“So, What Were You Wearing?”: Photos of Rape Survivors’ Clothes When They Were Attacked

A stark, striking photo series that challenges one of rape culture's most persistent myths.

Rape culture manifests in many forms, but one of the most enduring and infuriating ideas is that sexual assault victims somehow have themselves to blame — they were out too late, they were dressed provocatively, they were drunk, whatever. The idea of victims wearing revealing clothing and thus “inviting” the male gaze is particularly obnoxious, and it’s one that photographer Katherine Cambareri is challenging with her series Well, What Were You Wearing?, which depicts the clothes that assault survivors were wearing at the time they were attacked. The series — which we spotted via Break the Cycle — places the items of clothing in question on a stark black background, and the contrast between the clothes (a plain t-shirt, an old pair of jeans, a floral necklace) and their context is both disturbing and poignant. The entire series, and more of Cambareri’s work, is at her website.