LIFESTYLE

'Still Not Asking For It': Powerful Black And White Photo Series Challenges Rape Culture

25/01/2016 17:09 GMT | Updated 25/01/2016 17:59 GMT

A black and white photo series featuring topless sexual assault survivors is taking a stand against rape culture and raising awareness about consent.

'Still Not Asking For It', which was created by Australian photographer Rory Banwell, features topless individuals with powerful messages written on their bodies, such as "marriage is not consent" and "alcohol is not an excuse".

Speaking to The Huffington Post, Banwell explained that the subjects are survivors of domestic abuse or sexual assault, as well as victims' family members and campaigners.

For Banwell, who is a survivor herself, says that the project is very close to her heart: "It is for every survivor of sexual violence, domestic violence and every person who is scared to go out at night."

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The project began in 2014 when Banwell and her husband found out that they were having a baby girl.

"As soon as my husband and I found out that we were having a girl, we both had a little freak out knowing that we would have to protect a teenage girl," Banwell told HuffPost. "Most people I know (including myself) have suffered some form of sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime... and it absolutely terrified me thinking that my daughter could go through the same thing."

Speaking to Mashable Australia, Banwell says she was inspired by a photo of a topless woman with the words "Still Not Asking For It", pictured at Slut Walk Chicago in 2012, an annual walk that condemns rape culture.

"I liked the idea that regardless of what anyone is wearing, there is no excuse, no justification and no invitation for someone to sexually assault them," Banwell said. "I decided that by emulating her original photograph, I could create a powerful message and collection of photographs."

Banwell says that due to international attention, she is going to restart the project once she returns from maternity leave. She aims to make the series more diverse in response to criticism around this.

Still Not Asking For It