November 18, 2016

15 powerful photos break the connection between 'sexy' clothes and sexual assault.

Well, what were you wearing?

  By Carol Alderman

For her thesis project, Arcadia University senior Katherine Cambareri took pictures of clothes. But while the photos might appear ordinary, they’re anything but.

All the items she photographed were worn by students while they were sexually assaulted.

"Well, What Were You Wearing?" — Cambareri’s senior thesis project — aims to challenge how society can blame survivors of sexual assault by questioning the way they dress, she says.

Here are the items she photographed:

1. A simple women's T-shirt.

All photos by Katherine Cambareri, used with permission.

2. Converse sneakers.

3. A flowered tank top.

4. A standard long-sleeve T-shirt.

5. Sweatpants.

6. A lounge tank top.

7. A heavy winter sweater.

8. Jeans.

9. A casual baggy T-shirt.

10. A flannel.

11. Again, simple and casual jeans.

12. More baggy jeans.

13. Cotton shorts.

14. A simple necklace.

15. And, finally, a modest dress.

The moral of this story? What people wear has nothing to do with sexual assault.

Cambareri says the project was inspired by the book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" by Jon Krakauer, a moving narrative of sexual assaults at the University of Montana.

“It really opened my eyes to victim blaming,” said Cambareri, “and the questions that survivors of sexual assault are asked [that] protect the perpetrator rather than the victim.”

The ultimate goal of her project? To challenge our beliefs about the connection between "too sexy" clothes and sexual assault: “I want people to take time to look at each photograph and realize that society’s assumptions are not always correct,” Cambareri said.