Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits

SHARING THE MONUMENT STORIES
 

Rebecca

 

J.

 

D.

 

Clare

 

Tracy

 

Chandra

 

Kathryn

 

Babette

 

 

Barbara

Some Thoughts and Rememberings of My Monument Project Experience

I didn't keep a journal during the weeks that I worked on my square and my poem so now all I can do is to look back, remember and assess. Of course, things do translate differently in retrospect and I am looking at the experience through different eyes for I am changed. As I look back, it was exciting, the first reading of the newspaper article about the Project, the search for a phone number, making the call and signing up to start in a few day's time.

Right from the beginning something inside me said, "I have to do this." I had already been a participant in several women's survivor groups and was still seeing a counselor bi-monthly so I felt confident that I could handle any memories and feelings that might be stirred up in me.

I never really considered the possibility of the Project having any significant impact on me, but I was very wrong. At first, an idea for what I would put on my square simply would not come. Ideas that did come were of obscure images that had meaning for me but would, in my estimation, say nothing to anyone else.

I really wanted something that would have impact on the viewer and say something to them about child abuse. A tall order I suppose. I was having trouble meeting my expectations. Oh well then, I'll just work on the poetry aspect of the Project. Having tried to write before, letters to my abuser and such, with little success and absolutely no satisfaction, I launched into rhyming couplets with a vengeance. My inspiration had to come from somewhere inside and so I went within and remembered and relived. What I found were feelings. How I felt about what had happened to me, something I'd always avoided. Looking back now, months later, that time spent sifting through the memories and feeling the feelings was the most disturbing and painful period of time for me since the sexual abuse I endured.

Still nothing came, no poem, no idea for the square. Then, having just dropped off to sleep one night I suddenly awoke with a complete poem in my head, not of the rhyming variety but poetry nonetheless. I got up, wrote it out and went back to bed. In the morning I realized that somehow, somewhere a dam had burst. A poem was already on paper and ideas for the wax were flowing. Suddenly, I had found my voice. I could write something from my gut from my innermost self that spoke to others.

I couldn't stop writing. The flood gates were open. I felt driven, almost out of control. As scary as it was, a great relief was mine and continues to be mine. For, when old wounds hurt and memories flow, I can give voice to them now. They no longer stay choking in silence deep inside.

The Monument itself, a figure with outstretched arms, even in its small maquette form, gives me a special feeling and I can imagine that in its full size it will reach out in benediction to all survivors who visit it and the squares of its quilted robe will tell the stories of those who made them. Every story different and yet the same.

In closing, I must say that I will be forever grateful that I picked up that out-of-date newspaper and thus began a journey of healing thanks to the Monument Project and its founders. The process of creating this monument has validity in and of itself and I believe that when finished, it will stand in testament to the strength and courage of all survivors of child sexual abuse.

Nothin' New

Well, I told em!
Couldn't help myself
It just spilled out of me.
Was after the church meetin'
All good women you understand
Good neighbours too, most of ‘em any way
But they're talkin about all the bad things happenin'
Happenin' to young kids
And what's wrong these days.
How it must be the TV and all those wicked magazines,
And on and on
And I just couldn't keep my mouth shut
Not one more minute.
"Ya think this is somethin' new?" I ask
"Well, it happened to me and long before there was any TV.
Maybe to some of you too
Or your sisters, maybe your mother
Maybe even your brothers too, I suppose.
I wouldn't know about that.
Maybe it happened after school when you had to stay late
Or in the church basement after choir
Or behind the barn or maybe in that dark little room
Upstairs at the end of the hall
The one with the lace curtains
And flowered wallpaper.
Don't try to tell me
About this wicked modern world
This ain't nothin' new!"

Shame - Fear - Guilt - Silence

Sexual abuse is too heavy
for any child to carry through life.

Barbara Cavin

 

 

 

 

Rebecca

When I first entered therapy I recall saying that I am the weakest and strongest person that I know. The workshops helped me to understand that my only "weakness" was in some of the inappropriate behaviour that I learned to survive. Hence I am not weak. I knew I had strength, but I did not fully understand from whence it came. Now instead of keeping it all separate, I can view myself and my history as all mine, and know the strength and courage I have.

The workshops really helped me to be more real and trust more openly. It has shown me that there are a lot of good people out there, right from Michael's kindness and courage, Angela's devotion, to people's donations for our workshop. I have also had many people that I hardly know come and offer me support. I have had a lot of validation for my feelings of hope.

