Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits
Parents are the key support to a child's recovery. To be there for the abused child a parent need to be well looked after themselves.

Supporting a victim of abuse will be difficult, lengthy and taxing. You will need to 'hang in there.' At times you may be surrounded by systems of support, but still feel isolated.

Crisis support must be in place immediately for the non-offending family members. Children's Aid Societies (CAS) are often the first line of support for parents and they can make referrals to other community resources.

Parents often feel guilt and they need someone outside to listen and give support. We also need to educate families where and how to get support once they are in crisis. Family support needs to be tailor made to the family, the gender, the people and the circumstance.

It needs to be recognized that the entire family is in crisis. Children's Aid Societies, police, doctors, friends and family need to understand that the entire family needs nurturing and gentle approach to help them through the denial, the guilt and the crisis. The people in the family need to be validated.

We need more extensive community prevention and education through high schools, pre-natal classes, and community centre programs. Our children are the community's future parents.

As parents you
Kept your children
Safe from the evil
That haunted
Your own lives
Dad and Mom
Thank you for
Teaching me to











We have survived
a holocaust
of rapes
and beatings
at the hands of the man
they called my father.

Your bony body
and your heart
your fractured mind
still bear
the scars and bruises
of our life together.

I can count
each rib and vertebra
as I rub relief
into your aches.

My heart beats broken
for you
for us
and all our stories...
our shattered family.

You are my mother.
The pain we share
is too much.

Joanne Monti




Martin's Hope




I will love, honor and
protect my children.





My chains of bondage forced,
not wanted
I am alone waiting for the key.
Please mommy help me...
nothing, no one
Only silk ribbons in the breeze cascading from my hair...
pretty, but silent...helpless
Time -- loss -- found
From my soul...I'm afraid,
need to tell
Told! I live...
free to soar.






They stole her, my child
not in the night’s shadow
like most thieves
but in the light of day
under the blazing sun
with the laughter of children
dancing on the cool breeze.

Where did she go
This child of mine
I look everywhere
only to find
she is not there.

The days drag on
the nights are unbearably lonely
As I wait for her to discover
where she came from and why she is here.

She returns in uncertain remembrance of who I am;
She looks at me in wonder
of another time and place;
My pain erupts as I embrace her inhaling the essence ofthis woman, my child.


Agony washes the walls of the monument
we worked in fear and shame
afraid to shape our tender feelings
afraid there was nothing to gain

We stand together
looking at where we have been
hoping for better days now
because we shared in the dream


Sue's daughter Jacquelyn

In Telling I Broke the Symbiosis
Between Shame and
the Shattered Self


I, the person you see before you
was born of chaos and destruction and disaster.
I stepped out of the ruins
and looked around me, to the right and then to the left.
But there was nothing to see.

I had a sense, like a dream really, a heavy fog
or a deja vu
of voices, loud and angry and insistent
of terror, panic, pandemonium
of screams of anguish and pain
of violence and torture and evil and murder
of dangerous pressure, building to sure catastrophe.

But that's not real.
Instead there is an eerie silence
an uneasy peacefulness
It seems best not to question it.
Hidden rage and hidden grief,
what happened to this child?

I take a tentative step forward, then two.
There is no one to stop me
no one watching me
no one threatening me
no one controlling me.
I can run and laugh and shout and dance
and no one punishes me.
I step forward out of the wreckage
and close the door firmly behind me
into a world of innocence
Has anyone ever molested you?
No Mom!
I would tell you if anything like that had ever happened to me.






To the slaughter
they sent you
day after day after day.
Your bleatings they ignored
of one who does not know
or understand what they are talking about.

For I cannot tell you the horrors
I cannot speak the atrocities
that I am forced to see
to hear
to participate in
but it is my own death and destruction
and I know of which I speak.

But I am a child
and as such my voice is not heeded
for they puff themselves up and say
“She doesn’t mean what she says”
and they think they are smarter than me
and they say I don’t know or mean what I say,
but I do.
I know full well what I am saying and why.

But it is the nature of the beast
to silence all those who oppose it
or refuse to bow down to it.
And the more I struggled
the more I resisted
the more diabolical grew the evil in his heart
till it was consumed with the desire to utterly
destroy me and crush me
for it saw that I refused to submit.

And though outwardly
it did appear that I submitted,
in my heart the rebellion grew
and grew, and grew
till it consumed me
and I refused to listen to anyone
just as they had refused to hear me.
And I became my own “god”
for there was no one and no god able to deliver me
nor that cared enough to hear and deliver me.

And the lies mounted
and the more they told me
that God lived for us and died for us
so that we could live, the angrier I became.

For I did not see, nor feel
nor witness a God of deliverance
I saw a God who permitted
and seemed to condone abuse.
I saw an impotent God
A God of empty words
unable to deliver me or my mother or my brothers
from the hands and jaws of an evil man.

One who perpetrated evil
enjoyed evil
delighted in evil and
felt the satisfaction of imposing evil upon another.

For evil delights in harm
in harming others
in destroying others
in destroying innocence
and all that is good
and all that is of God.

