CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Brave and the Bold: Women in Freelance or Enlistment

 

 

 

 

 

'I abandoned my life in NYC to go soul searching': One woman reveals why she embarked on an epic odyssey across the globe to find herself

A photographer quit her job in New York -- where she says she was consumed with 'fancy heels and nice clothes' -- to live a simple life on the road. Now she has come full circle, with an exhibition of her work opening in New York City on June 18th. Here, she tells her story:

I grew up in Southern California. My dream since I was five years old was to live in New York City and be an artist, and somehow I always clung to those goals, finally making it to the Big Apple when I was 21.

Once I arrived, all I did was take photos until something clicked and I realized photography was something I can make as my career. But after four years in New York in a real job that paid my rent, but didn't leave me any mental capacity to pursue my art career, I realized I had lost the reason why I came in the first place.

By some miracle I managed to gather enough money and the courage to quit my job and decided to go to Paris -- where I knew almost no one -- to find my authentic self and the path back to my art.

Micaela Mclucas quit her job in New York -- where she says she was consumed with 'fancy heels and nice clothes' -- to live a simple life on the road (photo taken in Denmark)

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Micaela Mclucas quit her job in New York -- where she says she was consumed with 'fancy heels and nice clothes' -- to live a simple life on the road (photo taken in Denmark)

It was so much harder than I could have ever anticipated, not just because I was on a different continent with a completely different language and culture, but I was away from all of the people I loved and the reality that I had abandoned the place that had been in my heart since childhood.

I began to see the world so differently, appreciating just having my coffee in the morning and walking to the local shop and even hearing my friends voices on the phone.

Then I began to travel more, and photograph all of it. The more I traveled the more I felt alive and realized how small I am and how big the world is.

I met so many different people, tasted different foods, swam in different oceans. The color the sun set in each new place would affect me. All of this made me so hungry for more, and so much more curious and fascinated about all that was around me.

Now Micaela has come full circle, with an exhibition of her work opening in New York City on June 18th (photo taken in Ibiza)

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Now Micaela has come full circle, with an exhibition of her work opening in New York City on June 18th (photo taken in Ibiza)

In New York I was consumed with my fancy heels and nice clothes and what bars I needed to be seen at, and all of that is great of course but I no longer needed any of it to be satisfied.

I wandered around Brazil with just a backpack, I fell in love in the other side of the world, I watched the sun rise over the ocean in Spain after being on a freight ferry for eight hours and it was almost the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

Growing up is more a matter of courage than knowledge.

And most importantly, all of these incredible experiences became more and more apart of my art making, my photography.

It all came full circle by most importantly just acknowledging that I wasn't happy enough and doing something about it.

The biggest thing I've gained from this unique experience has been that growing up is more a matter of courage than knowledge: all the information in the world is no substitute for the guts to use your own judgement.

Now I get paid to travel and take photos and meet people and this week has been the most significant event to date. I am back in New York City now with my first solo exhibition at a gallery downtown and I could not be any more humbled and grateful for the place I am now in versus two years ago, and its only just the beginning.

All I can say is to never let go of your dreams and don't be afraid of anything because life is too short and it can be so incredible if you so chose for it to be.

Micaela's solo exhibition, Cirrus, will be at Castor Gallery, 254 Broome Street, New York. It will run June 18th through July 1st. Scroll down for more showstopping photos from her travels...

'I began to see the world so differently, appreciating just having my coffee in the morning and walking to the local shop and hearing my friends voices on the phone,' says Micaela (photo taken in Humlebæk, Denmark)

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'I began to see the world so differently, appreciating just having my coffee in the morning and walking to the local shop and hearing my friends voices on the phone,' says Micaela (photo taken in Humlebæk, Denmark)

'The more I traveled the more I felt alive and realized how small I am and how big the world is' (photo taken in Buzios, Brazil)

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'The more I traveled the more I felt alive and realized how small I am and how big the world is' (photo taken in Buzios, Brazil)

'The biggest thing I've gained from this experience is that all the information in the world is no substitute for the guts to use your own judgement' (photo taken while flying over the North Pole)

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'The biggest thing I've gained from this experience is that all the information in the world is no substitute for the guts to use your own judgement' (photo taken while flying over the North Pole)

'In New York I was consumed with my fancy heels and nice clothes and what bars I needed to be seen at, and all of that is great of course but I no longer needed any of it to be satisfied' (photo taken in Versailles, France)

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'In New York I was consumed with my fancy heels and nice clothes and what bars I needed to be seen at, and all of that is great of course but I no longer needed any of it to be satisfied' (photo taken in Versailles, France)

'It was so much harder than I could have ever anticipated, not just because I was on a different continent... but I was away from all of the people I loved' (photo taken in Petropolis, Brazil)

