Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits


"Reaching Out Child Abuse Monument"
Sculptor, Michael C. Irving, Ph.D.



Statistics on Child Abuse

"Abuse is too heavy
for any child to carry
through life" -- Barbara

Responding to the Voice of Children

Telling a Difficult Story Through the Monument

Recognition by Community Leaders

Creating a World that Reflects Our Beliefs

Monument Objectives



A child dies every week in Canada at the hands of a care-giver.
(Statistics Canada, 1980-89)

70% of children who are victims of homicide are killed before the age of 5.
(Statistics Canada, 1980-89)

80% of abusers are known to their child victims.
(Dr. Harriett MacMillan et al., McMaster University, J.A.M.A., July, 1997)

More than 90% of child abuse cases are unreported.
(The Gallup Organization, 1995)

1 out of every 3 female children, and 1 out of every 5 male children in Canada will be sexually abused before they reach adulthood.
(The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, 1994)

Children with disabilities are 10 times more vulnerable to sexual abuse than non-disabled children.
(National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, 1996)


Beware! Beware this street laced
with hungry dogs
Impatiently licking their lips
in shadowy doorways
I hear them gnawing on the fragment
bones of ignorance and innocence
I am destined to be savaged
by a rabid dog,
for I walk unseen
close in the shadows of tall
building and I must surly
meet such beasts

But again if I seek the bright
openness of the neon lights,
green eyes from the bordering
malevolent darkness wait
to jump out to render me

Be vigilant friend if passing
you hear, echoing
from the blackened ally way,
de-vouring snarl
-- Beware! ----






Dear Dr. Irving,

In recent weeks you attended Downtown Alternative School to discuss your Child Abuse Survivor Monument Project with the students. My child was one of those students and the effect your project had on her has prompted me to write you and express my thanks. The children made paper hands to put inside the monument with comments expressing their thoughts and feelings on the issue of child abuse.

Late that evening, when my child was in bed, she turned to me and asked if I knew about child abuse. She then told me about the project. The events of the day had a strong impact on her. She could not understand how people could be cruel to children.

We talked at length. My daughter would like to see the monument stand for thousands of 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.

Something as simple as the making of a paper hand opened up a door to awareness for my eleven-year old child. For this gift, I thank you.

Elizabeth Sellwood, Mother
May 24, 1999

Is Your Hand in the Monument Yet?

Canadian children have contributed
thousands of sensitive and wise
handprint messages for inclusion
inside the "Reaching Out"
bronze figures.






The incidence of child abuse in Canada is staggering. We hear tragic stories in the media daily. The statistics are mind-boggling. Unfortunately, the stories are true and the statistics are probably underestimated. The adversity and wounding unleashed on a myriad of innocent children deserves a lasting public response of validation and recognition.

For many child abuse is a crippling roadblock. With hard work and support it does not have to bring a lifetime of suffering but it often does. Those who have triumphed over the challenges of adversity are role models for all.

During our Cross-Canada Tour in 1999 we met a woman who had lived with the secret of child abuse until she faced major heart surgery in her mid-sixties. The life and death risk of her upcoming surgery compelled her to unburden herself to her surgeon the night before her surgery. The lady had been abused as a child, had grown up, married, raised several children. She had never told her husband because of the shame she felt, the way people judged victims at that point in time and her concern that if she had told him, forty years earlier, he might not have been willing to marry her.

To the Memory of FARAH:
I wish we could give you a hand.



When we met, she and her shocked husband were in therapy and on the way to recovery of themselves and their marriage. She told us her story because she felt that the Monument was telling the story for everyone who, like her, had been silenced. The Monument spoke to them and for them.

People spend much effort understanding and coming to terms with the events and times of their life. Those people who have confronted abuse have a special wisdom that can assist other individuals and the community with healing. They must reach deeper than most into themselves and into the issues of life to seek health, peace and meaning.