I want the Monument and travelling show to tell me I do not have to take responsibility anymore for things I had no control over. I think it has helped to put that where it belongs. I want people to look at my square and know it's OK to tell of their pain and understand it was not their fault. I want the monument to say to the community, "Look at the pain you can cause if you act out the secrets in your mind. Treat people with the kindness you have craved. Take responsibility for the action you choose. Protect all children from those who would not."

I found the workshops profound. They have had an impact on me as profound as my abuse history -- only this time it has been incredibly good.

The workshops showed me I could do the art if I trusted myself, open my heart and share my inner most being. When I heard myself criticize and judge my work I could just look at it and accept it without being ruled by old messages.

Rebecca's Martin Arnold Kruze Memorial Forum Address


I stand today before you
Naked in my truth
Pain of my life
Coarsing and ripping through my soul
Binding me to self.
I am empty and alone
Trusting in no one
Never to share?

I cleanse in the warm embrace of others
To stand united
In my reality and yours
To feel the warmth of their being
Pulsating with life

A time to give and time to share
I search to find the harmony within
I will never walk alone again

The monument holds us proudly.
Shame no more.
My choice today.

Rebecca


 

 

J.

The process of creating a quilt square has been empowering and has significantly reduced residues of shame left over from the abuse. I have been in therapy and support groups before, for sexual abuse survivors, and although they have helped me feel less alone with my suffering and less to blame for being a normal, vulnerable child, they have never given me the deep sense of empowerment I felt throughout the workshop process. In the workshops I liked the sharing and the diversity of people in different stages of healing.

When I imagine my sculpture up on the Monument, sealed forever with other survivors' creations, right out there for society to experience our heroism, our courage and our victories to overcome such horrendous criminal offences against child-humanity, I feel a great burden lift from my soul. Like the great Phoenix who flies up and out of the ashes to reclaim life and freedom. My hope is that society will see the flight and the ashes and the power of sharing and that the children of today and of tomorrow will thus be spared. They need to "survive" their childhoods.

Whenever I have shown my quilt square to others, they have all expressed wonder and awe at the powerful impact the square evokes in them. A feeling of empathy and respect. This experience for me, especially in relationship to "non-survivors", validates and embraces the quality of pride and victory I feel over the sexual abuse trauma in my childhood and in the healing I have achieved through a long and arduous period of psychotherapy.

I want the Monument itself to be a memorial that enhances the ability of society to acknowledge the serious nature of childhood sexual abuse in a way that is transforming as opposed to creating resistance and more denial. I want my contribution to be a further letting go of my own memories in a way that empowers me to live my life free of the past and I believe this has already happened.

Through the Monument I want all children who endure the emotional and mental suffering sexual abuse causes to be praised as heroes right up there with Holocaust survivors and Vietnam Vets. That adults who suffered child sexual abuse and who now display dysfunctional behaviours be recognized as victims of sick adults and be respected for the strength and courage it takes to face and heal the pain caused by them.

 

In Memory of Innocence and Freedom

Dear Jackson

Don't ever forget my love
I do this for you more than for me
We were so very little
You more innocent than me
I still see your beautiful eyes,
dancing, still light and joy there,
mine already gone.
I'm so sorry Jackson
little five year old boy,
Your memory will be made immortal now
DON'T EVER FORGET LOVE.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Michael and all,

It's been months, years, since creating my quilt square and my brief
involvement in the beginning of your long journey towards completion of the monument. This morning I decided, on a whim, to visit the web site and see what's up. Amazing developments there and a beautiful, inviting site to browse through. I clicked on the survivor stories and viola! saw my quilt square and the poem I wrote during the workshop.

I had forgotten what I wrote and didn't make a copy so it was wonderful to revisit the inspiration that came from my work. I have moved on in my life to accomplish things I never thought possible, given the damage caused by the abuse in my long torturous childhood.

There have been many healers in my journey and if it weren't for their dedication to healing I would certainly not be alive today as suicide was always in the background. But the creating of my quilt square... well, that was a whole other form of healing - the making public something people can hardly bear to know (thus denial).

I've noticed that people, in general, are more capable, emotionally, of acknowledging abuse to animals than to children. The horror felt while watching animal abuse is, in itself, close to intolerable for feeling people, but they have yet to be emotionally capable of acknowledging with the same intensity of compassion, the horrors of child abuse.

