October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. In order to bring awareness to domestic abuse and the victims and survivors, we wanted to create an emotionally stirring pictorial of the damage abuse causes to the human psyche. Seven women joined photographer Sarah Wells, from Seven Sun Photography, for a difficult, but important, concept photo shoot.
The photos show women in black and white, with words uttered by the voice that echoes in their mind, written on their body; whether it be their own voice, the voice of an abusive partner, or the abuse of a parent or loved one. The words were difficult to write, difficult to read, and especially difficult to photograph.
The photographs were done in black and white to portray the lack of color, life, and happiness in the life of a victim of domestic abuse. Women will give up friends, family, hobbies, and things they truly enjoy, to preserve the sanctity and happiness within their home. “It’s like walking on broken egg shells; you’re just never sure what is going to set them off.” said photographer Sarah Wells, a survivor of domestic abuse herself.
The blindfolds are indicative of the blind love that women in domestic abuse situations grasp to as a means to justify their commitment to the relationship. It represents the lengths women will go to to protect their abuser because they believe that he will change, or that things will get better, or sometimes, even that the abuse is deserved. In terms of hearing her own voice, the blindfold is meant to represent the beauty women fail to see in themselves…essentially, blind to her own beauty and self-worth.
The black hand prints placed over the mouth of each woman is the representation of the female voice that is silenced in so many contexts. Women are either too ashamed, to fearful, or too in denial to speak up for themselves. It is also meant to represent the idea that our photos speak for themselves. Nothing else needs said.
Summit City Pinup member Stevie James
“I felt compelled to participate to give a voice to my friends and family members that have been a victim of Domestic Abuse/Violence. Posing with this group of strong women was a complete honor, especially knowing that many them are survivors of Domestic Abuse.”
“I love each one of these remarkable ladies and am so blessed to be a part of their sisterhood.”
Summit City Pinup member Amanda
“Last night was a challenging and wonderful experience for me. I got to participate in a shoot that was therapeutic and soul crushing at the same time. Having the worst things you’ve heard written on your body is eye opening and sad. To all the wonderful women who have ever heard phrases such as…”you have as pretty face for as fat girl” or “you are worthless” or “if you just lost some weight, you could be really pretty” or “no one will believe you” or “if you move, it will just hurt worse”…. you are more than those words. You are more than that person deserves. You are beautiful.”
Summit City Pinup member Anna
“It’s so strange thinking about the things wrote down because when I saw those words I separated the girl from them because I thought those in NO WAY define the person I know, but then you remember that girl has heard or told themselves they do and it’s like a punch to the gut, so powerful- you are a beautiful, brave and I love you”
Summit City Pinup member Dede Dandurand
After being in therapy twice, it took a break up with a narcissist for me to realize that my responses to life and relationships is borne from my relationship with a narcissistic mother. Now, with my third therapist I’m able to understand their illness and how and why it spills over onto me. Therapeutic work is like slithering out from under the rock that ran you over. The sunlight is too bright and the heat too intense. You can only handle small doses and build your tolerance to the light. I encourage anyone who KNOWS they have been silent about physical, emotional, or verbal abuse and the names of their abusers STOP now and slither out from under your rock. Get help and bring light to it! Love and peace. Dede Dandurand
Summit City Pinup member Dulce Dream
“When it begins it is gradual, you don’t realize its happening. Small things, like your shortcomings being pointed out jokingly. Until him belittling you is as commonplace as breathing. You begin to lose Who You Are. All that’s left is what he has made you. A sad creature that you don’t recognize.”
Summit City Pinup member Melissa
“I really needed this.”
Summit City Pinups President: Liza Mackay
“This concept was something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. As a victim of domestic abuse, I felt like it was a message that would speak clearly and loudly. It was also a way for me to work through some of my own emotions about my abuse I’m so proud of these ladies who joined us for this shoot. These images are stirring, and painful to look at, but the message is so important.”
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, do not let your voice be silenced! Speak out and stand up. We implore you to seek help.