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Weapon of Choice: the invisible scars of emotional abuse can last a lifetime.

"The Weapon of Choice Project was conceived by photographer ©Rich Johnson to provide a visual demonstration of the power of verbal abuse, and it’s meant to provoke a conversation about the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, and bullying.”

"When interviewing subjects about the pain they suffered, Johnson found that in general, physical abuse and emotional abuse were both weapons that the offender chose to use. However, when it came to verbal abuse and bullying, Johnson explained that many people have a “sticks and stones” attitude, not paying tribute to the actual harm that it does to a person. Johnson felt that if people could see these photographs and see the “emotional abuse” in the physical form, more people may take this issue more seriously." -  fstoppers

"We presented each participant in the Weapon of Choice Project with a list of hurtful words, and we asked them to choose a word that had significance to them (some volunteered words we didn’t [have on our list]).  At first, they were just words on list. But as each participant chose a word — the word that would be painted on their body and captured in a photograph — the words took on much more significance." - petapixel

They will be adding new images to their gallery each day in May, and they will encourage productive conversation on their Facebook page.

all images ©rich johnson - spectacle photo

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Powerful Photos Illustrate the Real Damage Done by Verbal Abuse

Most photographs, they say, are worth a thousand words, but these portraits by photographer Rich Johnson each tell the tale of only one word. It’s a word that, in the worst kind of way, can be more powerful than a thousand others.

Called Weapon of Choice — to represent the abuser’s choice to use these words to harm — this project was a collaboration between photographer Johnson, make-up artists and victims of both verbal and physical abuse.

(Continue Reading)

Sticks and stones (trigger warning)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…” Artist Rich Johnson dispels the old saying with a powerful collection of images.

The Weapons of Choice project strives to provide a visual demonstration of the power of verbal abuse

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These photos aim to provoke conversation about the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, and bullying.

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"We called the project “Weapon of Choice” because we found that physical abuse and verbal abuse often go hand-in-hand, and the choice to render emotional harm rather than physical harm is just that: a choice" - Rich Johnson

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Professional Makeup artists donated their time to the project to create realistic looking injuries on the models.

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"The scars of emotional abuse are invisible, and victims of abuse don’t often talk about it." -Rich Johnson

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"I want people who are quick to dismiss bullying or verbal abuse to take a second look. We’re going to make the use of these photos free for non-profit organizations serving victims of domestic violence, child abuse, or bullying, and I hope they can use these photos to spread awareness of the problem" -Rich Johnson

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According to the project crew, the younger children who took part said the word they identified as the worst word, the word they were shy to say aloud - the word they only dared to whisper - was “stupid.”

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"A lot of people have a "sticks and stones" attitude towards bullying and verbal abuse, but I kept hearing stories about how deeply it affects people. I felt that if people could see these photographs, more people might take this issue seriously" - Rich Johnson

Most of the children who participated had been affected by bullying, and they told Rich and his team about their experiences.

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Some of their stories surprised not only the project crew, but also the children’s parents, who in some cases had never heard about the experiences the children recalled.

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"It’s one thing for a parent to volunteer their children to participate in an anti-abuse campaign, but once they showed up to the studio and saw the list of hurtful words that we had prepared, they were uncomfortable picking out a bad word that would be painted on their kid’s face. Some parents couldn’t do it, and they said they trusted me to pick the word. A word has a lot more gravity when you contemplate literally wearing it on your face."  - Rich Johnson

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"My brothers and sisters and I were all abused as children — physically and emotionally. For me, I feel like the verbal abuse hasn’t had a life-long impact, but I know that for some of my siblings, it’s deeply affected their lives." - Rich Johnson

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"There were people that I’ve known for a long time who participated in this project, and I heard personal stories of abuse that really surprised me, stories I had never heard … It was a cathartic experience for a lot of us" - Rich Johnson

Rich discovered that much of the verbal abuse directed at women and teen-aged girls was sexual in nature.

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The woman who had posed for this picture was once often told that she was “less than trash.” Being called “trash,” she said, would have been an upgrade.

