“Well, what were you wearing?” is a question asked all too often when women speak about being sexually assaulted. Photographer Katherine Cambareri decided to use her thesis project at Arcadia University to fight back against victim blaming with a series of photos titled with the same phrase.
To create “Well, what were you wearing?” Cambareri took to Facebook to find survivors of sexual assault and asked them if she could photograph the clothing they had on during their experiences. Only female college students responded, and Cambareri hopes to expand the project in the future to include male victims as well.
Among the articles of clothing photographed, there is a plain v-neck t-shirt, a pair of sweatpants, white Converse sneakers, and a bulky red sweater.
“Society assumes that victims wear revealing clothing when they are sexually assaulted,” Cambareri told the Huffington Post. The artist wants the images to make people uncomfortable. “I want people to think about victim blaming and how asking ‘What were you wearing?’ is not a valid question because victims never ‘ask’ to be assaulted. Sexual assault occurs because a person decided to assault another person, and for no other reason,” she added.