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'It was so much harder than I could have ever anticipated, not just because I was on a different continent... but I was away from all of the people I loved' (photo taken in Petropolis, Brazil)

'I met so many different people, tasted different foods, swam in different oceans. The color the sun set in each new place would affect me' (photo taken in Ibiza)

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'I met so many different people, tasted different foods, swam in different oceans. The color the sun set in each new place would affect me' (photo taken in Ibiza)

'Now I get paid to travel and take photos and meet people and now... I am back in New York City now with my first solo exhibition at a gallery downtown' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

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'Now I get paid to travel and take photos and meet people and now... I am back in New York City now with my first solo exhibition at a gallery downtown' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

'I could not be any more humbled and grateful for the place I am now in versus two years ago, and its only just the beginning' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

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'I could not be any more humbled and grateful for the place I am now in versus two years ago, and its only just the beginning' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

'All of these incredible experiences became more and more apart of my art making, my photography' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

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'All of these incredible experiences became more and more apart of my art making, my photography' (photo taken in Buenos Aires)

I wandered around Brazil with just a backpack, I fell in love in the other side of the world, I watched the sun rise over the ocean after being on a  ferry for eight hours and it was almost the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen' (photo taken in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro)

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I wandered around Brazil with just a backpack, I fell in love in the other side of the world, I watched the sun rise over the ocean after being on a ferry for eight hours and it was almost the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen' (photo taken in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro)

'Never let go of your dreams and don't be afraid of anything because life is too short and it can be so incredible if you so chose for it to be' (photo taken at the Louvre, Paris)

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'Never let go of your dreams and don't be afraid of anything because life is too short and it can be so incredible if you so chose for it to be' (photo taken at the Louvre, Paris)

 

 

 

 

 

Haunting photo essay depicts the suffering of women who were victims of sexual violence in the U.S. military

  • The Battle Within: Sexual Violence In America's Military is a photo essay by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Mary Calvert
  • An estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year
  • Only one in seven victims reported their attacks, and only one in 10 of those cases went to trial
  • Most victims are forced out of the military after reporting the attacks and suffering from Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist Mary Calvert is revered for putting a spotlight on humanitarian issues that are ignored or that people are not aware of.

While her work - centered on women and children in crisis - has taken her all over the world, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to India, her latest assignment is much closer to home.

The former Washington Times photographer has compiled a photo essay that attempts to expose the widespread sexual harrassment of women in the American military that is going unreported.

Calvert says that an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year, however only one in seven victims reported their attacks.

Heartbreaking: Melissa Bania holds a banner on the foot bridge across from the entrance to Naval Station San Diego. The sexual assault victim is part of a photo essay by Mary Calvert called The Battle Within: Sexual Violence In America's Military

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Heartbreaking: Melissa Bania holds a banner on the foot bridge across from the entrance to Naval Station San Diego. The sexual assault victim is part of a photo essay by Mary Calvert called The Battle Within: Sexual Violence In America's Military

Coping: Virginia Messick was raped by her drill sergeant at Lackland Air Force Base during basic training. Her rapist was convicted of raping 10 women under his command and is serving a 20 year prison sentence. She holds her old uniform at home in Marysville, California

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Coping: Virginia Messick was raped by her drill sergeant at Lackland Air Force Base during basic training. Her rapist was convicted of raping 10 women under his command and is serving a 20 year prison sentence. She holds her old uniform at home in Marysville, California

Help: Dr Nancy Lutwak, Veteran's Administration emergency room physician in New York, opened up a room just for female vets so they could have a safe place to share their experience of being raped in the military and the health problems they face because of the assaults

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Help: Dr Nancy Lutwak, Veteran's Administration emergency room physician in New York, opened up a room just for female vets so they could have a safe place to share their experience of being raped in the military and the health problems they face because of the assaults

Comfort: Meredith Hilderman was a Korean linguist in the US Marines and a newlywed when she was raped by a fellow Marine. Her master Sergeant told her: 'You must have wanted it. You're married and your husband isn't here.' Now out of the military, she sits at her home in her Akron, Ohio

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Comfort: Meredith Hilderman was a Korean linguist in the US Marines and a newlywed when she was raped by a fellow Marine. Her master Sergeant told her: 'You must have wanted it. You're married and your husband isn't here.' Now out of the military, she sits at her home in her Akron, Ohio

Survivor: US Army Pfc. (Private First Class) Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment  by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack

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Survivor: US Army Pfc. (Private First Class) Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack

Getting by: Military rape survivors Jennifer Norris and Jessica Hinves smoke and discuss their assaults late into the night at Jessica's home. Jennifer Norris was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 21 years old. Jessica Hinves, was an Air Force fighter jet mechanic when she was raped by a member of her squadron at Lackland Air Force Base

