US based photographer Mary Calvert was granted The Canon Female Photojournalist Award 2013 (by the Association of Female Journalists, AFJ). The winning project is named The war within: sexual violence in america’s military. The $8000 price granted by Canon will be given to Mary Calvert on September 7th 2013 during the 25th International Festival of Photojournalism Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan (France)
Quoting Mary Calvert:
When I heard about the rape epidemic in the US military, my anger drove my vow to gather and amplify the stories of women assaulted by the very institution that espouses to protect people of our country. For the last several month, I have begun photographing MST survivors around the US. How do they live? Why are rape and sexual assault so prevalent in the US armed forces? Why are victims ignored and the abuse considered simply a breach of conduct and not a criminal offense? Why are women soldiers in America’s military discharged with personality disorders at a disproportionate rate to male soldiers? With the United States promoting itseld as a beacon of freedom and human dignity to the rest of the world, how does it win the war of ideas in places like Afghanistan, where our leaders decry the abuse of women by the talibans, while allowing the same abuse? These are the some of the questions I will answer and show. With making this story come alive, I believe my project will put a human face on the victims and then move the public to action, thereby forcing the US government and military to change military law and its policy on rape and sexual misconduct, punish the perpetrators and bring justice to the survivors of MST.
The Canon Female Photojournalist Award for 2013, presented by the French Association des Femmes Journalistes (AFJ), has been awarded to American photographer Mary Calvert for her proposed project on sexual violence in America’s military forces.
The 2013 Canon AFJ Award jury – including Magali Jauffret (L’Humanité), Delphine Lelu (Visa pour l'Image), Romain Lacroix (Grazia), Nicolas Jimenez (Le Monde), Andreina De Bei (Sciences et Avenir) and from the AFJ: Brigitte Huard (AFJ), Catherine Lalanne (Le Pèlerin) and Florence Panoussian (AFP) – agreed to support Mary Calvert in her work.
Before beginning her freelance career, Mary Calvert worked as a staff photographer for 11 years on The Washington Times newspaper in the USA. While the bulk of her daily assignments focused on covering Congress, political campaigns and The White House, her true photographic passion was, and continues to be, documenting the humanitarian struggle of women around the world.
Calvert explained: “I believe my project will put a human face on the victims and then move the public to action, thereby forcing the US government and military to change military law and its policy on rape and sexual misconduct, punish the perpetrators and bring justice to the survivors…”
The Award – now in its 13th year and carrying with it a prize of €8000 from Canon France – is supported by Le Figaro Magazine and will be presented to Calvert on the evening of 7 September during the 2013 Visa pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France. The prize money provides the necessary funding for her to complete the project within one year. The work will then be revealed during 2014’s Visa pour l’Image Festival.
French photojournalist and Canon Explorer Sarah Caron won last year’s award for her planned project on Pashtun women in Pakistan. The other previous winners were Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Martina Bacigalupo, Justyna Mielnikiewicz, Brenda Anne Kenneally, Axelle de Russé, Veronique de Viguerie, Claudia Guadarrama, Kristen Ashburn, Ami Vitale, Sophia Evans and Magali Delporte.