I told my rape story again yesterday. But I did not just tell it, I relived it. And that’s exactly the issue that victims face, we just don’t want to relive our horrifying experiences. Unfortunately, acts of violence against women only continue, as we are encouraged to sensor our stories from the public sphere.
I told my rape story again yesterday. This time was different. I lost control of the details, and I shared them in full. I remembered not being able to move, the Hills Have Eyes in the background, and the illegal switchblade casually in his closet. My memories took over the story, and filled in the blurred lines. Some say that by writing about rape experience, we perpetuate the problem. May I ask then, why does the problem persist?
All the details came back. Giving my statement seven times between my friend’s dorm room, the station, and the hospital. The immediate response when I told my parents that their just 18-year-old daughter needed them more than ever before. The rape kit. The rest of the mortifying details are best left in my artwork.
More than 12 years later, the details came back. I’m in the room, on the bed, at the floor. But this time the details are here to stay. Not for pity, not for shame, but to bring light even just briefly to a problem that still exists.
I told my rape recovery story again yesterday. This time it was charged with purpose - to be a change maker. I spoke about how I used to call my house dance family in New York and say “I just need to sweat.” No questions asked. We would dance the pain away, and I would share the details in movement. Let’s not just speak of our trauma, but also bring forward our recovery.
I told my rape recovery story again yesterday. Painting with my hands on canvas laid down in Van Cortlandt Park. Writing between the lines of poetry. Researching female artists whose voices had been hidden behind the literary canon. Elevating these voices in scholarly articles. Bringing forward #womenintech and #techinclusion solutions. Let’s not just speak about our trauma, but participate in a community who shares solutions for our desire to change.
I founded ArtherapyHQ for many reasons, and yes, providing solutions to women, who have experienced violence, is one of them. If this story moved you, please share, comment, or best of all Join the Movement.
We are looking for Change Makers for our digital and in-person community. You do not need to be an artist to be a member of our community, just to be open to learning new methods of expression. If you want to join our international team, please contact us directly at www.artherapyhq.com/contact.