What Were You Wearing?
Gender Series

March 6, 2020 — March 20, 2020

What were you wearing? — this is a question that many survivors of violence hear. It implies that the survivor “provoked” the rapist and that there are clothes that are safe and unsafe. However evidence suggests women in any type of outfit and of any age are at risk of sexual abuse.  This exhibition shows that it is worth shifting focus from the survivor to the perpetrator and discuss the true causes of crime.

All ten stories presented are anonymous stories of women and girls living in Uzbekistan. It took one of the organizers, Nastya Cherepanova, two years to collect these stories by building trust. She ensured anonymity to survivors by providing them an option to fill out an online survey form. At the same time Nastya was figuring out a way to communicate those experiences in an ethical way, reaching out to like-minded people and looking for an appropriate and supportive venue.
The first such exhibition was held in 2013 at the University of Kansas by Dr. Mary A.Wyandt Yeber and Jennifer Brockman, after which similar installations began to take place around the world. The exhibits are clothes in which the victim was at the time of the violence. At such exhibitions, you can see jeans, t-shirts, overalls, dresses — all that is in any girl’s wardrobe. This is proved by the fact that the reason for the rape is not the clothes, but the intent of the rapist.

The main goal of the exhibition is to raise people’s awareness of sexual violence and prevent the accusations of victims
— Jennifer Brockman

139 team engaged the audience in story sharing, reflection on reactions to the exhibit, and discussions on how to prevent and resist attempts to blame survivors for violence perpetrated against them. Visitors were provided stickers to write up messages and attach them on hangers, which were installed for the display of their anonymous feedback and/or telling their stories.


Nastya Cherepanova
Born 1993 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

is a Tashkent-based feminist activist, freelance designer and writer, and co-founder of Sarpa Media︎︎︎ an online project gender and human rights. She decided to organize Not Her Fault Fest Tashkent 2020︎︎︎, because she wants to bring people together, and  to live in a society that is empathetic and understanding, and where survivors of violence are supported, not blamed

Vera Sukhina
Born 1995 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Tashkent-based journalist, community organizer and feminist activist. She is a co-founder of Sarpa Media︎︎︎, an online project about lifestyle, sex education, gender and human rights for teenagers and youth. As an organizer, Vera sees Not Her Fault Fest︎︎︎ in Tashkent as “a mobilization of voices, a shout out to people around and a challenge to the government to pay attention to violence against women and take appopriate measures to stop the perpetrators.”

Timur Karpov
Born 1990 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Executive director and founder of 139 Documentary Center and its Gallery. He is a Central Asian documentary photographer, film producer, and cultural entrepreneur committed to human rights, environmental justice, and sustainable development. He has been working extensively as a project lead, film producer, and art manager in the cultural and creative industry, and the non-profit sector for more than 15 years in Uzbekistan and Eurasia.

In Collaboration

This exhibition was part of Not Her Fault Festival︎︎︎ International campaign and DIY-festival in support of domestic violence survivors. “It was your fault ”  is often said to domestic violence survivors. This poisonous stereotype and a crooked intention to blame the survivors of violence for the harm they suffered is deeply rooted in our cultures. Festival organizers together with their friends and colleagues want to actively oppose the culture of violence and victim-blaming and use the March 8th and women’s history month as an opportunity to bring the problem of domestic violence into public discourse once again. Tashkent joined︎︎︎ the 30 cities across Europe and post-soviet Asia as part of a campaign in 2020.

In Program

Activist Talk: Online anti-violence community NeMolchiUz in Uzbekistan
!Women Art Revolution documentary screening
“But I’m not feminist” documentary screening and Q&A with an author