SHARING THE MONUMENT STORIES
Some Thoughts and Rememberings
of My Monument Project Experience
I didn't keep a journal during
the weeks that I worked on my square and my
poem so now all I can do is to look back, remember
and assess. Of course, things do translate differently
in retrospect and I am looking at the experience
through different eyes for I am changed. As
I look back, it was exciting, the first reading
of the newspaper article about the Project,
the search for a phone number, making the call
and signing up to start in a few day's time.
Right from the beginning something
inside me said, "I have to do this."
I had already been a participant in several
women's survivor groups and was still seeing
a counselor bi-monthly so I felt confident that
I could handle any memories and feelings that
might be stirred up in me.
I never really considered the
possibility of the Project having any significant
impact on me, but I was very wrong. At first,
an idea for what I would put on my square simply
would not come. Ideas that did come were of
obscure images that had meaning for me but would,
in my estimation, say nothing to anyone else.
I really wanted something that
would have impact on the viewer and say something
to them about child abuse. A tall order I suppose.
I was having trouble meeting my expectations.
Oh well then, I'll just work on the poetry aspect
of the Project. Having tried to write before,
letters to my abuser and such, with little success
and absolutely no satisfaction, I launched into
rhyming couplets with a vengeance. My inspiration
had to come from somewhere inside and so I went
within and remembered and relived. What I found
were feelings. How I felt about what had happened
to me, something I'd always avoided. Looking
back now, months later, that time spent sifting
through the memories and feeling the feelings
was the most disturbing and painful period of
time for me since the sexual abuse I endured.
Still nothing came, no poem,
no idea for the square. Then, having just dropped
off to sleep one night I suddenly awoke with
a complete poem in my head, not of the rhyming
variety but poetry nonetheless. I got up, wrote
it out and went back to bed. In the morning
I realized that somehow, somewhere a dam had
burst. A poem was already on paper and ideas
for the wax were flowing. Suddenly, I had found
my voice. I could write something from my gut
from my innermost self that spoke to others.
I couldn't stop writing. The
flood gates were open. I felt driven, almost
out of control. As scary as it was, a great
relief was mine and continues to be mine. For,
when old wounds hurt and memories flow, I can
give voice to them now. They no longer stay
choking in silence deep inside.
The Monument itself, a figure
with outstretched arms, even in its small maquette
form, gives me a special feeling and I can imagine
that in its full size it will reach out in benediction
to all survivors who visit it and the squares
of its quilted robe will tell the stories of
those who made them. Every story different and
yet the same.
I must say that I will be forever grateful that
I picked up that out-of-date newspaper and thus
began a journey of healing thanks to the Monument
Project and its founders. The process of creating
this monument has validity in and of itself and
I believe that when finished, it will stand in
testament to the strength and courage of all survivors
of child sexual abuse.
Well, I told em!
Couldn't help myself
It just spilled out of me.
Was after the church meetin'
All good women you understand
Good neighbours too, most of em any way
But they're talkin about all the bad things happenin'
Happenin' to young kids
And what's wrong these days.
How it must be the TV and all those wicked magazines,
And on and on
And I just couldn't keep my mouth shut
Not one more minute.
"Ya think this is somethin' new?" I ask
"Well, it happened to me and long before there
was any TV.
Maybe to some of you too
Or your sisters, maybe your mother
Maybe even your brothers too, I suppose.
I wouldn't know about that.
Maybe it happened after school when you had to stay
Or in the church basement after choir
Or behind the barn or maybe in that dark little
Upstairs at the end of the hall
The one with the lace curtains
And flowered wallpaper.
Don't try to tell me
About this wicked modern world
This ain't nothin' new!"
Shame - Fear -
Guilt - Silence
Sexual abuse is
for any child to carry through life.
When I first entered therapy I
recall saying that I am the weakest and strongest
person that I know. The workshops helped me to
understand that my only "weakness" was
in some of the inappropriate behaviour that I
learned to survive. Hence I am not weak. I knew
I had strength, but I did not fully understand
from whence it came. Now instead of keeping it
all separate, I can view myself and my history
as all mine, and know the strength and courage
The workshops really helped me to be more real
and trust more openly. It has shown me that there
are a lot of good people out there, right from
Michael's kindness and courage, Angela's devotion,
to people's donations for our workshop. I have
also had many people that I hardly know come and
offer me support. I have had a lot of validation
for my feelings of hope.
I want the Monument and travelling show to tell
me I do not have to take responsibility anymore
for things I had no control over. I think it has
helped to put that where it belongs. I want people
to look at my square and know it's OK to tell
of their pain and understand it was not their
fault. I want the monument to say to the community,
"Look at the pain you can cause if you act
out the secrets in your mind. Treat people with
the kindness you have craved. Take responsibility
for the action you choose. Protect all children
from those who would not."
