Tess Altman

Tess Altman

Karmenife Paulino is a 22-year-old graduate of Wesleyan University and during her freshman year at the college, she was raped.

Paulino took that experience and made it a work of art in her new photo series “Reclamation.” The series was shot on various fraternities on Wesleyan’s campus, as well as the one she was raped in.

“There’s something really powerful and beautiful about dominatrixes and just to be in front of these frat houses and to have these models kissing my feet and worshiping me — there’s an element of humor to it,” Paulino said in an interview with Mic.

Tess Altman

Tess Altman

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Tess Altman

Tess Altman

Tess Altman

The photos were shot by Tess Altman and they’re definitely riveting.

Paulino also realize that she’ll probably catch flack from the outfit she’s wearing, but answered why she chose it.

“I’ve worn that outfit before many times,” Paulino said. “It’s what I feel the most powerful and the most vulnerable in and I wanted to wear it because women who are sexually confident are always demonized in these spaces and in society in general.”

“I’m tired of black respectability politics and people of color’s bodies being viewed as vulgar and ‘too much.”

During her senior year, Paulino also started a support group for rape survivors called the Survivor Support Network to help other people in campus and is now looking forward to providing artists of color in New York City a way to speak out against things that have happened to them.

“I needed to take these spaces that had so much power over me, over my community, over everything, and then have that power completely switched and have it rest on my shoulders,” Paulino stated.

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