I believe the monument can move everyone a long way towards this degree of compassion without overwhelming them into denial and dispassion. And I believe this has been an underlying goal for the monument project. A proactive method of "reaching out" for recognition of the heroism involved in the journey of healing.

Of course, no one can fully comprehend what is needed to heal from such extensive damage incurred during childhood except other survivors but I believe the monument will come the closest in history we can get to encouraging non-survivors to take a "look", to feel in their hearts a more distinct empathy for the plight of children held hostage by sick parents and to more deeply understand that childhood experiences are carried forever and impact on every aspect of daily living.

I became tearful reading my poem to Jackson. Although much of the abuse has been transformed to scars, there will always be grief. And no matter how much work I do to heal, life situations, people driven by unconscious material and hidden agendas, intimate relationships, always find a trigger somewhere in the abuse baggage and I find yet another piece of healing to do.

I am under no illusion that my life will someday be totally clear of the effects of my childhood, but by the Grace of God I will continue to grow and heal the hurt. Since 1975, when I discovered there are ways to grow I held on to the belief that there is "faith in the capacity to heal" - I created that phrase and it carried me into the depths of every dark corner of my past and out into the light of moving forward in my life, no matter what.

I now believe that a Higher grace exists in all of us - the intangible gift of the "capacity to heal" - Now where would we all be if that was not possible. I do not pretend that this gift is "owned" by humans, or created by us, it came with our conception and the great power of life unfolding itself. It is divine.

Thanks Michael. And thanks to all who have given themselves to your dream for the dream is now manifest and we all may, if we will, absorb not only the magnitude of pain and suffering from surviving horrific childhood abuse, but perhaps also receive a glimpse of our innate knowing that healing woundedness is a journey towards grace.

Much love and gratitude,

Jude

 

 

D.

Through my participation in the workshops, even though I have been an artist, I have begun to experience more comfort and acceptance of my creativity. I feel that I have a greater awareness of my healing in how therapy has guided me toward healing. The Project experience has been like a culmination of all the work I have done in therapy over the last seven years.

I found the workshops a comfortable and safe place to be, both as a survivor and an artist. I felt a great deal of encouragement and freedom to express myself and produce an image that was unique to my healing experiences. I enjoyed watching other individuals evolve in their own healing and find a way to express their experiences in an art form. I was fascinated with the variety of images produced and how personal they were.

I want my work through The Survivor Monument Project to reach out to society in a way that gives survivors a voice not only for personal healing, but also for the increased sensitivity and awareness it will bring; for me to continue to feel empowered to speak out about sexual abuse and use my experience as a way to keep the need for sensitivity, awareness and change alive. The Monument should say to the community: child abuse and sexual abuse is part of our community affecting many. Children continue to be abused regularly and it will take a radical change in our perception of childhood and abuse to rid our society of this tragedy of childhood.

Freedom

Freedom lost
innocence broken
dark holes linger past
empty dreams
forgotten hope

In change
pain travels through
finger tips
touch hurts
in the struggle

life began
in the dark somewhere
tiny sparkles of light
reaching
a lost hope

Climbing past dark holes
finding lost dreams
tiny fingers of innocence
a gentle touch

light moves me slowly
forward to a child
stars in her eyes
reaching for me
old freedom found

 

 

Clare

The experience of doing the quilt workshops has validated me. Ever since I placed my hand in the plaster I have felt more real -- my life is real. I have realized my relationships for what they are and the ones I have are slowly becoming more real.

I want the Monument "to tell my secrets." To give a voice in a chorus of many, so people will finally listen. I want people to realize the woundedness of many can become the healing force for them.

Through the workshops I experienced my creativeness for the first time. I experienced unconditional support for the first time and I experienced a respect for everyone's individuality and work -- for the first time.


Watching the black cold
feeling my terror, my shame
I'm crying desperate and needy for someone...
Not those crazy orange people!

