Photography to recover personal power
A new edition of “Material sensible” (Sensitive Material) was launched on March 2019. It’s the participatory photography project promoted by the Education Area of Photographic Social Vision that, together with the Vicki Bernadet Foundation, accompanies people who suffered sexual abuse in childhood. During this time, the group of participants, all women this time, use photography as a means to reconstruct their stories and are preparing to make public the results in an exhibition that will host a new artistic space in Barcelona, Chiquita Room, and will open next October.
Half of sexual crimes are perpetrated against minors
The figures for sexual abuse in Spain remain terrifying: the first major report from the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Security, which was made public at the end of last year, reflects an increase of 30% since 2012 -from 9,008 cases to 11,692 in 2017- and throws a chilling fact: 50% of the victims are minors. Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid, the Valencian Community, Navarra, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands lead the list of communities with the highest incidence. A social scourge that, being mostly perpetrated by men, affects mostly women, girls and boys, who are more defenseless. Increased social awareness makes sexual abuse more and more known, since far from reducing the number of cases, are now more talked about and more reported. With urgency, we need laws, policies, education and, above all, take charge as a society, among us all.
The methodology in participatory photography developed during the years by the Education Area of Photographic Social Vision with different vulnerable groups focuses on observing and recognizing to understand, allowing people in situations of risk to reconnect with their personal resources, using photography to reconstruct their own stories and to document them first-hand, to break patterns, live in greater freedom and take charge of their own reality. A reality, that in the group of women who participate in this new edition of “Material sensible”, has as a common axis the repair of their identity: despite the differences between their histories, experiences, origins or social stratum, it is a constant that their innocence as girls was snatched away by the abuse and that fact has marked the rest of their lifes. it can change the way in which they have reconnected with their power and their sexuality, and how they have repaired the damage from which they often found complicit our society. But the devastating breach that opened the abuse towards them is the same. Now it is they who shoot with their cameras.
Throughout these months, the professionals Alice Monteil and Mireia Plans, from our Education Area, together with the psychologist Núria Grau from the Vicki Bernadet Foundation, accompany these women in their recovery, offering them photography as a tool of expression and creative potential to tell their own story and break the loop that places them as victims. Thus, they become protagonists of their own lives to make decisions, accept their right to make mistakes, rectify, and be worthy masters of their own reality. The learning goes through technical issues, but above all through very sensitive psychological and emotional aspects from their own history, since the seriousness of each situation is not marked only by the crime itself but also by how each person lived that experience. Providing the use of photography to people in situations of risk, as a tool to reconstruct their own stories and document them personally remains, 18 years later, a good part of the raison d’être of this Foundation.