Women shouldn't have to fear being assaulted or raped when walking home.
We shouldn't have to be on our guard at all times, ready to fight back against a shadowed enemy.
We shouldn't have to carry defensive items if we're running to the corner bodega late at night.
But we do.
And one young woman wants to change the culture producing this fear.
Taylor Yocom, 22, recently created a powerful photo series called "Guarded." It features black and white portraits of female students displaying their “safety” objects, including mace and rape whistles.
The objects, Yocom believes, represent a “larger reality of victim blaming.”
Some photos from her impactful project are below, and you can find more, along with more information, on her website.
The "Guarded" series features young women...
...and the items they keep to protect themselves.
Taylor Yocom photographed women at the University of Iowa.
She studies photography there.
Yocom was first struck with the idea during class...
When a group of female students took out their keychains...
...and began comparing the "weapons" they had to protect themselves.
"The men in our class were shocked," Yocom says.
"They didn't even have to think of having these objects."
Yocom believes women shouldn't have to always be on guard.
And they shouldn't have to fear sexual attack or abuse.
She also believes our inherent need to protect ourselves...