Here we are!
We have decided that a blog might be a useful addition to the Still Not Asking For It website, and what better way to start, than an introduction to the creators of SNAFI?
So here we are!
I am Ashley, and I’ll start out. I have been working in the tattoo industry for 15 years, starting out in North Carolina, heading up to NYC, and now at Yellow Rose Tattoos in SLC, Utah. The idea for Still Not Asking For It started in the summer of 2015, and in October of 2015, we hosted the first fundraising event at Allied Tattoo in Brooklyn. We chose Allied Tattoo because we had known Andy Perez & Benjamin Haft for years, and I felt genuine support from them along with the other members of their shop, throughout my personal experience with sexual assault, in the year leading up to this idea.
Still Not Asking For It was born from the despicable reaction, by my tattoo community, to my experience. This is not to say that none of the tattooers in my community reacted to my experience in a way I found appropriate, but there were enough inappropriate reactions to compel me to do something. I did something because I don’t want to sit back and just hope that things get better. Activism is new to me. It’s not natural for me to demand attention or act as a leader, but I felt compelled to go for it, regardless. I assessed my position in the world, and hosting a flash event seemed to be the most effective move I could make. Thanks to my wonderful friends in the tattoo community, I was able to not only let my point of view be seen & heard, but also raise some money in the process. I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it a million times more, but those two benefits are dull in comparison to the feelings that result from the flash event days. Everyone involved - the tattooers, volunteer helpers & clients all come together and bring so much positive energy into the shop. People are bringing solidarity, recovery & hope with them when they show up to these events. This, to me, is a superior feeling to any other I typically feel.
Now I’m rambling, so I’ll give Jessica a chance to “speak.”
Hi there! I’m Jessica, a bar and restaurant owner in San Diego, California. I met Ashley while living in Brooklyn and quickly realized that we were going to become best friends. Ashley came to me after a work trip with the terrible news that she had been sexually assaulted. I was absolutely mortified. There is no worse feeling than knowing your friend was alone and in trouble, her trust and safety violated and her life changed completely in one night. When she first disclosed this information to me, she didn’t know what her next step would be. This person is a part of the community of people she, and I, spent most of our free time with. Once she decided to let some of the other tattooers in her circle know about the assault, the response was not what anyone expected. So many people who had told her she was special to them sided with her abuser. They did not shun him, they did not speak out against his actions, instead they questioned Ashley in the ways we are all so used to hearing about.
Very soon after these reactions she came to me with an idea to do something good for people who have had a similar experience. As a survivor of sexual assault, I was on board and ready to do whatever was needed to make it happen. This is how I became a partner in Still Not Asking For It. This benefit means so much to so many people. I cannot begin to describe the energy in the room before, during and after our first event in Brooklyn at Allied Tattoo. The stories that I heard from participants that year are the reason that I continue to work on this project. Many of our first year participants come back to the shop each year, some from states far away, to show their support for survivors and for a lot of them, to reclaim their bodies with a small yet powerful reminder that they matter, what happened to them matters and that there are people working to make sure they are heard.
This year, Still Not Asking For It is growing much larger than either of us ever expected. With the help of so many kind-hearted and generous tattooers, Still Not Asking For It will reach across the USA, to Canada, Europe, Russia & Australia! We hope you can join us on June 10th, to let the world know that there is no room for dismissal or acceptance of the issues surrounding sexual violence.
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” -Alice Walker