Brock Turner of Ohio was a student-athlete at Stanford University, who had sexually assaulted an unconscious woman in early 2015. When he was indicted with the charge and few other accusations, he was looking at a potential sentence of 14 years in prison. While the prosecutors recommended at least six years in prison, the probation officials suggested a moderate county jail sentence.
In June 2016, finally, Turner was sentenced to a mere six months confinement in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of probation. Yet, after only three months in jail, he was released in early September.
This caused much turbulence and criticism of people. Many of them have vocalized their opinions in some way or the other on social media. In response to this early release, a 20-year old student from Ithaca college in New York, Yana Mazurkevich has created a photo series called 'Sexual Assault Series: It Happens' for media platform Current Solutions. h
Mazurkevich says that the series was inspired by a bank of experiences, both personal and those that her friends had been through.
"There comes a point when it just pisses you off and you want to do something about it," she voiced.
She also said that the photos look frozen because she wanted to portray the subjects as lifeless yet in a way that allows the audience to realize that the subjects are real people.
"And this happens to real people, people close to you, people who you know," she added.
This is her way of criticizing people, "Look. Look at this and don't even try to ignore it because it's right there in front of you to stare at."
Mazurkevich says that she never expected her work to gain so much attention. She also claims that the fact that it has gotten so much attention shows that this matter is not prioritized yet."
Yana had created a photo series titled "Dear Brock Turner" previously which depicts survivors holding up signs with phrases such as 'I should know how to protect myself' and 'I shouldn't have been walking alone.'
She also said that she was touched by those who took the time to share their stories with her, remarking that to her that is progress.
"Conversation needs to happen, and I am extremely happy that so far people have been stepping out of their comfort zones to speak up and start one," she expressed hopefully.
Hats off to her for the powerful portrayal of such a sensitive issue handled so beautifully.
Photos Courtesy: Yana Mazurkevich Photography