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‘This is my body’

‘My body is a testament to violence and endurance after being victimised as a survivor of rape and sexual abuse. During the shoot, many pictures were taken in various poses, and when I saw some of them I did think I looked beautiful and felt proud of my body as it was represented. We all want to look beautiful and be seen as being beautiful, and we are often told that vulnerability and sadness are not beautiful but are weaknesses that make us ugly. But this one image was the one which felt most authentic to me – I have been ready to pull the trigger my whole life and yet I pull away from that impulse on a daily basis. I live with the effects of violence and the way it erodes the spirit; yet I am alive and this image shows that despite my scars I am able to decide not to pull the trigger and to have the bravery to bear my scars.’

Melissa  25/03/2017