I found the workshops profound. They have had
an impact on me as profound as my abuse history
-- only this time it has been incredibly good.
The workshops showed me I could do the art if
I trusted myself, open my heart and share my inner
most being. When I heard myself criticize and
judge my work I could just look at it and accept
it without being ruled by old messages.
Martin Arnold Kruze Memorial Forum Address
I stand today before you
Naked in my truth
Pain of my life
Coarsing and ripping through my soul
Binding me to self.
I am empty and alone
Trusting in no one
Never to share?
I cleanse in the warm
embrace of others
To stand united
In my reality and yours
To feel the warmth of their being
Pulsating with life
A time to give and time
I search to find the harmony within
I will never walk alone again
The monument holds us
Shame no more.
My choice today.
The process of creating
a quilt square has been empowering and has significantly
reduced residues of shame left over from the abuse.
I have been in therapy and support groups before,
for sexual abuse survivors, and although they
have helped me feel less alone with my suffering
and less to blame for being a normal, vulnerable
child, they have never given me the deep sense
of empowerment I felt throughout the workshop
process. In the workshops I liked the sharing
and the diversity of people in different stages
When I imagine my sculpture up on the Monument,
sealed forever with other survivors' creations,
right out there for society to experience our
heroism, our courage and our victories to overcome
such horrendous criminal offences against child-humanity,
I feel a great burden lift from my soul. Like
the great Phoenix who flies up and out of the
ashes to reclaim life and freedom. My hope is
that society will see the flight and the ashes
and the power of sharing and that the children
of today and of tomorrow will thus be spared.
They need to "survive" their childhoods.
Whenever I have shown my quilt square to others,
they have all expressed wonder and awe at the
powerful impact the square evokes in them. A feeling
of empathy and respect. This experience for me,
especially in relationship to "non-survivors",
validates and embraces the quality of pride and
victory I feel over the sexual abuse trauma in
my childhood and in the healing I have achieved
through a long and arduous period of psychotherapy.
I want the Monument itself to be a memorial that
enhances the ability of society to acknowledge
the serious nature of childhood sexual abuse in
a way that is transforming as opposed to creating
resistance and more denial. I want my contribution
to be a further letting go of my own memories
in a way that empowers me to live my life free
of the past and I believe this has already happened.
Through the Monument I want all children who endure
the emotional and mental suffering sexual abuse
causes to be praised as heroes right up there
with Holocaust survivors and Vietnam Vets. That
adults who suffered child sexual abuse and who
now display dysfunctional behaviours be recognized
as victims of sick adults and be respected for
the strength and courage it takes to face and
heal the pain caused by them.
In Memory of Innocence and Freedom
Don't ever forget my
I do this for you more than for me
We were so very little
You more innocent than me
I still see your beautiful eyes,
dancing, still light and joy there,
mine already gone.
I'm so sorry Jackson
little five year old boy,
Your memory will be made immortal now
DON'T EVER FORGET LOVE.
It's been months, years, since
creating my quilt square and my brief
involvement in the beginning of your long journey
towards completion of the monument. This morning
I decided, on a whim, to visit the web site and
see what's up. Amazing developments there and
a beautiful, inviting site to browse through.
I clicked on the survivor stories and viola! saw
my quilt square and the poem I wrote during the
I had forgotten what I wrote
and didn't make a copy so it was wonderful to
revisit the inspiration that came from my work.
I have moved on in my life to accomplish things
I never thought possible, given the damage caused
by the abuse in my long torturous childhood.
There have been many healers
in my journey and if it weren't for their dedication
to healing I would certainly not be alive today
as suicide was always in the background. But the
creating of my quilt square... well, that was
a whole other form of healing - the making public
something people can hardly bear to know (thus
I've noticed that people, in
general, are more capable, emotionally, of acknowledging
abuse to animals than to children. The horror
felt while watching animal abuse is, in itself,
close to intolerable for feeling people, but they
have yet to be emotionally capable of acknowledging
with the same intensity of compassion, the horrors
of child abuse.
I believe the monument can move
everyone a long way towards this degree of compassion
without overwhelming them into denial and dispassion.
And I believe this has been an underlying goal
for the monument project. A proactive method of
"reaching out" for recognition of the
heroism involved in the journey of healing.
Of course, no one can fully comprehend
what is needed to heal from such extensive damage
incurred during childhood except other survivors
but I believe the monument will come the closest
in history we can get to encouraging non-survivors
to take a "look", to feel in their hearts
a more distinct empathy for the plight of children
held hostage by sick parents and to more deeply
understand that childhood experiences are carried
forever and impact on every aspect of daily living.
I became tearful reading my poem
to Jackson. Although much of the abuse has been
transformed to scars, there will always be grief.
And no matter how much work I do to heal, life
situations, people driven by unconscious material
and hidden agendas, intimate relationships, always
find a trigger somewhere in the abuse baggage
and I find yet another piece of healing to do.
