Slut Means Speak Up

July has finally dawned for My London Diary. It’s taken a while longer than usual for several reasons, not least the work I’ve been doing for an exhibition in September, something rather different for me, on the gardens of St John’s Wood. More about this later, but although I’ve only been photographing one afternoon a week for it, I’m working with digitally stitched panoramas and an hour of taking pictures can generate a day of work on the computer.

July’s first protest that I covered was outside the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions and followed on from last month’s ‘slutwalk‘.   This first of a planned programme of ‘Slut Means Speak Up‘ events was calling for changes in the law and changes in police attitudes to rape survivors and sex workers. Women Against Rape, one of the groups supporting the protest, state that over 30 women who have “reported rape have been disbelieved and imprisoned in the last 12 months. Asylum seekers who report rape and other torture are often deported. Sex workers who come forward risk prosecution.”

© 2011, Peter Marshall

This was in part a very emotional event, with a number of people telling stories of their own traumatic experiences and mothers and fathers of victims talking about the difficulties in getting justice.  At times I found it difficult to take pictures, and had to remind myself that my own problems were insignificant and that these people were making a great effort to get their stories told and it was my job to do what I could to tell them. Taking photographs – though needing sensitivity – wasn’t an intrusion.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

Obviously the text of posters and placards is particularly important in protests such as this, and I think you can see this in the pictures on Prosecute Rapists Not Rape Survivors.

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