COMFORT WITHIN ME

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COMFORT WITHIN ME

Olive is one of those rare people you find that you actually idolise in some way, well I do. To me, she is a girl with a huge heart who is the perfect balance of kind and honest as well as being the owner of an admirable sense of humour. She seems to have an impact on everyone she meets shining confidence wherever she goes. It seems that bad things commonly happen to the best people, but despite the negative instance that so suddenly occurred in her life, Olive remains the lovely, supportive and positive person she has always been bouncing back with even more strength than she possessed before. 
This shoot was incredibly special as it represents a step forward for her since she was sexually assaulted in her own home by a man helping them move house. After remaining largely silent about the issue, Olive made a video explaining what happened to her which gained the admiration and respect of so many of us as it requires an inconceivably large amount of strength to speak out about an issue like this. Olive speaks about how many women remain silent when it comes to sexual assault or rape and how important it is to speak out. Continue reading to gather more insight into Olives story.
Why did you want to do this shoot?
Well I guess I wanted to prove to people that you can overcome whatever life throws at you e.g. being sexually assaulted really made me self-conscious of my body. I felt like if I wore less clothes, it would happen again. But this shoot was to prove (maybe mostly to myself) that I bounced back, that I love my body regardless of what other people do or think. So there is that, and I also just love working with Soph.
What happened to you?
I was sexually assaulted about 3 months ago by a man who we had hired to help us move house.
How has that affected you?
It made me really self conscious of how much skin I was showing because when I was assaulted I was in a singlet and shorts. I thought it was my fault that he thought it was okay to touch me, therefore I went through a stage of wearing more clothes than I wanted or covering up when anyone looked at me. I wouldn’t even look in the mirror. I found it hard to be myself.

When did you start to feel more like yourself?
It probably changed three weeks after I was assaulted. I was so sick of how I was acting and feeling. I have struggled with my weight before. What happened was not my fault and I thought I didn’t deserve to feel like this at the mercy of somebody else. I want to be proud of my body and my image. I was tired of being afraid of every man that looked at me sideways due to my clothing. Being sexually assaulted affects people in many different ways and this was how mine came about. Self hate and self consciousness.
What made you want to talk about your experience so much?
I started hearing more and more stories of women who had been raped or molested and didn’t say a word to anyone. This makes me feel sick. Some men think that we are inferior and will not speak up or at least try to protect ourselves. They are so wrong. I really want to start doing talks to younger women around New Zealand along with people who have been through similar things. I think it’s so important to raise awareness, combat it happening a second time or even the first time. I want to get schools to teach self defence classes or have local community centres teaching people how to get out of a situation where they don’t feel safe. What also shocked me was about 1 in 5 of my male friends have also experienced sexual assault. When they told their friends, they were told to “man up” or got high fives or even got told to shut up because they should ‘love it’. Sexual assault happens to both females and males. It is most definitely not one sided.
What do your tattoos represent if they represent anything?
Well the wave on my right side probably represents the fact that I grew up at Bethells beach and I have always loved the ocean and how something so beautiful is so dangerous. Then the daisy on my left is mostly there because I like daisies but it also marks acceptance of my own body. I’ve grown to become more comfortable with my shape over the past few months. Our bodies are amazing and do spectacular things. As long as you are happy with yourself, why should you change? I definitely plan to get more tattoos.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who had been sexually assaulted?
Make sure they know that they can speak out about it. They have a voice and they should use it. They may be scared to talk to someone about it because the fear of getting hurt or hurting someone else but the truth is, in this moment, nothing is more important than your own physical and mental health. You don’t need to be strong for other people. There will always be people out there who can help you if you speak up. It’s okay to be afraid but just make sure you’re looking out for yourself.

How did it feel being so bare in front of the camera?
It actually felt really normal, we had so much fun. I was a little nervous at first but after a few test shots I was loving it. Modelling is something that I used to be in two minds about but working for people like Sophia makes me fall in love with this crazy industry, even more so when beautiful lingerie is involved.
What is something you wish you could change about society?
Haha what would I not change about society! So many things need work and to be changed. I don’t even know where to begin. I should write a book.
What makes you feel confident?
Being organised, being on time and looking nice – you know the whole look good feel good gig.
What’s your favourite pizza topping?
Ooooo anything with cheese.
Tea or coffee?
Both but I maybe drink 3-5 cups of tea a day.
What do you think of sonderingg.com?
I love this blog so much! It’s an excellent platform and I really enjoy reading all soph puts out along with her beautiful photography.
*photography by Sophia Doak & intimates by Rachel Rara

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