Personally, the day the class attended Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery in Cohen Memorial Hall to discuss Donna Ferrato’s “I am Unbeatable” was extremely influential. This day we opened up conversation about power based violence and how there is a need for awareness on the subject to prevent the violence from continually happening. Statistics show that over 4 million women are victims of power based violence.
A couple of weeks ago, Eminem’s new song “Vegas” leaked and one of the lyrics were a threat to Iggy Azalea. That lyric went like this –
“Put that shit away Iggy. You don’t wanna blow that rape whistle on me / Scream! I love it. ‘Fore I get lost with the gettin’ off,”
In America, many people are living a life where they are sadly abused by their significant other. Many who are afraid to leave, which could be for many reasons like they do not know where they could go, they do not know if they could find someone else who could and love and provide for them, or maybe they are just simply scared of getting themselves or their family hurt.
As a class we went to this gallery on campus were we looked at Donna Ferrato’s photography which looks at domestic violence. Ferrato’s pictures and event in the gallery is called “I AM UNBEATABLE”. Ferrato started “I AM UNBEATABLE because it aims to educate through photography to understand the dangers associated with domestic violence. To recognize the warning signs. To know that love has nothing to do with violence.”(http://www.iamunbeatable.com). This video above shares many of the photographs taken by Ferrato and shares some stories and statistics about domestic violence.
The collection of inspiring photos by Dona Ferrato was a completely eye opening experience for me. I have known people close to me who have experienced abuse by a family member. They had to struggle to escape and find a new safe place to live. Ferrato’s original pictures were the most moving to me because you it showed the violence in everyday life. It made it all too real to see the expression on both of their faces as the abuse is occurring. So often it is easy to ignore what is going on and tell women to “just leave.” Ferrato’s later pictures express the horror that occur when a people try and escape those situations, 75% of murders in domestic assault cases happen after the victim leaves. Sometimes it is harder to leave than it is too stay because of so many unknowns that you face by walking away. How can we expect women to be ready to leave when the court systems make it so hard for women to finally have control over their own lives?
Men try and use physical power over women in order to have control; “men, as the dominant gender, use violence as a means to obtain and sustain power over women”(p.47). This was made all too real in the images displayed across the gallery. This degredaradtion of women and gender norms of women aid to the belief that men can control women. Women are seen as fragile, while men are supposed to be dominant and masculine. Rape culture in the media doesn’t help this either. The fact that boys see even their idols like Chris Brown and Ray Rice engaging in domestic assault causes males from a young age to accept that these things happen all around them. Due to this societal expectation the cycle of violence too often is continued and gone unnoticed. Every 18 months as many people die from abuse as did in 911 and yet it as many organizations try aid the cause, it is not seen as a huge public issue. As a society, why haven’t we not been more keen on addressing this issue when so many people are dying?