CONTENT WARNING: The following images may be triggering to survivors of sexual assault.
"You don't know me, but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today." That quote famously came from the female victim of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who served only three months in jail for committing sexual assault.
Yana Mazurkevich, a junior at New York's Ithaca College, recently released a photo series that's received much response thanks to its straightforward message regarding sexual assault -- it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Mazurkevich released the series, "It Happens," in collaboration with the sexual assault awareness media platform Current Solutions to continue the conversation and give survivors a voice. The powerful photo series depicts sexual assault in its various forms, including same-sex couples and cases of female attackers. The unsettling scenes were created as a response to Brock Turner's release from jail "to raise a huge finger to Turner and his three-month jail time."
"It Happens" pairs potent imagery with the unsettling, true stories of sexual assault survivors anonymously submitted to Current Solutions. The photos are difficult to look at, but it's even harder to look away.
The full "It Happens" series can be found here, along with Mazurkevich's first photo series, titled "Dear Brock Turner."
"When I was in high school, the only place to live for me was my uncles' place. I thought I could trust them, but there were nights when I would wake up to one of them, the biological one, in my room, or he would sneakily try to touch my junk. I never really resolved it."
"We had been drinking and, by the end of the night, I had lost all control. I was falling in and out of consciousness. I remember waking up with him on top of me but I kept passing back out before I could do anything about it. I always thought it was my fault for getting too drunk."
"I blacked out and just remember very short flashing images. ... I remember him asking me if I was on birth control, but I was too incoherent to talk. I was trying to explain that I wasn't. We had sex anyway. I didn't want to and I barely remember it."
"I was at a party once, sober, and two of my good female friends pulled me aside, telling me that someone needed help. They pulled me into this room and pinned me against the wall and started kissing me and taking my pants off, but I was able to push them off and leave. The two girls who were my friends claim that they don't remember the incident since they were drunk."
"I can't remember details or the order of things, but she was very, very aggressive. She left bruises all over me and I was bleeding the next morning. She held me down and forced a lot. I didn't say no clearly, but I definitely didn't agree to the aggressive actions she took. Lack of consent is not the presence of a no, it's also the absence of a yes."
"I lost my virginity at a party when I was in middle school. He gave me a drink and I can't really remember what happened after that. Just bits and pieces for the most part ... but I couldn't say no or push him off while he made me have sex with him. I woke up next to him and I was really sore but i couldn't tell anyone what happened."
"I was tattooed by a guy and while he was tattooing me, he kept inserting his fingers up my vagina. He said he had to keep his hand there to keep the skin taut for tattooing. The most ironic part is that the tattoo is the symbol for female; I wanted the tattoo as a sign of feminism and got sexually assaulted in the process."
Mazukevich's first photo series about sexual assault, called "Dear Brock Turner," was created in response to the Stanford assault last January.