Their triumphs over the challenges of adversity make them role models for all of society. They have the voice of those who gained knowledge first hand. The messages on the quilt squares of the Monument speak of compassion and the desire to make a difference for others.

"Often the issues of abuse are
difficult to talk about directly
but in talking about the art of the
monument quilt squares,
'what needs to be talked
about takes place'".
Ken Dryden


I am never alone. Kim M.








Art and healing can be intimately linked as transforming powers as there will be in the sculpture and the project shows this clearly.
Dr. Robert Kavanagh, Dean, White Mountain Academy of the Arts

I am convinced that this project deserves national recognition and support for its importance as a permanent symbol in art...
Mary A. Deacon, M.D., C.C.F.P. a public art piece, it is visually, extremely strong. The materials being used and the interactive nature of the sculpture will make it a very great asset to public art...
Melanie Fernandez, Community Arts Officer, Ontario Arts Council

I was totally impressed with the scope and conceptual realization of this work and understood immediately that it is destined to become an important part of Toronto...
Richard McNeil, President, Sculpture Society of Canada will provide both motivation and a focus for further healing.
Heather Sproule, Former Executive National Director, Kids Help Phone

The Survivor Monument Project makes a considerable contribution to this change process.
Alexandra Rutherford, M.A. North York Women’s Centre

...this innovative, creative and inspired work will make a significant difference in raising public awareness for the issues of child abuse while offering an opportunity for individual healing and the healing of the nation Canada.
Peggy Geddes, President, The Child’s Beacon

Each square is an intensely personal story, creating a monument by non-artists who discover in their hands a powerful voice which makes us understand.
Ken Dryden, President, Toronto Maple Leafs

An Absolutely Astounding Accomplishment!
The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, Chief Justice of Ontario





The only person who kept me alive was me.
Perhaps I came to this world with so much life and spirit,
Perhaps that is what leads my tiny bare feet into streams
And sends me flower picking in the woods,
Perhaps that leads me to the beauty in life.
I live my childhood days as two people;
When I am safe, it is like inside me I open a door
And feed myself with sun, trees, flowers, songs, my dog;
And when the shadow of darkness of my father
Comes upon me, the door slams shut and
All that I have gathered from my time in the sun
Stays protected and nurtures me and keeps me alive.
At night in the summer, I stand outside alone,
Look up into the sky, and silently repeat
Star Bright, Star Light, First Star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
(Anyone reading this will know my secret wish)
And finally I think it came true
For I am writing this poem
And all of my treasures are coming home to me
And becoming mine completely.







A message from the Honourable Herb Gray, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the Government of Canada’s Millennium initiative that funded the Child Abuse Survivor Monument’s tour across Canada in the fall of 1999:

"Congratulations on the opening of the 'Give us a Hand' display at the Upper Canada Mall. The display’s prominent location in Newmarket [and Cambridge Shopping Centres across Canada] will alert many to the tragedy of child abuse and will offer acceptance and hope to those who have survived such abuse.

The “Give us a Hand” display is part of the awareness program associated with the Child Abuse Survivor Monument which will be unveiled in Toronto next fall. The Government of Canada is proud to support this project. It has contributed $385,000.00 for the tour and monument through the Canada Millennium Partnership Project which funds up to one third of the eligible costs of Millennium projects that meet the program’s criteria.

The Partnership program allowed us to join with communities, non-governmental and governmental organizations and the private sector to raise awareness of our history, support our youth and arts and culture and enhance our environment and the development of our communities.

The Child Abuse Survivor Monument is an important project for the Millennium. During the past century, we have struggled as a society with the knowledge of child abuse and to find ways to help survivors deal with the debilitating effects.

As one millennium ends and another begins, this travelling exhibit created by survivors of child abuse brings poetry and information - and through its interactive activity, awareness and healing - to people across Canada.

Those who stop at the display will have a chance to trace their hands and write
messages which will be placed inside the finished bronze monument. Survivors and supporters alike will feel the powerful symbolism of the hands, hands that go beyond the victimization to offer acceptance, wisdom and a sense of victory.

