In June of this year, Brock Turner, a former student at Stanford University in California, was sentenced for rape. He received only six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a campus party. As you can probably imagine, many people were understandably outraged by this meagre sentence. The situation was made worse when Turner was released after serving only three months.
Ithaca College student Yana Mazurkevich has created a Brock Turner-inspired photo series. The project, titled “It Happened”, was made for a sexual assault awareness media platform called Current Solutions, and as you can see, the message is pretty powerful.
“In response to Brock Turner’s early release, this photo series aims to continue the conversation on sexual assault. As well as it raises a huge finger to Turner and his 3-month jail time,” wrote Mazurkevich on her Facebook page.
This is actually Mazurkevich’s second photo series. The first photo series, titled “Dear Brock Turner,” was covered by the New York Times and the Huffington Post; going viral on social media. However, Mazurkevich told The Ithacan that she was bothered by her first series lack of diverse perspectives and failure to acknowledge gender equality. When she read the comments that others were saying, there were a lot about men getting raped too, and that women get raped by women as well.
When creating this photo series, Mazurkevich also said she wanted to show a more graphic depiction of sexual assault. One of the photos even features a young woman lying next to a dumpster, in reference to Brock Turner’s original assault.
“I’m going for that ‘wow’ factor. I’ve had a few critics look at it, a few friends, family and others who I value the opinion of … and their first initial reaction is, ‘Oh, wow,’” Mazurkevich said.
The immediacy of eye contact that these photos convey serve both as a call for help and a cry for action. They implore the viewer to confront the realities that many college students face. In fact, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.