On February 14, 2013 I was honored with the task of photographing the Rise against Violence towards Women event that took place on California State University San Marcos’s campus. This Valentine’s Day was filled with new forms of celebrating. Organizations that provide services on campus and from around town manned booths that provided information and resources for safe sex. The crowd began to build and the flash mob had made the statement to “Stand Up and Rise Against Violence.” Women gave speeches, recited against the heinous indignities forced on the feminine species, preached towards intolerance for those that so easily turn their heads at the problem, declared emotions and reclaimed their identities by honoring themselves and others.
The media had stated that this was an event for women. Supposedly, only woman were asked to rise up and take the stand. In our atmosphere, not only women rose to make the statement, but all genders and creeds came together to bear witness. Contributions to the statement were literally posted on the ground and raised high from banners.
I chose to create this photo of the event as the crowd was beginning to part. One of the Fraternities was gracing people with roses in honor of Valentine’s Day as the event was being carried out. I thought, “How appropriate it is to share a red rose…” for all that the red rose has stood for throughout the centuries: love, delicacy, prickly thorns, passion, loss. How many red roses were given with dishonorable intentions? How many sentiments of love were truly sincere? Does it even hold true meaning anymore? For the innocence lost and for the love that the act of sex is supposed to represent.


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