Our national millennium theme “Sharing the Memory, Shaping the Dream” has special resonance in connection with this project. With the unveiling of the monument during the first year of the new millennium, we will take the final steps toward fashioning a society that protects our children.

This is key at a time when we review what it is we care about and work toward creating a world that reflects our beliefs."

The Honourable Herb Gray, Deputy Prime Minister





To life, to Life, L’Chaim
Together we’ll rid ourselves of the pain, anger, frustration.

Together we’ll get past the tears
Together we’ll find joy in nature
Together our spirits will soar
Together nature, with its kindness, will lead us to the serenity
I’ve searched for.

Together, with your support, we’ll find the joy, peace and tranquility
The spirit, the sun, the water, our togetherness will bring the vision,
beauty and knowledge
To defeat the anger.

To Life, to Life, L’Chaim
Together we’ll meet the challenge.
Without your love I wouldn’t get to love myself.
To Life, To Life, L’Chaim



Dr.Caroline Bennett, M.P., St. Pauls at Ottawa's Bay Shore Shopping Center addresses opening of 'Give Us A Hand' campaign





As a whole, the Monument aims to accomplish three main objectives.

Awareness and Acknowledgement:To communicate to the community the importance of recognizing, confronting, and understanding the issues of neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. It promotes awareness by honouring and validating all people who struggle to find
health and happiness in spite of their suffering.

It is a lasting, creative acknowledgment of the harm caused by abuse and by the victories of those victims who have overcome their tragedies.

Personal and Social Healing: The Monument’s size, presence and prominent installation at the Air Canada Centre will encourage support and healing of survivors of abuse and the social network and communities they are part of.

The individual quilt squares vividly and poignantly demonstrate there is enormous personal and social costs associated with abuse. It is a testament to empowering individuals, supporting care givers who are at risk of harming a child and to educating children of their rights.

Prevention and a Caring World for All Children: By making the issue of child abuse more visible through such a comprehensive work of art, the Monument aims to prevent abuse and neglect to children in future generations. The Monument provides hope for those recovering today from child abuse through the knowledge that they have the strength and wisdom to help transform the personal and societal legacy of abuse in all its forms. The Monument's legacy is to assure people that the conditions of child abuse and neglect can change for the better.

At a our Research Forum at the Hinks Institute 30 focus
groups were asked: "What do
Canadians Need to Know
A bout Child Abuse?

In the Galleria of Air Canada
, October 1, 2001 --
Janet Lewis,
Executive Director,
Onario Association
of Children's Aid Societies
Michael C. Irving, Ph.D.,
Artistic Director,
The Child Abuse Survivor
Monument Project; and
Ken Dryden, President,
Toronto Maple Leafs
launch the first
Child Abuse and Negelect
Prevention Month

of the new millenniium.

The Monument's art and messages
are being brought to millions
of people
across Canada through
media, exhibitions and tours.

"Follow Site Web Ring"

It's everyones's




Thank you for helping me
be safe from child abuse.




There is absolutely no
excuse for any form
of abuse.
Your work is our
inspiration to continue
our work against
child abuse.




Thank you
for talking to us
about child abuse.
Joanne, age 10




Together we can
make a difference
and heal our hearts.




Most people love
Games are for fun.
No more denying.
Children need to be



I feel bad
about child abuse.
Charles, age 10





The silence must be
Stop Child Abuse.







Hands are for helping
not for hurting.
Show them
you love them
by giving hugs
not tugs!
You never hurt
the ones you love!







Your art is an example
of how awareness
is needed to pass on
the message.







Alway know
you are loved!
Chris and Eric




It's cruel,
It's horrible,
It's child abuse,
So Stop It!







I am not afraid
of being abused.




Laugh makes Laugh,




Savannah declares,
is not for us?







I hope there's peace
Ryan age 9

*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 * Unveiling *

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2004)