I recently became aware of the sexual assault epidemic in the US Military. I was blown away by the lack of justice that US Military rape victims receive as well as the astonishing amounts of men and women assaulted while serving in the Military. Women are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a comrade or a higher ranking personnel than to be killed in combat. The Pentagon expects that in 2010 over 19,000 men and women were raped during their service. Only 13% of men and women report their rape due to the lack of justice and the amount of victim blaming that happens within the military system. Of the 13% that report their assault, 90% are honorably discharged against their will, many of them loosing veteran benefits despite their loyalty to their country. These victims are often forced to serve alongside and/or answer to their rapist on a daily basis without protection. This is something that civilians cannot turn their heads away from. Our military has the right to serve their country, and we should support them and do our best to protect them. This is why I decided that as an artist and a civilian it was my duty to address this epidemic within my art work to raise awareness.
I recently began a project in which I am painting the portraits of military rape victims, spending 15 minutes on each portrait. I plan on presenting these as part of an installation including hundreds of blank portrait pages to display the amount of men and women who are assaulted while serving, and to represent the amount of victims who choose not to report.