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Reassess the Press Illustrations

Jun 1, 2023

Ten different specially commissioned illustrations focussing on key findings of the press review were on display at the exhibition.

The Rosey Project Community Volunteer Advocates wanted to make sure that the findings and messages from their research were as inclusive and accessible as possible. So, they commissioned visual and audio pieces to go alongside reports and written findings.

The Advocates approached Zoe Stromberg to work with them. Zoe is a conceptual creative and designer, whose work focuses on social issues, healthcare, and empowerment. She had already produced excellent work for other charities. Together, the Advocates and Zoe workshopped ideas that eventually formed the illustrations displayed at the event. Each illustration represents how the media portrayal of sexual violence can impact survivors.

The group wanted to ensure the illustrations were presented in a way that is trauma informed. Each one uses soft colour pallets that promote gentle exploration of the issues in a way that doesn’t soften the impact or the message. The illustrations come with a description of what the impact is and encourages all of those with the power do better to Reassess the Press.

fallen angel

Fallen Angel

This piece portrays the way in which accomplishments, both professional and personal, can often be used in the media to distract from the perpetrators actions. This often helps humanise perpetrators and justify sympathy for them if a conviction could get in the way of their life goals. At the same time, victim-survivors are often left to struggle – is this fair?

Trial by media

Trial by media

Drawing parallels to the historic witch trials in Scotland, this illustration gets us to think about how women are often labelled as liars in the media, or at least have their testimonies questioned repeatedly, a damaging impact on both the individual and survivors in general.

mermaids can swim

You might feel like drowning, don’t worry mermaids can swim!

Victim-blaming is a continuous issue that permeates the media, as well as society as a whole. This piece displays how damaging the sort of language demonstrated here can be on survivors in their recovery.

kintsugi

Kintsugi

In Japan, there is a traditional repair method known as kintsugi, where broken pieces of pottery are stuck back together with a Japanese lacquer (urushi), the joints are painted and decorated with gold or silver powder, and the pottery continues to be used. In this piece we can see the repaired pot and a growing flower showing that recovery is possible after sexual violence.

press charges

“PRESS charges”

People often assume that the trauma regarding sexual violence is concentrated in the experience itself. However, the imagery here gets us to think about how the harmful rhetoric and procedures within the police and the media can be traumatic for survivors in itself. In our survey, the majority of survivors said that they were deterred from reporting to the police due to the way sexual violence is portrayed in the media.

if the shoe fits

Sympathy, only if the shoe fits

Victims rarely fit into society’s ‘shoe’ of the perfect victim. This is a visual representation that victims come in all shapes and sizes. Whether that be social background, age, ethnicity etc.

caged behind headlines

Caged behind headlines

The press has the power to write the narrative of every story. This impact on survivors is often negative such as articles containing no trigger warnings or one containing victim blaming rhetoric. Only the press has the key to change this.

bad witches

#BadWitches

The #metoo movement created a community of survivors striving for change. The depiction of 3 witches around a cauldron calls back to women who spoke out about the sexual violence they experienced and being ostracised by society. Much like the women condemned in the Salem witch trials.

survivor's garden

Survivor’s Garden: Growth requirements may vary

Every survivor has different needs for recovery. There is no time frame on it and some survivors need more support than others. There is no wrong way to do it, just keep growing.

strength in solidarity

Strength in Solidarity

This illustration displays the strength that can be found in survivors coming together, no matter how differently society has framed their experience. Everyone deserves a seat on the broom.