‘I would like to share, how the #metoo and anti-sexism campaign helped me to find the courage to face nude pictures of myself and a colleague. Nothing wrong with nudity and these pictures that were taken during a performance. But this time, I found the pictures ripped from their context and exposed to a very doubtful and pornographic website.

Before the start of the creation of the performance, I signed a contract with the company that gives them permission to use pictures from the performance for publicity. First of all, this contract is putting me as a performer in a very vulnerable place, as you don t have any say on which pictures will be used and from which angle they will be taken. The contract seems to be missing some extra points to protect the privacy of the performer.

The website on which I am exposed has nothing to do with publicity, neither the company and is completely out of context. The website is exposing nude woman in a pornographic context. I bumped into this site by googling my name one year ago. Meaning that anybody googling my or my colleague’s name could be directed to this embarrassing and harmful website. At that time I laughed with it and waved it away as something that I have to deal with as part of my profession. I was somehow hoping it would disappear in the webs of the net. But of course, it didn’t and a few days ago, I bumped into it again. This time, strengthened by the #metoo and anti-sexism campaign, I could witness with courage my feelings of distress, the disrespect of how I am exposed and that these feelings are legitimate enough for an action to be undertaken.

While writing,… I am full of wonder that it took me so long in order to be able to see my own feelings as legitimate. How shame, silence, secrecy and isolation trapped me. I broke the silence and spoke about it with two friends. It gave me the courage to write the company to give hearing to my distress. To my delight, they reacted with an immediate juridical procedure towards the website. The speed of their reaction, makes me wonder what took me so long to take action. The fact that it took time for me to ask for respect, made me compensate and harm myself. I believe that this non-acting, is also an action. It has not only harmed myself, but also my environment. I see how this is true in the opposite movement. The courageous out-coming, is contagious. Thank you!’

– Nelle Hens, 05/01/2018


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