Whimsical photos tell trauma of rape

Reuters
Working as a photojournalist in conflict zones, Elisa Iannacone would cover trauma by seeking out confronting images in the hope that people would pay attention.
Reuters
Reuters

Elisa Iannacone found her subjects by approaching therapists and support centers, and even through chance meetings, but only included people who were emotionally ready to share their experience publicly

While visiting her homeland of Mexico to film a documentary, Elisa Iannacone took a break to visit family when someone she trusted, her cousin, raped her.

“It was one of the things that happened and completely derailed my career and my life,” Iannacone said.

Her assault at age 23 highlights data from UN Women, the United Nations’ gender equality body, that show one in three women globally has experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by someone they know.

Working as a photojournalist in conflict zones across Africa and the Middle East, Iannacone would cover trauma by seeking out confronting images in the hope that people would pay attention.

But after her own abuse, Iannacone, now 30, said she wanted to tell the stories of rape survivors in an “accessible” way through colorful and whimsical photos.

The photographer found her subjects by approaching therapists and support centers, and even through chance meetings, but only included people who were emotionally ready to share their experience publicly.

“People are more open to the possibility of actually going to an exhibition about rape,” she said about the timing of the movement and her project to highlight sexual abuse.

“I just hope that it continues. That we just try to keep carrying it forward and that people will become more comfortable speaking out,” she added.

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