I am under no illusion that my
life will someday be totally clear of the effects
of my childhood, but by the Grace of God I will
continue to grow and heal the hurt. Since 1975,
when I discovered there are ways to grow I held
on to the belief that there is "faith in
the capacity to heal" - I created that phrase
and it carried me into the depths of every dark
corner of my past and out into the light of moving
forward in my life, no matter what.
I now believe that a Higher grace
exists in all of us - the intangible gift of the
"capacity to heal" - Now where would
we all be if that was not possible. I do not pretend
that this gift is "owned" by humans,
or created by us, it came with our conception
and the great power of life unfolding itself.
It is divine.
Thanks Michael. And thanks to
all who have given themselves to your dream for
the dream is now manifest and we all may, if we
will, absorb not only the magnitude of pain and
suffering from surviving horrific childhood abuse,
but perhaps also receive a glimpse of our innate
knowing that healing woundedness is a journey
Much love and gratitude,
Through my participation in
the workshops, even though I have been an artist,
I have begun to experience more comfort and acceptance
of my creativity. I feel that I have a greater awareness
of my healing in how therapy has guided me toward
healing. The Project experience has been like a
culmination of all the work I have done in therapy
over the last seven years.
I found the workshops a comfortable and safe place
to be, both as a survivor and an artist. I felt
a great deal of encouragement and freedom to express
myself and produce an image that was unique to my
healing experiences. I enjoyed watching other individuals
evolve in their own healing and find a way to express
their experiences in an art form. I was fascinated
with the variety of images produced and how personal
I want my work through The Survivor Monument Project
to reach out to society in a way that gives survivors
a voice not only for personal healing, but also
for the increased sensitivity and awareness it will
bring; for me to continue to feel empowered to speak
out about sexual abuse and use my experience as
a way to keep the need for sensitivity, awareness
and change alive. The Monument should say to the
community: child abuse and sexual abuse is part
of our community affecting many. Children continue
to be abused regularly and it will take a radical
change in our perception of childhood and abuse
to rid our society of this tragedy of childhood.
dark holes linger past
pain travels through
in the struggle
in the dark somewhere
tiny sparkles of light
a lost hope
Climbing past dark holes
finding lost dreams
tiny fingers of innocence
a gentle touch
light moves me
forward to a child
stars in her eyes
reaching for me
old freedom found
The experience of doing the
quilt workshops has validated me. Ever since I placed
my hand in the plaster I have felt more real --
my life is real. I have realized my relationships
for what they are and the ones I have are slowly
becoming more real.
I want the Monument "to tell my secrets."
To give a voice in a chorus of many, so people will
finally listen. I want people to realize the woundedness
of many can become the healing force for them.
Through the workshops I experienced
my creativeness for the first time. I experienced
unconditional support for the first time and I
experienced a respect for everyone's individuality
and work -- for the first time.
Watching the black
feeling my terror, my shame
I'm crying desperate and needy for someone...
Not those crazy orange people!
Satan is laughing, the
madness of blindness
Dirty yukky stupid girl!
Is there any worth to the life blood?
Slowly, inside the warmth returns
with grief, with fear of the
birth about to happen
Watching me watching watching
Tenderness in my hand
I feel my participation in the workshops has helped
me validate myself and the person I have grown
to be. I am able to live fully as an adult, which
is something I have doubted most of my life. In
creating a beautiful image of the quilt square
I connected the outward expressed beauty to who
I am. Beauty comes from within -- my abusers did
not destroy my spirit after all. The workshop
gave me a precious gift to cherish, it gave me...
The quilt square has been an incredible gift to
share with my family, friends and community. I
have become more confident in telling my story.
The shame that crippled me is fading and my participation
in the project has helped complete my picture.
It reminded me I was abused, but I am not abuse.
I will be able to continue sharing this message
with those around me.
Often people have a distorted image of abusers
and their victims. They feel abuse only exists
in poverty. Coming from a well achieved middle
class family I feel my story helps educate. "I
am simply an average gal." I want my quilt
square to add the message that child abuse has
a name and a face. Often it is easy to ignore
what can be hidden. I can imagine the millions
of people who will experience the Monument and
leave touched in a very personal way. Directly
and indirectly humanity will benefit from the
powerful messages the Project is expressing. We
are reaching out to our world. More personally
I am taking this opportunity to make a permanent
statement to myself and my abusers, " I survived."
I want the Monument to say to the community, "Wake
up everyone... abuse is real. As horrific as it
is, abuse exists and it won't go away if we continue
to ignore ourselves." I hope that with this
message through the Monument and support projects
will come a way to deal with and prevent abuse.
I believe with knowledge comes answers and the
Monument is a key step to knowledge. It presents
a vehicle to ask questions, it promotes awareness.
