In the spring of 2019, I met a woman at a London train station. We talked, and we laughed, she was witty and she came across very kind, caring and intelligent. Every so often we met. Suddenly she said to me: 'I was physically abused for a very long time.’ I looked into her eyes and my heart cringed. She lowered her head and I said: ‘You do not have to feel ashamed, it's not your fault, your partner should be ashamed!’ Relieved to hear me say this she looked up and said: ‘I survived.’ ‘Yes,’ I replied: ‘not so many do, so you must be incredibly strong.’ She showed me her beautiful smile, her dark brown eyes sparkled, and answered: ‘yes I am.’ I hugged her and told her to take good care of herself. When I stepped into the train, she gave me a high five and said: ‘I am strong!’
Every day women and girls experience violence and get abused with not always a good ending. Abuse comes in all kind of forms and within all types of relationships. Not only heterosexual also within lgbtqi+ relationships. The healing path is long and difficult, and nobody understands. Some end up homeless, some are not able to work anymore. They have to deal with excruciating pain within. They have nightmares, are scared, have flashbacks, anxiety, depressions, let alone the fear of intimacy; not being able to trust anymore.
They are the women and girls you see in the street, your neighbours, friends, in school, maybe even your teacher and you probably do not even know. The shame is huge. It is often silent suffering. Cultural backgrounds play a role and frequently women are not even taken seriously because they do not have any bruises on the outside. And then I haven’t even mentioned those who do not survive but are murdered. 87000 in 2018 alone, and who knows how many more we do not even know about.
THE ART PROJECT
Because of that, I decided to make an art project with survivors of (domestic) abuse to paint their portraits and narrate & illustrate their story to be published in a beautiful book. Four brave women collaborate with me. It will change their perspectives, and it will give hope to those who still suffer.
THE POWER OF ART
Art is cathartic art has healing power; in creating it as well as looking at it. Art creates a safe space where all shame falls away. Art with meaning gives hope and love to those who need it; art encourages and consoles.
To turn pain into art is a form of leniency. It also shows the sheer beauty of the participants. It is what the world needs because within that lives compassion, within that lives transformation.
DO YOU JOIN ME?
So, I am looking for people who want to help me make this project a reality. I ask you to join me. Together we can make a difference, we can bring awareness, compassion and invoke transformation.
The donation is to make the artwork and the book. The book will be published via Blurb and proceeds are for The Wings of Freedom Art Centre that I am about to found. Women and girls who survived domestic abuse can follow art workshops to express themselves and help them step back into their power.
The aim is to start this project in January 2020.
I ask you to be part of this art project to show your compassion with those who have suffered and still suffer. I am ever so grateful if you can help me make this a reality.
WHO DO YOU KNOW?
And please, share this with anyone you know who would also love ❤ to contribute. Share it with your family, friends, neighbours, relatives, and everyone you can think of, to help me make this powerful art project.
I will give everyone who donates a public shoutout on Instagram and my Facebook page . Your name will also be published in the book.
Updates on the project on this website
- Jenny Stapleton
- Roubina Basharpal
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