Following an ongoing investigation into the disappearance and tragic discovery of the body of 33-year-old Londoner Sarah Everard, recent news has seen vigils planned in her memory criticised for safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But one AUB graduate, whose photography for sexual assault series Asking for it won Gold at the Association of Photographers Student Awards 2020, thinks she’s found a perfect compromise. MA Commercial Photography graduate Jayne Jackson has set about creating a visual ‘people-free’ protest in solidary with a movement addressing the safety of people across the UK.
The campaign, which will go live on Thursday 18 March carries the hashtag #intheirshoes and asks people to post pictures of old pairs of their own shoes across social media channels to illustrate the challenges faced by people who’ve become victims of crime, abuse or violence, and to highlight the citizens’ right to walk without fear.
Participants are primarily asked to take part online, but any shoes that are to be donated for the campaign should be dropped off at the dedicated collection point outside AUB Library until Wednesday 17 March. Items will then be photographed and donated to Shoe Aid.
Speaking about the online campaign, Jayne said: “Every woman can identify with Sarah Everard. When I created the mugshot series to challenge victim blaming in 2018, I wanted to generate social change. Now with the response to this heart-breaking story I can see every woman agrees – it’s time for change.
“I’ve already been contacted by others asking permission to replicate the idea in other areas of the UK. We may not be able to march, but we are taking a stand and using our shoes as a metaphor. Women should be able to walk around without fear, everybody should!”
The protest is a people-free event being organised with support of local women’s charities such as Stars Dorset, Women’s Action Network Dorset, The Shine Project and other supporters. The shoes themselves will be donated via Shoe Aid after the demonstration.
When asked about why she continues to campaign on the subject, Jayne added: “The judicial system in the UK doesn’t do enough to mitigate this issue. One of the reasons I created Asking for it was a reaction to hearing about the tragic suicide of a young woman following the acquittal of her alleged rapist.
“During the trial she [the victim] was made to hold up her underwear three times. The fact that the victim was being blamed, shamed and humiliated shocked me and I felt something needed to be done. The news this week is horrifying and has resonated with women everywhere, many of whom, are quite rightly, demanding significant changes to our legal system.
As part of her ongoing research into justice for survivors and the conviction of perpetrators, Jayne is asking people to voice their views through an online questionnaire on her website.