The woman who collects clothes of sex assault victims

Sexual harassment across the world is often accompanied with the aid of victim-blaming and one query survivors are invariably requested is: "what were you carrying?"
Indian artist-activist jasmeen patheja collects clothes donated via victims as testomony to the reality they're no longer in charge, reviews the bbc's geeta pandey.
In a small room in her bangalore home that has been converted right into a museum of sorts are dozens of clothes. The sort of garments we see girls around us sporting all the time. However every object has a story.
This is jasmeen patheja's collection of the garments of intercourse attack survivors.
One pink-and-black jumpsuit became donated by way of a lady who became stuck up inside the extensive sexual assaults that befell at new year's eve celebrations in bangalore final 12 months.
"she said she changed into present on the celebrations while mobs went berserk, groping and assaulting ladies," ms patheja says. "she pointed out how she become careworn, about seeking refuge."
Then she holds up a cream-coloured kurta (tunic) with pink and black prints - a garment almost startling in its simplicity. It become donated by way of a woman who was groped even as touring on a train inside the southern town of coimbatore.
"she informed me she become dissuaded from reporting the assault."
Museum of garmentsimage copyrightasif saud
Photograph caption
The museum of clothes is placed in a small room in ms patheja's residence
The purple dress she shows me next came to her from a girl in montreal. "she said in case you don't take it, i'll must throw it away. It made her even sick to have it," ms patheja says.
As we undergo the rack, she points out a white dress, a go well with, a champagne-colored gown, a pair of trousers, a school uniform - examples that she describes as "a mirror" to the truth that all women experience abuse and gender violence.
Posters on the wallimage copyrightasif saud
"it's got nothing to do with what you are sporting, there is in no way any excuse for such violence and nobody ever asks for it."
And that is why her challenge is known as - "i in no way ask for it."
"the project desires to incorporate and preserve area for our collective memories of pain, and trauma."
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Her combat against sexual- and gender-based totally violence began nearly a decade and a half ago, simply after she moved to bangalore from the northern town of kolkata (calcutta) to observe artwork.
"it's now not that there has been no harassment in kolkata, but i was new to bangalore. I used to be 23 and i had no own family to run to for protection," she says.
"it turned into additionally a time whilst road harassment was being dismissed as just 'eve-teasing', some thing that boys do and ladies need to enjoy. It became being normalised. There was an surroundings of denial and silence round the difficulty, which made it ok to preserve it."
Jasmeen pathejaimage copyrightasif saud
Photograph caption
Ms patheja says there's no excuse for sexual harassment
To deal with this denial and to break the silence, she determined to start a communique.
"one day, i were given all girl college students into a room and stated, 'let's give you words that evoke a public area.' in 3 mins, we had a widespread mind map of most effective bad phrases."
Testimonialsimage copyrightasif saud
Image caption
Clean noise has gathered hundreds of testimonials about harassment in public locations
The end result wasn't a surprise - harassment in public places is all too not unusual and almost every woman has skilled catcalls, lewd remarks, touching and groping.
And every person who questions it is advised that the fault simply lies with them - she may also have carried out some thing provocative, she may be sporting clothes that confirmed skin, she can also have been out past due at night time, she may additionally had been ingesting, she might also had been flirting: in brief, she may additionally have requested for it.
"ladies are raised to be cautious, we're raised in an environment of fear which is continuously telling us to be careful. We are told in case you've experienced attack, then perhaps you are no longer being careful enough, it's the underlying message we're given."
She set up the blank noise collective in 2003 to "confront" that fear.
"we consider that blame results in shame, shame ends in guilt, guilt results in more silence and that perpetuates sexual and gender-based violence."
The crimson batik kurtaimage copyrightasif saud
Photograph caption
This red outfit become donated by a widow - hindu widows are barred from carrying purple and he or she changed into confused for carrying the color
Step one to confronting any worry, ms patheja says, is to start a communique round it and one of the things that clean noise does as a part of the "i by no means ask for it" mission is to collect testimonials from women.
So that they approached ladies and ladies on the streets of bangalore and different towns, inviting them to write down their testimonials.
Ms patheja says "when one character writes, it encourages others to do the same", in order that they returned with white forums packed with names, ages, incidents of abuse, what took place, wherein it took place and what time, what were they wearing, what they did and what they wanted they'd executed.
One lady wrote about being careworn on a bus by way of a center-elderly man and the way she simply changed her seat, a schoolgirl wrote about how she changed into stalked via two guys on a bicycle, any other stated she were groped a couple of times in multiple towns.
Jasmeen patheja inside the museum of garmentsimage copyrightasif saud
Image caption
This outfit become delivered in by a survivor of domestic abuse - she said it was a gift from her husband and he assaulted her on an afternoon she became sporting it
There have been testimonials from 14 and sixteen 12 months olds and also from women of their 30s and 40s and every now and then older.
Almost all ladies selected to describe what they had been carrying on the time of the assault and, ms patheja says, that is what gave them the concept approximately the museum of clothes.
"we located ladies often thinking about their clothes. That they had say, "i used to be sporting that pink skirt', or 'i was wearing that pair of denims', or 'i used to be carrying that faculty uniform'. So it have become a deliberate question at clean noise and we started out asking, 'so what were you carrying'?"
And ms patheja says if the query then arises - did i ask for it? - the answer is an emphatic no. "i in no way ask for it."
"but we ask people to consider their garments, convey them in because they have reminiscence, and in that memory it's been a witness and it's your voice


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