Powerful photo series is giving rape survivors a chance to tell their stories

By: Brooke Kavit

A moving new photo series is giving rape survivors the chance to open up about their experiences while breaking down taboos.

Photographer Elisa Iannacone is the mastermind behind The Spiral of Containment: Rape's Aftermath, which uses dramatic images to visualize the thoughts of rape victims in the wake of their attacks.

SEE ALSO: BYU changes how it handles sexual assault cases

The art installation will feature 24 photographs, each depicting one survivor's story. The powerful images correspond to a color on the color wheel -- and they all connect to each other to give viewers the feeling of "spinning" or "spiraling."

Each image is also paired with a recording of the victim's voice -- but when the viewer steps back, it will blend into the voices from the other photographs, creating a white noise effect.

"I want people to reframe the way they see rape survivors. We are not all living in black and white with tears on our face in a back alley," Iannacone told AOL.com. "We are individuals with whole lives outside of the incident."

Iannacone says she felt destroyed after her rape five years ago, but found comfort and healing in art therapy. "It was such an incredible process and it made me smile again," she continued.

The photographer worked with a psychotherapist to develop a line of questioning to determine whether or not the survivors would be emotionally prepared to take part in her project.

See some of the incredible photos and the stories behind them:

Powerful photo series allows rape survivors to tell their stories
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Powerful photo series allows rape survivors to tell their stories

"I was 5 and he was 16. He said: 'If you come up to my room I'll give you a present.'"

(Photo courtesy of Elisa Iannacone)

"The plane took me home and brought me back to the country to start an Organization for rape survivors. All along I found my grounding in ballet."

(Photo courtesy of Elisa Iannacone)

"In the original fairytale the princess is asleep and the prince rapes her. I felt like Sleeping Beauty and could have stayed in that tower forever."

(Photo courtesy of Elisa Iannacone)


Iannacone applauds the incredible resilience of the survivors sharing their stories in her project. "They have not feared placing their vulnerabilities in front of my camera for the world to see," she said.

While it can be difficult at times for Iannacone to relive her trauma, she's on a mission. "I realize that this situation is an opportunity to be a part of the wave that's bringing change to the way we speak about sexual violence," she said.

Iannacone is currently raising funds for her project on her Kickstarter.

Related: Also learn more about rape statistics in the United States:

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