Disposable


In the spring of 2015 a 23 year old woman was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster on the campus of Stanford University. The perpetrator  was sentenced to a  six-month jail term; the prosecutors had asked for six years. At the sentencing hearing his father begged the judge to give his son probation instead, saying, ““His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action."  [italics mine]


I've thought a lot about this particular sexual assault, at how emblematic the location: behind a dumpster. The notion that women are disposable, that once "consumed" they can be discarded.


 We seem to have the same mindset when it comes  to other things we no longer have use for, causally discarding refuse in landfills, oceans and waterways without regard to the lifeforms whose habitats we are destroying. 


The impacts of sexual assault and environment degradation are talked about ad nauseam, and yet so many of us are hard pressed to know how to respond in  meaningful ways. My response is this  series Disposable, to  make visible our cavalier disregard to the environment, and the aggressions large and small that women face every day.



© Copyright Ruth Steinberg
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