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Getting by: Military rape survivors Jennifer Norris and Jessica Hinves smoke and discuss their assaults late into the night at Jessica's home. Jennifer Norris was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 21 years old. Jessica Hinves, was an Air Force fighter jet mechanic when she was raped by a member of her squadron at Lackland Air Force Base

Troubled: Jennifer Norris was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 21 years old. In tech school, she fought off the sexual assault of her instructor and later evaded the advances of her commanders. She suffered a campaign of retaliation from her peers after reporting the attacks and now suffers with PTSD

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Troubled: Jennifer Norris was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 21 years old. In tech school, she fought off the sexual assault of her instructor and later evaded the advances of her commanders. She suffered a campaign of retaliation from her peers after reporting the attacks and now suffers with PTSD

Only one in 10 of those reported attacks then went to trial.

She was initially inspired by the case Jessica Hinves, an Air Force fighter jet mechanic who was raped by a member of her squadron.

'After a steady campaign of harassment and retaliation by her fellow servicemen, the case against her rapist was thrown out the day before the trial was to begin by a new commander who said, ''Though he didn’t act like a gentleman, there was no reason to prosecute'',' Calvert wrote on her website.

Hinves was discharged from the military soon after for post-traumatic stress disorder. Calvert says that, like Hinves, most victims are forced out of the service as a result and go on to suffer the effects of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) such as depression and substance abuse.

And so she set out to meet with those victims and document their stories photographically.

The result is The Battle Within: Sexual Violence In America's Military, a stunning and heartbreaking look at how these women have been forced to live their lives.

Overcome: Suzie Champoux mourns the death of her daughter, Army Sgt. Sophie Champoux, who committed suicide under suspicious circumstances after being repeatedly raped while in the US Army. She visits her daughter's grave in Clermont, Florida

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Overcome: Suzie Champoux mourns the death of her daughter, Army Sgt. Sophie Champoux, who committed suicide under suspicious circumstances after being repeatedly raped while in the US Army. She visits her daughter's grave in Clermont, Florida

Suzie Champoux mourns the death of her daughter, Army Sgt. Sophie Champoux who committed suicide under suspicious circumstances after being repeatedly raped while in the US Army

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Suzie Champoux mourns the death of her daughter, Army Sgt. Sophie Champoux who committed suicide under suspicious circumstances after being repeatedly raped while in the US Army

Down: Kate Weber was raped one week into a deployment to Germany when she was 19. 'I just lost everything. I know he was a repeat offender the moment he touched me. He was able to get away with it because the chain of command allowed it.' She suffers from severe PTSD brought on by Military Sexual Trauma when she was in the US Air Force

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Down: Kate Weber was raped one week into a deployment to Germany when she was 19. 'I just lost everything. I know he was a repeat offender the moment he touched me. He was able to get away with it because the chain of command allowed it.' She suffers from severe PTSD brought on by Military Sexual Trauma when she was in the US Air Force

Company: Tiffany Berkland and Elisha Morrow were sexually harassed by the same company commander when they were in basic training after joining the Coast Guard. Elisha thought about faking a suicide attempt to get away from him. They did not report the harassment for fear of being kicked out but came forward when they met a third victim. When their case went to trial, they met a fourth young woman who had been raped recently by the same company commander.  Berkland and Morrow are guilt ridden for not coming forward sooner

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Company: Tiffany Berkland and Elisha Morrow were sexually harassed by the same company commander when they were in basic training after joining the Coast Guard. Elisha thought about faking a suicide attempt to get away from him. They did not report the harassment for fear of being kicked out but came forward when they met a third victim. When their case went to trial, they met a fourth young woman who had been raped recently by the same company commander. Berkland and Morrow are guilt ridden for not coming forward sooner

Dealing: Kate Weber was raped one week into a deployment to Germany when she was 19. 'I just lost everything. I know he was a repeat offender the moment he touched me. He was able to get away with it because the chain of command allowed it.'

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Dealing: Kate Weber was raped one week into a deployment to Germany when she was 19. 'I just lost everything. I know he was a repeat offender the moment he touched me. He was able to get away with it because the chain of command allowed it.'

Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment  by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack. Now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she received a citation at the Pentagon for reporting the assault

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Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack. Now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she received a citation at the Pentagon for reporting the assault

FighterL Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is fighting to take military rape cases outside the chain of command. A recent  Senate vote for her proposed Military Justice Improvement Act, fell five votes short of passing

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FighterL Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is fighting to take military rape cases outside the chain of command. A recent Senate vote for her proposed Military Justice Improvement Act, fell five votes short of passing

 

 

 

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