Satan is laughing, the madness of blindness
Dirty yukky stupid girl!
Is there any worth to the life blood?
Slowly, inside the warmth returns
with God,
with grief, with fear of the
birth about to happen
Watching me watching watching
watching
Tenderness in my hand

 

 

Tracy



I feel my participation in the workshops has helped me validate myself and the person I have grown to be. I am able to live fully as an adult, which is something I have doubted most of my life. In creating a beautiful image of the quilt square I connected the outward expressed beauty to who I am. Beauty comes from within -- my abusers did not destroy my spirit after all. The workshop gave me a precious gift to cherish, it gave me... myself.
The quilt square has been an incredible gift to share with my family, friends and community. I have become more confident in telling my story. The shame that crippled me is fading and my participation in the project has helped complete my picture. It reminded me I was abused, but I am not abuse. I will be able to continue sharing this message with those around me.

Often people have a distorted image of abusers and their victims. They feel abuse only exists in poverty. Coming from a well achieved middle class family I feel my story helps educate. "I am simply an average gal." I want my quilt square to add the message that child abuse has a name and a face. Often it is easy to ignore what can be hidden. I can imagine the millions of people who will experience the Monument and leave touched in a very personal way. Directly and indirectly humanity will benefit from the powerful messages the Project is expressing. We are reaching out to our world. More personally I am taking this opportunity to make a permanent statement to myself and my abusers, " I survived."

I want the Monument to say to the community, "Wake up everyone... abuse is real. As horrific as it is, abuse exists and it won't go away if we continue to ignore ourselves." I hope that with this message through the Monument and support projects will come a way to deal with and prevent abuse. I believe with knowledge comes answers and the Monument is a key step to knowledge. It presents a vehicle to ask questions, it promotes awareness. The project then can offer knowledge and people can work together for answers.

My father and brother are artists and both abused me. Although I am capable of creating art, I avoided art forms that reminded me of my heritage. For school art classes I would create alone in my room for fear of criticism from art teachers. I would only show finished projects. Asking for help, and worse being vulnerable enough to get help, was synonymous with abuse. My father was critical, demeaning and shocked when I excelled in art -- so I stopped creating.

My workshop experience was incredible. Only recently in therapy did I risk showing my art. So, I was incredibly pleased with my participation in the workshop, I did not feel threatened by Michael or Angela. I learned, created and was safe. I chose to go in without any detailed ideas of what I wanted to create. This worked for me. I was able to sculpt my feelings from a concept. The workshop then became an experience of growth for me. Michael and Angela are caring people and very capable artists.

From hell to here
Chains of isolation ... alone ... disappearing
Drowning in abuse
Fighting to emerge ... gasping ... breathless
Wishing to die

Awakened by life
Reaching upward through hope
Holding fast .... courage my guide

Today I live ... my journey is only beginning

 

 

 

 

 

Chandra



The workshops helped me to accept my pain as mine and to share and express. It helped me to respect other's accomplishments, to accept my work as being just as special as theirs. We are all together -- and still have our individuality.

I want the Monument to tell others, "It is big time OK to TELL, TELL, TELL, and to stop the cycle."

I was scared to make the quilt square. Scared to tell. I did not want my pictures taken or to have a name on my square. Now I am BIG TIME OK with it. Because there will be silence no more.

 




Silence in the walls of Brick
Made to keep me from the noise without.
I am nameless, faceless, confused.
Scared to have, to hate
Seems to never end
Broken, torn, ripped apart.
Taken away set apart.
Healing wounds I begin to set.
Then given to another set.
Given heaven so I was set.
In God they said to fear
Judge not unless you be judged
Beaten, torn, ripped apart.
Build those walls
Not again. Seems to never end.
Innocence I have kept.
The baby the Rose
Never to forget.
Trying again
Bring down the walls
One Brick at a time.
Healing wounds never to part.
Never again I'm set apart.
Freedom is mine
MINE TO START.

 

 

Kathryn

Reaching Out

How can I help?
I want to leave my personal mark.
Is it possible with this rough raw clump
I call myself?
Wounds are to register in this image.
Hacking life in a mold with cuts and abrasions.
I hear the scream to break the silence
And feel the connection in my fingertips.
Listening has been my venue to release this form.
My pain gives it the lines and the textured detail
This is my art, my venue.
Reaching out to smooth and polish
What I call my soul.

