Market Photo Workshop
Johannesburg, South Africa
With existing stigma faced by family and community because of gender identity and or expression of sexual orientation, LGBTIQ persons who do experience intimate partner violence suffer in silence. We do not report incidences of violence because we fear secondary victimisation from service providers both in the health and justice system. Living on the margins for LGBTIQ individuals means that systems of protection become new battlefields. Laws may speak to equal access but when who you love or how you identify exists in a world that is always finding ways to discriminate and strip you of your dignity and humanity, trusting systems that are meant to protect you is impossible because your relationship, identity or expression does not fit what is normative. You struggle in isolation with a perpetrator that does not fit the mould of who the world sees and reports as the culprit in incidents of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV); a man. I can never forget how a friend, someone I trusted, remained silent, while I said, “No, Stop, I do not want this…” as my partner raped me while she lay on a bed a few metres away. Mine is a story not vastly different from the stories of other queer and non-binary individuals who are violated by their same sex or gender diverse partners. With the constant barrage of violence that faces the LGBTIQ community from the outside, IPV is a subject that is hidden deep in the closet, swept under the carpet, or left unaddressed. Having known rejection from family and broader society, the thought of losing community and support from chosen family if you speak out keeps many persons in the LGBTIQ community shrouded in the shame of living with a partner who harms them. I intend to surface the ways victims survive with the struggles of mental health that comes with living in the silence imposed by your partner and community to make you feel like you are crazy for naming the violence. I will reflect on these muted journeys of my collaborators through the sharing of their stories using both photos and video without being shamed, erased, silenced, invalidated, or canceled for their truth, because a human that you love(d) became a site of violence. For me, the lives of those who choose for me to share lives with the world through the eye of a lens drive me to constantly give space and voice to issues that affect people that are unseen because they are considered different. Through my work I allow the world to see them as a whole and complete beings beyond their circumstance, each story is told to not only tell their story but in hearing what is important for them to be seen and heard, I am pushed to constantly learn, refine and grow as an artist. Being able to bring from the shadows stories of LGBTI people that are not about their Fetishisation instead unveiling how intimate partner violence falls through the cracks because of how we are othered.