assaulted by him. The caption Mazurkevich included beneath the photo is from the Stanford sexual assault survivor’s victim impact statement that went viral in June. “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today,” the caption reads. (Read her full letter here.) 

This is Mazurkevich’s second series in response to the Brock Turner case. The first one, “Dear Brock Turner,” focused on the victim-blaming so many sexual assault and rape survivors experience. 

“It Happens” features nine images, each paired with a real survivor’s story. According to Current Solutions, survivors submitted their stories anonymously to the media platform. The people pictured in each photo are models, not the survivors themselves, and not all of the anecdotes are directly depicted in the corresponding images. 

“He made me feel guilty if I didn’t do what he wanted. I remember on prom night, I was exhausted and just wanted
Yana Mazurkevich
“He made me feel guilty if I didn’t do what he wanted. I remember on prom night, I was exhausted and just wanted to go home, but he insisted we mess around because that was the whole point of prom night, and that's what we were supposed to do. I still wonder if he knew just how manipulative he was.”

Mazurkevich told HuffPost she created such a raw depiction of assault “because this is the reality.”

“This topic is hard to discuss, which is why it needs to be discussed,” she said. 

Every 2 minutes a person is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to RAINN. One in 6 American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and 1 in 10 rape victims are male. The statistics for sexual assault are even more glaring for transgender people, with 50 percent of transgender people experiencing sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes. 

“I just want a conversation,” Mazurkevich said in reference to why she created the series. “I want people to see that these things happen, and that without a dialogue and awareness, people here and all over the world won’t be obligated to finally take a stand.”

Warning: The below images depict sexual assault and rape that some readers may find triggering. 

  • "It happens at any time."
    “I was tattooed by a guy and while he was tattooing me, he kept inserting his fingers up my vagina. He said he had to k
    “I was tattooed by a guy and while he was tattooing me, he kept inserting his fingers up my vagina. He said he had to keep his hand there to keep the skin taut for tattooing. The most ironic part is that the tattoo is the symbol for female; I wanted the tattoo as a sign of feminism and got sexually assaulted in the process.”
  • "It happens unwillingly."
    “I can't remember details or the order of things, but she was very, very aggressive. She left bruises all over me and I
    “I can't remember details or the order of things, but she was very, very aggressive. She left bruises all over me and I was bleeding the next morning. She held me down and forced a lot. I didn't say no clearly, but I definitely didn't agree to the aggressive actions she took. Lack of consent is not the presence of a no, it's also the absence of a yes.”
  • "It happens anywhere."
    “I lost my virginity at a party when I was in middle school. He gave me a drink and I can’t really remember what
    “I lost my virginity at a party when I was in middle school. He gave me a drink and I can’t really remember what happened after that. Just bits and pieces for the most part... but I couldn’t say no or push him off while he made me have sex with him. I woke up next to him and I was really sore but i couldn’t tell anyone what happened.”
  • "It happens suddenly."
    “I blacked out and just remember very short flashing images… I remember him asking me if I was on birth control,
    “I blacked out and just remember very short flashing images… I remember him asking me if I was on birth control, but I was too incoherent to talk. I was trying to explain that I wasn't. We had sex anyway. I didn't want to and I barely remember it." 
  • "It happens to anyone."
    “When I was in high school, the only place to live for me was my uncle's place. I thought I could trust them, but there
    “When I was in high school, the only place to live for me was my uncle's place. I thought I could trust them, but there were nights when I would wake up to one of them, the biological one, in my room, or he would sneakily try to touch my junk. I never really resolved it.”
  • "It happens unexpectedly."
    “I was at a party once, sober, and two of my good female friends pulled me aside, telling me that someone needed help.
    “I was at a party once, sober, and two of my good female friends pulled me aside, telling me that someone needed help. They pulled me into this room and pinned me against the wall and started kissing me and taking my pants off, but I was able to push them off and leave. The two girls who were my friends claim that they don't remember the incident since they were drunk.”
  • "It happens without reason."
    “We had been drinking and, by the end of the night, I had lost all control. I was falling in and out of consciousness.
    “We had been drinking and, by the end of the night, I had lost all control. I was falling in and out of consciousness. I remember waking up with him on top of me but I kept passing back out before I could do anything about it. I always thought it was my fault for getting too drunk.”

Head to Mazurkevich’s website to see more of her work or head to Current Solutions to learn more about their mission. 

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Sexual Assault series
CONVERSATIONS