Face Value is a series of photographs, taken by staff photographer Aubrey Schuring, that showcase the emotions of various human beings as they discuss moments of consent, assault, and their feelings of worth with Project Consent.


"As I listened to each woman's story, I felt myself and my experiences through them. That's why I think the results of this project are so beautiful. I think these stories can help victims understand that they were put in non-consensual sexual situations through the emotions and reactions they themselves may recognize in each story. Each story is different, and each person deals with these events differently. Through this project, I've captured the joy of wanting to be with another person versus the fear that comes with assault. This is a visualization of the spectrum of emotions that comes with sex, consensual and not." - Aubrey Schuring on Face Value

 

FRAME ONE: 

I remember waking up and just feeling so happy. And I've never been one of those girls, if a boy asks to kiss me it's like, "Well, now you don't get to kiss me, you've already ruined your chance I'm already turned off, you just can't ask me." But then, how do you consent, you know? I think that for us, when he finally kissed me, I was just so unbelieving happy. I was just over the moon. Even thinking back on it now, I still get so happy because he was so in the moment, and I think that that has everything to do with consent. Just being there, being so present that you don't have to directly with your words say, "This is what you're allowed to do, this is what you're not allowed to do," because you're so aware of what you're doing and how the other person is receiving that, that you feel that vulnerability and you feel that nervousness and that little bit of fear, but its all good and it's all consensual because you are just aware of what's going on.

FRAME TWO:

It was just being in the moment, and it was just really wonderful, and that's how how I knew that it was consent. I knew that he was aware of me and he just wanted to be with me, and I felt that and I knew that was happening even though words weren't exchanged.

FRAME THREE:

He puts my hand over his pants on his boner, and I remember pulling away and tensing up. He could feel that. Instead of stopping, he lets me calm down a little bit. He took his hand away, and he just started kissing me and being really sweet. Just totally, totally, manipulating me and I remember thinking he doesn't give a fuck about me.

FRAME FOUR:

It comes down to the fact that you know you're worth, and when someone makes you feel less than the worth, you already know you what you have. Like, "I'm gonna take away your inhibitions right now." Some people do that through alcohol, some people do that through validation. He did that for me by tricking me through a false sense of safety because what I want more than anything in life is to feel safe. He was just a really good manipulator. I think that that's what consent means to me. Consent is knowing that you're safe no matter what.

FRAME FIVE:

Women are strong, and women will get through anything, but the world would really like to make you feel like you are less than all of that. And you just can't be, because you're just not, you're not programmed to be weak, and you're not programmed to be used, and you're not programmed to be less than. And so if anyone tries to make you feel that way, then just know that that's not consent. And you're so much more than that."


FRAME ONE: 

I felt like it was right. I didn't feel that this was wrong. I knew this is what I wanted, and I knew this is what he wanted. And we had talked about it before. And afterwards, I just remember laying on his chest and just holding each other and telling each other we loved each other and it was really beautiful.

FRAME TWO:

I just remember feeling safe. Of course it was scary, it was new, it was weird, but it was also exciting because I knew that we both wanted it and it was something we had been working together towards and it just felt so natural. And you know, before everything he had said “is this okay”? And basically the whole night we kind of just walked each other through it like “is this okay, do you feel good with this”?. I remember him even saying “am I hurting you?” and I just think that was really special, considering our relationship too, how shitty it was. It was actually a really beautiful moment.

 

FRAME THREE:

I remember the whole time feeling really nervous and like, "I don't want this to go any further," and also feeling kind of stuck. And pretending I had control, because when you're in a moment like that you don't want to think that you don't have control because then you're realizing whats happening. And he would do things and I would say, "No, I don't want to do that," and he would stop for a second, and then he would go at it again.

FRAME FOUR:

I didn't want him to take my underwear off. But he just wouldn't let go, he kept tugging at them.

FRAME FIVE:

I felt so uncomfortable and I felt so vulnerable and exposed. And then he went inside of me again and he wasn't wearing a condom and I didn't say anything because I felt like I couldn't say no. I had built up all these barriers and he had knocked them all down. And I felt really sad but I still was in that fake mode, like it wasn't real to me. I was still pretending it was okay even though I knew that it wasn't, even though I didn't want to have sex with him.

FRAME SIX:

I just remember sitting there that night when I got home, looking at myself in the mirror. And then in the morning looking at myself in the mirror. And just feeling like complete total shit and just so used and that no one could love me for who I am, this is all I'm for.


FRAME ONE:

I really have committed to him in a way that I've never committed to anyone before. Like this deep intrinsic level that I can't even explain. Like there's a tether that reaches out of my heart and just plugs into him somewhere and I can always feel it.

FRAME TWO:

I think that he knew I needed to feel like sex could actually be this act of intimacy and love and not just something to get a release. Or you know, just something that adults do, grown ups do that makes them feel good every once in a while. And that was probably the best sex I've ever had hands down. It was just awesome for me because I've never, I guess I've never made love and I hate that term because its rare. And it's just, it was really really good for me to see that men have boundaries too.

FRAME THREE:

And on the way there, he just looks over and he's like 'You're gonna suck my dick tonight'. And that was something I wasn't willing to do, and I told him 'No I'm not'.  And we just went back and forth, him saying, "Yeah you are, you totally are." And me saying, "No I'm not. I'm not into that, I'm not going to do that."

FRAME FOUR:

And we get back to his place and I'm exhausted, I'm drunk, I need a place to stay. And he just kept pushing me down and wouldn't stop touching me and made me suck his dick and the whole time I was just like, "This isn't something I want to do. I didn't ask for this, I actually told you no, vehemently several times. Why are you asking me do this?"

FRAME FIVE:

He coerced me into something that I absolutely didn't want to do. And that should have been enough. For him to realize that that wasn't going to happen. And I was strong enough to say it several times, so what about all those girls that didn't feel comfortable saying it that one time? Who just wanted someone to like them so much or misunderstood the message he was sending and thought, "Well, if I do this, maybe I'll mean something to him."

FRAME SIX:

Rape is, its almost like the ultimate form of rejection. To take a person, and push them down and say there's literally nothing about that person that is worthy.


FRAME ONE:

He just makes me feel strong, like anything I want to do if he's comfortable with it, he'll try immediately and he'll make sure as we're going, "Is that still okay?" And it's just sometimes when I'm with him, nothing else matters when we're together and we just lose everything in each other and we're just consumed and everything else falls away.

FRAME TWO:

You're doing what feels comfortable and you can tell that they feel comfortable. And there's this courteous hesitance that's just so nice.

FRAME THREE:

I felt ashamed of it, I still feel a little ashamed and I know not to but it just like, I'm just terrified that people will find out who it is. Its just that fear of getting back to him and then him denying it and then the he said- she said. And its just terrifying, just horrifying.

FRAME FOUR:

I even went through Google desperately trying to find a way that that wasn't sex. Just like no, that wasn't my first time, that wasn't my first major sexual experience. Just trying to make it not real. Until finally I realized, it was just that crappy, that was my first sexual experience.

FRAME FIVE:

And I said no, and I just thought like, "Oh, he must not have heard," and I was just frozen and empty and scared and so fucking confused. This was everything that I thought that I wanted. And all of a sudden it was a nightmare.

FRAME SIX:

I felt empty and worthless. I felt like I had just been tossed to the side, and I felt like I deserved that.

 

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