Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits

The first step to healing is recognizing that you need help and then knowing that help is available. It is important to know that you are not alone.

Finances are often a major issue in getting help. Help is available through many resources, many of which are free. There are self-help groups, books and literature, help lines, counseling services, shelters, psychotherapy, expressive therapies (art, music, voice, dance), and body work.

There is often labeling and minimizing of the survivor's abuse or its effects. Survivors need courage to combat the ignorance they will face in their recovery process. Society must recognize that abuse survivors have talents, feelings and ambitions.

A person can gain courage and support to deal with these difficult issues through reading recovery and self help books, stories about individuals who have confronted abuse, or books on specific abuse or psychological issues.

Getting to know the issues can help one to understand there are problems with specific roots and there is the realistic expectation of recovery.

Meeting others and sharing experiences or joining recovery groups can lead to stronger relationships and support.

Recovery often requires moving outside your usual familiar territory and opening up to other ideas.

Desperation is often the greatest motivator. "I took a look inside and faced my terrible ghosts because I realized I just could no longer keep living the way I was."












(In) On my heart there is a burden
Past pain weighs it down
Retrieval of childhood memories
To go there creates feelings
of fear, pain and powerlessness.

Physical pain I can remember,
but to be invisible
was much, much better
To become a part of my environment.
Invisible to the naked eye.

The most fearful memories
are those of sexual abuse
I fear to face.
The guilt and shame was enough
to swallow me.
My child was creative
in order to endure the isolation.
But the overwhelming sadness
that lives in my child;
Should never have been silenced.

(Name of participant and associated quilt square not known.
If this is your poem send me an e-mail so that I may identify it in my records. Thank you -- Michael)






Come out of Your Shell

Come out of your shell
wherever you are.
Believe in yourself
that's who you are.
Take each day, day-by-day
make the demons go away!



Use Your Voice

I will bounce back
I am a survivor
Bring back the dreams
I once desired.

Believe in yourself
You have no choice
Speak your mind
And use your voice!





















Discussion - How to Get Help When You Have Been Abused

For abused individuals, the command to be silent is very strong. Additionally, if the abuse happens early in life, it results in a loss of the ability to articulate. The abuse survivor will be full of fear. They may be in denial about what happened, and experience repression of the abuse. They may be unable to recognize the reasons for feeling this way. They may not know how they will continue living. Although survivors of abuse are able to function, others are not able to see the pain. They may also experience flashbacks and feelings of wanting to kill themselves.

Self recognition is the first step toward healing. The physical and psychic wounds must be revealed before help can be given. Society must recognize and acknowledge that people need help. However there are many barriers to accessing help. Finances are a major issue. There is stigma attached to accessing services from the Children’s Aid Society or the psychiatric wards in hospitals. Survivors may fear being labeled negatively and worry about what others think. It is difficult to know where to go.




  • Self recognition must occur, then a desire to get help. Individuals access spirituality and a personal healing dynamic, finding context for healing in their lives. For each individual, this process will be different and evolving.
  • Institutional help such as counseling, therapy and education. Denial will commonly occur before the recognition of abuse. Survivors fear a loss of identity through being labeled and categorized.
  • Must create a public awareness that people are greater than the issue of abuse.
  • Survivors must be offered healing in an attitude of supportive, non-judgmental context.

Meeting others and sharing experiences can lead to stronger relationships and supports. Getting outside the cultural norms of abuse and getting others to understand that this is not okay is also important. Survivors must be aware of the reality of abuse. This often requires that they move outside of our context and open our minds to other ideas. They must find context for life outside of abuse through external sources, such as newspapers, books, support groups and others.

Survivors can take courses relating to the topic of abuse. They can access professional help, art therapy, the sharing of ideas through support groups in order to overcome societal restrictions about speaking about their abuse. Survivors experience feeling that they need help desperately, feeling a sense of worthlessness or that there are problems in their family. They may be unable to initially recognize the abuse. They may experience the pressures of family, or of different relationships.

Family and individual counseling is available. Feminist theory is important for many, as is finding the right therapist. Survivors have the ability to try and work out issues. Writing regularly in a journal may be helpful as well as writing about what happened. We must recognize the prevalence of the abusive behaviour that we have inherited through generations. If people cannot speak out because of blame and judgment, we can remove this obstacle and tell people that they have the potential to change.




Bass, Ellen and Laura Davis. The Courage To Heal: A Guide For Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Rev. ed. New York: Harper Perennial 1992.

Central Agencies Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, Children’s Aid Society Foundation of Metro Toronto. When A Child Or Youth Is Sexually Abused: A Guide For Youth, Parents and Caregivers. Toronto: Central Agencies Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, 1997.

Kinetic (distributor). Finding Out: Incest and Family Sexual Abuse. Film. Canada: Distributed by Kinetic, 25 min. 1984.

Maynard, Rona. “Goal: Self-Help For Sexual-Abuse Survivors: Aftermath Offers Hope to Distraught Families.” Chatelaine (Eng), April 1992, vol. 65 no. 4, p. 52.

Morris, Paul and Susan Kerry. University of Calgary, Dept. of Communications Media, Co-producers. Child Sexual Abuse: The Untold Secret. Film, directed by Susan Skerry. Canada: Distributed by The National Film Board, 30 min. 1981.

Morrison, Jan. A Safe Place: Beyond Sexual Abuse. Wheaton, Ill.: H. Shaw 1990.

Terkel, Susan Neiburg. Feeling Safe, Feeling Strong: How to Avoid Sexual Abuse and What to Do If It Happens To You. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co. 1984.

Vancouver Society for Mail Survivors of Sexual Abuse. From Disclosure to Justice. Film. Canada: Distributed by National Film Board, 49 min. 1996.

"Follow Site Web Ring"

I am a Survivor






The place inside me
shines and remains
I own my body and
it remains pure
as my spirit.






Darkness is what
Now it's my time to











I hope there is peace






Every life counts.











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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)