DONNA FERRATO’S WEAPON FOR WOMEN
By: Andrea Yan
Donna Ferrato is known for her photos that expose domestic violence. She is a photojournalist and activist for feminism.
Ferrato annotates her photos with handwritten captions, which give crucial context in understanding the situation in which the photo was taken.
One of her most famous photos is “Rita.” In the photo, Rita has two black eyes as a result of her husband’s violence. Rita’s photo ran on the cover of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and nine years later, on the cover of Time magazine.
In 1982, Ferrato photographed a husband slapping his wife. The husband was angry because he couldn’t find his cocaine, and took his anger out on his wife. Ferrato can be seen in the background through the mirror snapping the photo. Ferrato says after the first hit, she stopped him.
Another one of Ferrato’s more famous photos is a picture of an unusual family. There is a single mother holding her daughter with an amputated arm. The backstory is even more heartwarming. Minnie Evans was diagnosed with bone cancer while pregnant with her child. Her doctor advised her to get an abortion so she could do chemotherapy. Her love for her unborn baby was so strong that she would have rather lost her arm than her baby.
Arguably her most compelling picture is “Diamond, Minneapolis, MN.” Police officers were called to a home from an 8-year-old who reported that his father was beating his mother. The three officers take up most of the frame, with the woman safely shielded from further harm by the officers’ bodies. One police officer pins a man’s arms behind his back while searching the man’s pockets. The boy is enraged; he points his finger at his father and seems to be screaming at the man. As stated in the caption, the boy shouts “I hate you for hitting my mother. Don’t come back to this house.”
Donna Ferrato’s photos capture the raw emotions of women and their families in abusive situations. Her photo’s show the world the dangers of a world where men dominate. These photos encourage people to fight for women’s rights, which is more important than ever after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
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