Dr. Irving has created
with participation of child abuse survivors
a bronze monument to acknowledge and validate
childhood abuse victims. This monument honours
the spirit and courage of participating
survivors and empowers survivors to speak
out. It has an extraordinary transformative
impact on those who come in contact with
More than twenty years ago,
as a psychotherapist, Dr. Irving was listening
to stories of tragedies inflicted on small
children. Beyond the role of being a good
clinician these stories called out to the
artist in him to take action using the power
of art to bring about understanding and
change. At the Viet Nam Wall in the fall
of 1990 he hand an epiphany about how much
that work of art helped America to heal
from wounds that shared many traits common
to child abuse - post traumatic stress disorder,
vicarious trauma, distancing and denial.
Dr. Irving's epic "Reaching
Out" monument incorporates the artistic
contribution of 276 survivors of child abuse
and their supporters through sculpted quilts.
Measuring 11 feet tall by 30 feet wide,
the bronze sculpture is a vignette of two
figures with arms spread out and upward
in victory and presence.
It is the first major Child
Abuse Monument in the world and while it
offers peace, solace and closure to some
it also has great educational and awareness
qualities to help prevent further abuse.
Dr. Irving worked long hours
from 1996 to the present at this work. Repeatedly
referred to as a masterpiece, it was made
in collaboration with non-professional artists
speaking from their heart and soul to heart
and soul of others.
with Dr. Irving have stated:
"When I imagine my
sculpture up on the Monument I feel a
great burden lift from my soul...I want
the monument to enhance the ability of
society to acknowledge the serious nature
of abuse in a way that is transforming."
"When I had an image
of the Monument, I had a transformation
wash over me. A shame left that I had
never been able to get rid of. I felt
empowered. The change has been permanent."
"I would like to see
the Monument stand for a thousand years
to let future generations know that the
people of our time had a caring side.
That we were aware of the suffering and
tried to do something about it."
Statement by Alice, age 11, to her mother
after contributing a hand for the "Reaching
"Working in the Monument
workshops reaffirmed the power of every
survivor in the forms of courage, creativity,
compassion and friendship found in our
quilt squares. The Monument and all it
stands for is a healing place. It is a
place to rework personal trauma into a
totally hopeful outcome." Participating
"The Monument is a
symbol of blessing for my life. It is
a benediction that my life is worthwhile."
"The sense of 'belonging'
within the 'Project' is enormous. I have
never felt so accepted and true to myself."
"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 Monument is expressing. We
are reaching out to our world." Tracy
Words alone cannot express
what is embodied in this project. According
to Stephen a monument quilt square participant:
"Dr. Irving's self-sacrifice,
undying perseverance and complete dedication
at great financial, emotional and physical
expense for over 12 years to this project
has made him a hero in my, and others,
eyes. Not only did he give up a successful
career to pursue this vision he also suffered
a heart attack last summer due to the
stress. I will be forever grateful to
him for his work.
For me personally,
as well as many others I know, this project
and Dr. Irving has given me great strength
and a sense of closure to my own childhood