This photographer documents sexual harassment with simple portraits of victims
Before the mainstream media set its sights on the incredibly significant #MeToo movement, many woman publicly tackled the issue in their own way. London-based photographer Eliza Hatch is one such woman. She documents sexual harassment stories by putting the focus on victims instead of perpetrators.
Hatch’s Instagram feed, @cheerupluv, is a portfolio of beautiful portrait photography that doubles as a social movement. Paired with each photo is a quote from the subject’s story about their experience with sexual harassment.
"I was walking home alone through a quiet street at about 2am, when a big car stopped beside me," one such quote from a woman named Kaother reads. "There were four men in the car. The driver asked for directions to somewhere and when I told them I didn’t know, they shouted, “Come suck these balls! I froze as I thought they were going to drag me into the car, but they just drove away."
According to Jezebel, Hatch started this photojournalism project in January of 2017. She wanted to share women’s experiences ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault and all the grossly familiar incidents in between. She told Jezebel that she’s been flooded with positivity, along with requests from women who want their stories and faces to be featured on Cheer Up Luv.
The women’s stories dictate where their portrait should be taken.
Hatch said that all photos are taken in public spaces like streets, buses, and train stations, “to give an impression of everyday life and the unfortunate normality of harassment,” she explained to Jezebel.
Hatch’s Cheer Up Luv project was prompted by her own experience with a man on the street who told her to “cheer up.” It angered her, and she took her anger to her group of girlfriends, who shared in her frustration.
"We ended up story swapping for over an hour, talking about sexual harassment like it was the most normal thing in the world," Hatch told Jezebel. Her male friends' disbelief made her realize that "it wasn’t just the harassment itself that was the problem, it was [also] the lack of awareness."
Via Cheer Up Luv, Hatch continues to raise awareness about sexual harassment in an effort to decrease its normality. You can follow her movement on Instagram and check out her blog at www.cheerupluv.com.