Artist Violet Overn, a recent graduate of New York University, is using her art to bring attention to the disturbingly high rate of sexual assaults which take place on colleges nationwide. During their time at college, one in five female students are sexually assaulted.
Overn decided to highlight this alarming statistic by posing as a victim of assault in a series of photographs called “Fraternity Houses.” In the photos, she is passed out and laying on the ground, sometimes her skirt is pulled up to her face, sometimes surrounded by Solo cups and she always lays in front of fraternity houses.
The Huffington Post reported that Overn said she was compelled to do the piece after the Brock Turner case – which, she says, upset her (along with the majority of America). She says she was upset by the flattering way the media portrayed him – highlighting his status as a Stanford swimmer – and his shockingly short jail sentence.
For her photo series, Overn walked along the University of Southern California’s frat row and collected all of the items – red Solo cups, beer pong table – which appear beside her. The artist lies in front of frat houses at USC; Overn told The Post that her poses can be interpreted as a form of non-violent protest against sexual assault on college campuses.
Although frat houses are not the only place sexual assaults occur, Overn detailed her reasoning in utilizing them as a backdrop to The Post.
“On most college campuses sororities aren’t allowed to host parties or provide alcohol, therefore fraternities have control of the social gatherings and women can feel pressured or be forced into having sex because of this unspoken ‘trade’ system,” Overn told The Post. “We have to spark the initiative to provoke change for male dominance and sexual aggression (so it is not) more prevalent within fraternity brothers and male athletes than any other student on campus. Someone had to start somewhere and say something.”
Overn's website is accessible here for a viewing of her complete series.
Lead Image Credit: Violet Overn