Sexual harassment is never an easy subject to talk about. It’s made even more nerve-wracking by the fact that survivors often feel invisible, like they don’t have a place to tell their stories.
Photographer Eliza Hatch is trying to give victims a voice and a sense of empowerment with her photojournalism project, Cheer Up Luv. The project aims to amplify the voices of sexual harassment victims by telling their stories and photographing them in the places where they were sexually harassed.
“I was at British Summertime Festival, when a group of guys started bothering me. I asked them to leave me alone but they persisted. Then to spite me, one of them stuck his hands between my legs, up my skirt, and took pictures of my crotch. He then sent the photo to his friends, who I saw looking at the picture. I snatched the phone, ran through the crowd to the police, but they said they couldn’t do anything. They then made him delete the picture, my evidence. I felt a sense of shame.”
"I was on the subway, and I was approached by an older man who started asking me questions. We were the only ones on the platform, and he asked me if I was single, if I was a lesbian, and finally, 'Can I show you my penis?' He was cornering me between the platform and the edge, luckily the train pulled in at that moment, otherwise I don't know what he would have done."
"When I was in year 7, I was walking home in east London and a man stopped me and asked for directions. After I told him, he asked me, 'Are your nipples big or small?' I thought I misheard so I said, 'What?' He stepped closer and asked me again. - I ran all the way home."
"One day I was in the subway in Paris, waiting for the metro and a man in a suit came along and started talking to me. He asked for my number because he wanted to give it to his friend who thought I was beautiful. I said no to him, and he said I was arrogant. He stayed next to me, staring at me for what felt like hours until the train came. Then he spat on my shoes three times and nobody in the station moved a finger. I got in the metro and the man stayed on the platform, and went straight to another girl."
“My Dad dropped me off at the station and I was waiting for my delayed train with a massive suitcase and only one other girl on the platform. Then this weird man came up the stairs and was staring at me so much. So I moved away from him and he followed me and stood next to me. So I moved again but it kept on happening. I wanted to call someone but he was standing right there. Then the train came but I didn't know what carriage to go in because I didn't want to be near him. So I got all my stuff and when I looked up, he has his face pressed up against the window between the carriages...staring at me."
"At a pub I was working at, this guy who was maybe in his mid 30s and friends with the managers, constantly harassed me. Asking me out and saying he'll 'destroy me.' One of the nights we were staying after, having some drinks with some of the other staff and he was continually putting his hand up my legs. He was trying to get in my skirt and saying I was a p**sy for not sleeping with him.”
"After spending an evening accepting tips from a drunken customer at a bar I worked at, I walked through the bar with a bucket of ice, and he tore open my top and plunged a hand of ice down it. When I complained he said he wanted his money back."
"I was at a bar in LA and I began to walk across the deck towards the stairs leading to the grass. It was cramped out there so I squeezed by the people standing against the wall, then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and this guy leans forward, stretching himself just centimeters from my face and tried to force a kiss on me. I told him to f*** off and asked what his problem was to which he replied, ‘Ugh, f***ing b****.’"
"I was walking past a group of guys and one tried to grab my arm to get my attention. I took my headphones out and looked at him in disgust whilst he asked me, 'Oi, where you from?" I literally thought 'not today,' so I continued on my journey. As I walked off I heard his friend say…’She's ugly anyway.’"
"When I moved to Paris, I didn't know my way around the city and stopped to ask a man for directions back to the flat I was staying in. The man told me where to go and then proceeded to follow me home, begging me to kiss him. By the time I reached my door, I was pretty scared and didn't know what to do. I opened the door, walked through and tried to close it before he could get in. But he wedged his foot in the door frame so I couldn't shut it! The only thing that I could do was to pull him in as if to kiss him then shove him really hard so he fell out the building and I was able to slam the door on his face."
"The amount of times a guy won't leave me alone in a bar or a club is countless. Or I've been beeped at by a car driving past. That's the worst because then they can just drive off and you feel pissed off and helpless but can't even do anything. Actually just recently I was out dancing and a guy behind me decided to take that as an invitation to grab me on the hips and grind on me."
"One morning I was running in the park and noticed two men watching me. I immediately felt uncomfortable and tried to ignore their stares. I then took a break to stretch. The men approached me and one said 'Can I ask you something?' to which I responded 'Depends what it is.' His response: 'Do you want to have a threesome right now?' I told them to walk away and I continued to stretch. They didn't walk away. Instead they thought they would ask another question. 'Can you stop bending down like that? It's getting me really hard.'”