Melissa Kreider (b. 1993) is an MFA student at the University of Iowa and holds a BFA in Photography from the University of Akron. Melissa’s work examines sites of sexual violence against women and how the justice system archives these reports as well as the evidence that is collected. Melissa explores these subjects by traveling to the addresses pulled from public police logs across the United States and steadily gaining access to police evidence rooms where backlogged rape kits are stored. Her work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally. Melissa Kreider is a Graduate Teacher of Record at the University of Iowa, in the Art and Art History Department. She reads more books then she should and owns a cat named Valentino, who has thumbs. Melissa is the founder and curator of Don’t Smile, an online space dedicated to showcasing photography by women artists.
In Her Own Home
“…the most dangerous place for a woman in this country is her own home,
and she’s most likely to be beaten or killed by a man she knows.”
-Gloria Steinem in an October 2015 interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh
In Her Own Home is a documentary-style project in which Melissa photographs the
sites from which survivors of domestic and sexual violence have emerged to
investigate a landscape where violence is omnipresent. Melissa collects and travels to
the addresses that have been reported as sites for abuse by excavating national
police logs both online or through public records requests. The mundane nature
of the scenes is disquieting to the viewer and the photographer as she has found the locations
In truth, these instances of violence are not isolated to “bad neighborhoods” or
remote areas. Domestic and sexual abuse happens in suburban homes, humble
apartment complexes, public spaces, on your street–everywhere. The events that
make these places unique have not altered the landscape in any way, but represent
lives that have been affected forever.
These are pictures of the nothingness that history leaves behind. Yet they are
haunted by the knowledge of the horror that has taken place there. It is a different
type of violence and tragedy in America–the kind that is not sensationalized but
covered up. These occurrences are ubiquitous and often shrouded in shame or silencing
of the victim. Confronting the viewer with these landscapes pushes the viewer towards
contemplation to start a national conversation around a stigmatized subject. The degrees
of separation between survivors of sexual or domestic abuse and “us” are perceived to be
many. This work is a poignant survey of sites that have been host to events that
1 in 3 American women experience in their lifetime.
To view more of Melissa’s work please visit her website.