*Trigger Warning for survivors of sexual violence please do not read the following if the topic of sexual violence may trigger you.*
7 Days Bleeding & Many More Healing - Part 1. This is a Fine Arts piece that I have had in mind for roughly two years now. Please do not victim blame here. Be kind.
This painting visualizes my most violent sexual assault experience. The incident caused so much damage to my body that I bled for seven days. I was terrified that I was not going to be alright because of the pain and damage this caused, but I did not tell anyone. As a minor, I was afraid to tell the truth because of my abuser's threats on my life if I were to say anything. For months no one knew what happened to me and I felt so alone.
My rapist abused me sexually, emotionally, and physically for a year and a half. They used fear to keep me silent for two years. When I decided that I was willing to risk my life to finally be free, my life changed. I took the person to court, and made it so they could no longer come near me. I worked hard to attend a college over a thousand miles away from my home. I have successfully done everything my abuser told me I was not strong enough to do. I no longer let fear control my life and I will serve as an advocate for my fellow survivors.
Looking back on my life since I was sixteen, I am proud of how far I have come. I did not anticipate surviving what I have and being here to tell my truth through art. This is me regaining the narrative. This is me using the body I was not in control of under my abuser. In this series my body is a paint brush, a weapon of mass creation, and my own. It is not just #metoo are resilient, brave, persevering... We are survivors and we made it.
My advice to other survivors is to know you are not alone, understand this is not your fault, take your time to heal, and there will be people to help you, find them and let them in.
If you need help please call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.