17 years ago I was raped by a man when I was 21 years old. Immediately told myself I would not be defined by this and that I will not be affected by this. But you can’t hide from trauma, it’s always with you.
One Night in February, is a multi-medium body of work about the sexual assault I endured. Each piece I made is a sounding board for my voice and for the countless other victims who have suffered from sexual assault. There is a tremendous amount of shame that comes from being a sexual assault victim but the more you talk about and share your trauma, the more distance you can have from it. The statistics for rape are astounding. For 100 women that suffered sexual violence in their lifetimes, 14% had experienced attempted rape and 2.3% had experienced rape. A national survey from the CDC indicates 1 in every 5 women (and 1 in 71 men) will be raped during their lifetime at some point.
This body of work is essentially a very public healing for me that I hope brings the much needed societal awareness of sexual assault. My hope is that this body of work educates our community about the trauma and long term mental and emotional effects sexual violence has on people and that the shame is redirected from the survivor to the prepertrator which hopefully prevents future acts of sexual violence against someone. We as a society need to talk more about sexual violence instead of silencing it and hiding it. Sharing this body of work is one way of confronting the sexual violence pandemic we have been living in for centuries.
Part of this body of work has been on collaboration with other artists. Chalice and Christine both did facial sketches of the rapists from my memory.
Todd 1, Chalice Mitchell 2021 Charcoal on Paper 16x20
Todd 2, Christine Mitchell 2021 Graphite on Paper 16x20