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"One thing that really became apparent during the shoot is that in any abuse situation, there are three people: the abuser, the abused, and a witness. I don’t think I’ve ever been the abuser in my life, but I realized that I’ve been a passive witness to abuse — I didn’t do anything to report it or stop it — and that’s just as bad." - Rich Johnson

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Source 

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From ThanosCopter at Outhousers:

The Outhouse was first contacted late last week about the publisher’s plans and spent the rest of the weekend trying to obtain a colloborating account.  Not only did we obtain confirmation, we also learned that Dan Didio had publicly hinted at DC’s plans to bring back Stephanie Brown on his facebook page, stating that the character did not exist in the rebooted DC universe…yet.  While that’s not much to go on, it is a noticeable reversal of his other public comments, both at conventions and on social media, that left no room for speculation about the future of the former Robin/Batgirl.

It should be noted that none of our sources acknowledged the role that fan pressure played on these plans.  In fact, we first learned about the discussions taking place in DC before W-Day, a planned protest of DC by hundreds of upset Batgirl fans that occured over the weekend, took place. 

At this point in time, even our sources admitted that there’s very little to go off of.  There’s no set books being worked on or creative teams working on pitches.  All we know is that conversation is actively taking place within the company to bring several fan favorites back down the line.  Whether this nugget is enough to sate the anger and anxiety of the thousands of fans that spammed DC’s facebook page over the weekend is unknown, but it does seem to be a glimmer of hope for fanboys/girls everywhere.

When a reader on Facebook thought this was a parody article the editor on The Outhouse Facebook responded:

In this case, we are not joking around (SHOCK!). This is verified and corroborated. We did, like actual, journalism and stuff.

Additionally a thread on CBR in the Stephanie Brown appreciation thread that posted and discussed the article and their skepticism due to the site’s members in the past being adamant against Cass and Stephanie got a response and confirmed their article yet again:

Hi, I’m the guy who runs the Outhouse’s front page. While I won’t deny that there’s some who dislike the characters’ fanbase on the board, it doesn’t mean that we dislike the character. Also, the linked article is 100% serious with verified sources and collaboration from other journalists.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Rich Johnston the reporter for SDCC that dug out and leaked the information that Stephanie was pulled out of Smallville also posted on Bleeding Cool forums a response to the Facebook response from Didio:

Well there’s a thing.

Much has been made of DC Comics’ seeming disdain for the Stephanie Brown character, whether Spoiler, Robin or Batgirl. But of late it’s been getting ridiculous, wiped from the New 52, ripped out of Batman Inc and recently removed from Smallville in the role of Nightwing, to the extent taht they even denied they’d announced she’d be in the book. And inspiring the Waffles For Stephanie campaign to bring the character back.

I didn’t buy it entirely. It smacked of DC Comics playing with the fanbase, as a precursor to bringing the character back in a big way. But I was told by some closer to Dan DiDio that no, he hates the character, and there’s not a chance of her return.

Still don’t buy it it.

Especially since yesterday, he posted this on his Facebook page

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It should be noted that Didio despite having a bad rep for flat out lying or giving false leads (“Big Plans for Cassandra Cain!”) he does have an obnoxious habit of also being a giant tease (on the side of being cruel) when actually doing something what fans want. This is what Rich has noticed and has commented on this before.

Might I remind people that back when Stephanie was actually dead and fans wanted her to have a memorial, DC had a Didio “Christmas List” the winter of 07 concerning what was to come and what characters wanted. Tim, Robin, on that list was written to have asked DC for a memorial case for Stephanie. The question was scratched out and the response written by it ” No can do kid” or something of that ilk. She was shortly brought back being alive after all by Dixon the next year. 

So there are mixed messages going on. However the comment seems pretty loaded. Does this mean a full reboot to the character? Surely Cassandra Cain will have a new backstory now that her mother is presumably a contemporary of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon and not Batman. Rookie level all over again?

Ignoring what Didio said, the fact that Outhousers did obtain information that DC are having discussions about bringing back fan favorite characters is still somewhat encouraging as it could also mean other great characters that got displaced by the reboot; Kate Spencer, Renne Montoya, Donna Troy, Misfit, among others are in line to return.

What do YOU think?

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