 



A Child

There's a child crying in her sleep
in the darkness she'll sit and weep.
We should all look out for her
She's so frightened and unsure
If she'll reach her hand to us
and to help you know we must
For there in a corner sits a frightened child
so your voice must be gentle very mild.
Take her from her hiding place
Where she's sealed inside a case
Hold her close don't let her go.
That she's loved let her know.
You will ask who the child may be
The child is you the child is me.
(Wrote at age 12) Babette

 


 

Babette

The workshops helped me realize how much I really lost and how angry I truly am. How lucky I am to have found help. It helped me learn to reach out to others for help. To trust and be trusted.

I want my participation in the Monument Project to help stop child abuse. To put it in the community's face. One big roaring STOP. I want the Monument to say to the community: Be aware, listen to the children. For it to help heal those already scarred, to protect those who are unsafe. To say, never think it cannot happen here.

I had a great time and good support in the workshops. I felt a part of something huge. I am a part of something huge. I am.

Alone

All alone
Why she cried
In anger
She died too late
No one saved her
Milk money
None for her
She loved
She hated
Always why
To much, too late
Red
Her blood soaked panties
White
Hot rage she fought
Always why
Too much, too late
Alone
She died too late
Alone
Between love and hate

Visit the

Quilt Square
Meditation Pools
 


I've seen it once and
I don't want to see it
again.
STOPL CHILD ABUSE!

 

 

 

 

 


The hand of a child
who will not be abused.
We can have this
dream come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Child abuse affects
us all, if one hurts,
We all hurt.
Life together!!

 

 

 

 

 


Child abuse affects
children of all voters!
Maria

 

 

 

 

 


Help kids live.
Stop the violence.
Al

 

 

 

 

 


Every life counts.
Carla

 

 

 

 

 


It took 40 years of fear
before I was set free.

 

 

 

 

 


Spanking is not discipline.
Raise a hand to a child
only to hold and love them.
Abuse hurts!
Stop the hurt!
Carmen

 

 

 

 

 


Reach Out to Parents and
caregivers.
No parent should feel
alone.
No child should be
abused!

 

 

 

 

 


Stop child abuse
worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 


Because every child
deserves to smile
everyday...

 

 

 

 

 


"Why would you want to
hit little children?
What have they ever
done to you."
Violence doesn't solve
anything... It only makes
things worse.
Aileen

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hands should bring
someone close to you
not push them away.
Hands are for holding,
not for hurting.
Darlene

 

 

 

 

 


together we are stronger
than along
Bruce and Austin

 

 

 

 

 


My friends are nice.

 

 

 

 

 


Friends last forever,
help those who have
none.
Believe in yourself
and have everything.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
loved inside!
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
real parents.
Everyone has someone
special.
Help those who don’t
know how!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Always know
you are loved!
Chris and Eric

 

 

 

 

 


I'm so proud of you.
Debbie

 

 

 

 

 


Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.
Heather

 

 

 

Make sure
your hand
of support

will be inside
the Monument!

 

 

 


It’s nice to have a
colorful hand.

 

 

 

 

 


Be a friend.
Give a hand.

 

 

 

 

 


Hands for help.

 

 

 

 

 


It is not an easy
thing to live.
Let's work together
to stop ABUSE!
Kimberly

 

 

 

 

 


Be yourself and
trust in yourself.
Vicky


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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)


Your Donations are Needed
to Bring the Child Abuse Monument Home from the Foundry

* Donations *
* Story of the Monument/Phases of the Project * Phase 1: Design * Phase II: Create * Phase III: Implement * Phase IV:Positioning *
* Monument Overview * Monument Project Organization * Project Story - Flash Movie *
* A Healing Monument * Monument as Social Action * A Gift for Allies in Healing *
* Artistic Director: Michael C. Irving, Ph.D. * Assisting Sculptors * Studio Visits *
* Monument Conception/Creation * Monument Sculpting * Casting the Bronze *
* Quilt Square Workshop Participants *
Heroes of the Monument * Facing Challenges * Monument Lessons * Monument Stories
* Self Care Activities for Survivors * Well Being * Creating Coping Lists * Meditation Gallery *
* Information on Child Abuse
* Types of Abuse * Impacts of Abuse * Responses to Abuse *
* Resource Links on Child Abuse *
* Survivor Monument Poetry and Quilt Square Books *
* Awareness Campaign * Research Forum * Cambridge Tour * DAS School *
*
Contribute a HandPrint Message for Placement Inside the Child Abuse Monument *
* Sponsorship as Healing * Sponsors * Local Sponsors * Sponsorship Opportunities *
* Unveiling *


*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2004)