The project then can offer knowledge and people
can work together for answers.
My father and brother are
artists and both abused me. Although I am capable
of creating art, I avoided art forms that reminded
me of my heritage. For school art classes I would
create alone in my room for fear of criticism
from art teachers. I would only show finished
projects. Asking for help, and worse being vulnerable
enough to get help, was synonymous with abuse.
My father was critical, demeaning and shocked
when I excelled in art -- so I stopped creating.
My workshop experience was incredible. Only recently
in therapy did I risk showing my art. So, I was
incredibly pleased with my participation in the
workshop, I did not feel threatened by Michael
or Angela. I learned, created and was safe. I
chose to go in without any detailed ideas of what
I wanted to create. This worked for me. I was
able to sculpt my feelings from a concept. The
workshop then became an experience of growth for
me. Michael and Angela are caring people and very
From hell to here
Chains of isolation ... alone ... disappearing
Drowning in abuse
Fighting to emerge ... gasping ... breathless
Wishing to die
Awakened by life
Reaching upward through hope
Holding fast .... courage my guide
Today I live ... my
journey is only beginning
The workshops helped me to
accept my pain as mine and to share and express.
It helped me to respect other's accomplishments,
to accept my work as being just as special as
theirs. We are all together -- and still have
I want the Monument to tell others, "It is
big time OK to TELL, TELL, TELL, and to stop the
I was scared to make the quilt
square. Scared to tell. I did not want my pictures
taken or to have a name on my square. Now I am
BIG TIME OK with it. Because there will be silence
Silence in the walls of
Made to keep me from the noise without.
I am nameless, faceless, confused.
Scared to have, to hate
Seems to never end
Broken, torn, ripped apart.
Taken away set apart.
Healing wounds I begin to set.
Then given to another set.
Given heaven so I was set.
In God they said to fear
Judge not unless you be judged
Beaten, torn, ripped apart.
Build those walls
Not again. Seems to never end.
Innocence I have kept.
The baby the Rose
Never to forget.
Bring down the walls
One Brick at a time.
Healing wounds never to part.
Never again I'm set apart.
Freedom is mine
MINE TO START.
How can I help?
I want to leave my personal mark.
Is it possible with this rough raw clump
I call myself?
Wounds are to register in this image.
Hacking life in a mold with cuts and abrasions.
I hear the scream to break the silence
And feel the connection in my fingertips.
Listening has been my venue to release this form.
My pain gives it the lines and the textured detail
This is my art, my venue.
Reaching out to smooth and polish
What I call my soul.
There's a child crying
in her sleep
in the darkness she'll sit and weep.
We should all look out for her
She's so frightened and unsure
If she'll reach her hand to us
and to help you know we must
For there in a corner sits a frightened child
so your voice must be gentle very mild.
Take her from her hiding place
Where she's sealed inside a case
Hold her close don't let her go.
That she's loved let her know.
You will ask who the child may be
The child is you the child is me.
(Wrote at age 12) Babette
The workshops helped me realize
how much I really lost and how angry I truly am.
How lucky I am to have found help. It helped me
learn to reach out to others for help. To trust
and be trusted.
I want my participation in the
Monument Project to help stop child abuse. To
put it in the community's face. One big roaring
STOP. I want the Monument to say to the community:
Be aware, listen to the children. For it to help
heal those already scarred, to protect those who
are unsafe. To say, never think it cannot happen
I had a great time and good support in the workshops.
I felt a part of something huge. I am a part of
something huge. I am.
Why she cried
She died too late
No one saved her
None for her
To much, too late
Her blood soaked panties
Hot rage she fought
Too much, too late
She died too late
Between love and hate
I've seen it once and
I don't want to see it
STOPL CHILD ABUSE!
The hand of a child
who will not be abused.
We can have this
dream come true.
Child abuse affects
us all, if one hurts,
We all hurt.
Child abuse affects
children of all voters!
Help kids live.
Stop the violence.
Every life counts.
It took 40 years of fear
before I was set free.
Spanking is not discipline.
Raise a hand to a child
only to hold and love them.
Stop the hurt!
Reach Out to Parents and
No parent should feel
No child should be
Stop child abuse
Because every child
deserves to smile
"Why would you want to
hit little children?
What have they ever
done to you."
Violence doesn't solve
anything... It only makes
Hands should bring
someone close to you
not push them away.
Hands are for holding,
not for hurting.
together we are stronger
Bruce and Austin
My friends are nice.
Friends last forever,
help those who have
Believe in yourself
and have everything.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
Everyone has someone
Help those who don’t
you are loved!
Chris and Eric
I'm so proud of you.
Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.
will be inside
It’s nice to have a
Be a friend.
Give a hand.
Hands for help.
It is not an easy
thing to live.
Let's work together
to stop ABUSE!
Be yourself and
trust in yourself.