WHAT REALLY MATTERS: JAYNE JACKSON – EXHIBITION ‘ASKING FOR IT’
Photography Exhibition ‘Asking for It’ by Jayne Jackson
Jayne produces ‘Mugshot’ series, to challenge victim blaming… a powerful exhibition and a must topic to talk about.
Jayne Jackson a MA Commercial Photography student from Arts University Bournemouth has created a fascinating photographic art series named Asking for it, which in a highly unique and clever way highlights victim blaming in cases of sexual violence. The exhibition which consists of 14 ‘mugshots’ will be on display at the Eco Hub in The Dolphin Centre in Poole, Dorset during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week from 3rd – 9th February 2020 from 10am – 5pm.
‘My initial inspiration for ‘Asking for It’ originated from my disbelief on hearing a report on the suicide of a young woman following the acquittal of her alleged rapist. During the trial she was made to hold up her underwear three times. The fact that the victim was being blamed, shamed and humiliated for an assault that she had allegedly suffered was haunting and formed the catalyst for the project. I wanted to create images that engaged and invited the viewer to question the aspect of blame and I am so pleased with the feedback so far and grateful to all involved, it seems to be making a positive difference and that is the important thing”.
We catch up with Jayne:
So what’s your day been like?
Super busy, as normal, but all good!
Let’s start with your photography .. why did you start photography?
I started as a studio assistant as a teenager and have always loved it. More recently I’ve really started to understand more about who I am and what type of images I want to make. I’m currently a 2nd year part-time MA student at AUB, and the learning process has helped me realise my goal to create meaningful, impactful work.
In your words what’s your project about?
Really it’s about changing attitudes to victim blaming. I want people to look at the mugshot image and really think about the degree of blame attributes to victims of sexual assault for things like what they wore, whether they were out late or even whether or not they could coherently recall the events. The pictures invite the viewer to question who is really to blame.
What made you start the project?
Several reasons. I read an article about a woman who had ended her life following the acquittal of her alleged rapist and her humiliating trial where her underwear was repeatedly held up in court as evidence against. I know this issue can affect anyone of any gender, age etc, and I wanted to do something to encourage a more empathetic and informed approach to sexual violence for the future.
What do want to achieve with the exhibition?
So far we have 3 exhibitions booked and ideally, I’d like the project to tour. It’s all about impact and offering people the opportunity to think about historic tendencies to victim blame, particularly as it’s the public who make up juries. In 2019, despite over 58000 rape allegations being made, there were only around 1900 successful prosecutions. The astonishing lack of guilty verdicts and the reluctance of people to come forward is hugely impacted by the victim blaming issue.
How can we help people with photography?
Art and images make people think. Everyone has heard that a ‘single image is worth a thousand words’. There is no doubt that good art creates debate. I’ve had so many messages from survivors and their families thanking me for tackling this issue and I just feel that openness and education are the key to positive social change.
‘My initial inspiration for ‘Asking for It’ originated from my disbelief on hearing a report on the suicide of a young woman following the acquittal of her alleged rapist.
‘Asking for It’ has already been booked for three solo exhibitions in Dorset during 2020, after its launch during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week at the ECO HUB in Poole Dolphin Centre it will then be at The Atrium Gallery at Bournemouth University from 1st May – 30th June 2020 and The Top Floor Gallery at Poole Lighthouse from 12th September to 12th October. This launch exhibition is being co-hosted by the Dorset charity Sexual Trauma and Recovery Services (STARS Dorset) alongside their other activities that week to highlight the issues around sexual violence in the UK.
Simone Gosden from STARS Dorset said ‘‘From the start we have been keen to support this photography project, the images are incredibly impactful and convey a powerful message. STARS Dorset are committed to delivering quality services to survivors of sexual violence throughout Dorset. We believe that projects that challenge victim blaming culture and educate the public and future jurors are vital in improving the experiences of survivors. Conviction rates for sexual assault and rape remain low and much of this is due to how victims of this particular crime are viewed. We hope with projects such as ‘Asking For It’ people will begin to question their views.’
STARS is a pan-Dorset charity that offers one to one support, free of charge, for anyone of any age or gender who lives, works or studies in Dorset and has experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their life. Support can be reached via their helpline on 01202 308855 or by visiting www.starsdorset.org.
For more information about ‘Asking for It’ photographic project, please visit: https://www.jaynejacksonphotography.co.uk/asking-for-it
For more information about STARS Dorset please visit: www.starsdorset.org