It delights in bringing others into submission
through torture, whatever it takes
through intimidation and threats of harm
through physical abuse
through emotional abuse
through mental cruelty
and whatever diabolical imaginings it chooses to execute.

Yet the very things that it does unto its victim
it fears
being done unto it.

But I take comfort
in God’s justice
and though it may appear harsh
yet in my heart of hearts
I know it is just
and I rejoice in this.




Discussion - Support for Parents of an Abused Child

A parent is a key support in a child’s recovery. Services are limited, and there are a lack of supports, especially for the parents of an abused child. Community practitioners are unaware of how to support parents, and services are often available too late.

Initial contacts are crucial for survivors of abuse. There is often a lack of support for the survivor or the parents during an investigation. Parents may experience a lack of communication as well as a lack of thoroughness in the investigation itself. The child’s ability to disclose will also have a great impact.

Parents of an abused child are frequently in denial. This denial is harmful when it is passed on to the child. Parents also experience guilt, and will need someone to listen and to support them. They need an individual who will link them with reality.

The family will react in many different ways, experiencing rage, upset, a feeling of violation. They will be in a variety of stages of coping. Each family member will experience the situation as their own personal crisis, while needing to support everyone else. At this point, family members will need someone from outside to support them immediately.

Crisis support must be in place immediately for the non-offending family member. “Give me a number to call and a support group to attend, give me a neutral support network.”

In terms of support, unique situations need to be identified within each family, depending on the perpetrator and the reactions of family members. For example, a father may need a male’s support and perspective. (When including fathers, specific gender requirements must be looked at.)

We must find supports for those within the system. For parents who can’t believe, and who can’t support their child, we must discover how to help, and what supports they will need. The parents cannot be forgotten. They need to know that this experience won’t kill them, and that they will survive.

It’s worth noting that if the police are unsupportive, it will feed into the parent’s own denial, and their wish to believe that the abuse didn’t happen.

The entrance criteria for groups should just be that you’re a non-offending parent. You should not have to fight the system. Parent’s and the child’s needs must come first.

The Children’s Aid Society can offer support, as can a parent’s crisis line. Parents need to receive their own support first, before they enter the system.

During the crisis of an investigation, parents and children may be made to feel as if they are the perpetrators. They need to be told up front that the experience won’t be fun. The child needs to have a choice in the gender of who attends him or her.

Parents need to hang in past the tragedy; past the feelings of blame, rage and anger; past the harm offered by the system and by the family and friends who will question them.

Society is in denial. The abused child and his or her family may be surrounded by systems, but still left in isolation. They may become suicidal and/or homicidal as a result of the horrors of the world.

How do we help parents who believe that abuse of any kind is normal? We need to deal with the issues of emotional and psychological abuse. In part, this can be done by providing education to increase both personal and societal awareness of abuse.

Prevention can be offered by providing information in prenatal and neonatal classes, in high schools, and by allowing individuals to talk or listen to others.

We must increase awareness of the realities - what is abuse? Parents need to know what their reference points are.



We need to provide education on:

  • How to parent;
  • What is reasonable, and what is abuse;
  • Where children and adults can get help;
  • The need to talk about abuse;
  • The need for mandated education to develop healthy sexuality;



Letter: July 2, 1997

I am writing trying to believe the anxiety I feel working on my palette. I found the weekend workshop very difficult. That may be due to the fact my daughter was also there and as we shared our feelings at the beginning of each day, she shared that finally she knew I am her mother.

Some of her abuses had brainwashed her into believing that I was not her mother. This was a major issue for her and I both. She had been working through this during therapy but the true revelation came on the second morning of the workshop.

I felt totally overwhelmed and this knowledge opened up twenty years of grief for me. I lost my sense of the present because I was thrown into the past where this had happened.

I could feel the emotional void from her although I had no idea what had caused it until many years later. Consequently I feel at a loss as to how to work on my square.

The most difficult part is my daughter, Jackie lives in Toronto and I live in Sarnia. I have a support system but it is Jackie who I want and need to discuss this with.

I want to finish my square but when I tap into my feelings, I am again overwhelmed with grief. I am trying to put that into my work but I am frustrated with trying to get what I feel on to the square. I am not an artist and that is an added hardship.

However, Michael has suggested that Jackie’s square and mine be put side by side on the monument. With that goal in mind, I will complete this project knowing that Jackie and I are now together and will be forever.



Family Participation in the
Survivor Monument Project

Participants in the Child Abuse Survivor Monument Project found a variety of support from members of their families.

Spouces came to some or all of the workshops. Sibilings attened quilt square workshops together. Partners or siblings of deceased survivors made quilt squares in their memories. Extended family members organized food, supplies and practical support requirements leading up to and during workshops.

One of the remarkable experieces of created the Monument quilt squares was witnessing children and their parents attending workshops together.


Laura brough her children, and other children
and parents from her community to Toronto for
a week to make quilt squares for the monument.
The courage of the children, Laura and
their community was inspiring.

> >
> >

The groups of quilt squares directly below represent
families and partner who mutually participanted
in Survivor Monument Participant Workshops.















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.

Engel, Beverly. The Right To Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Los Angeles: JP Tarcher, New York. Distributed by St. Martin’s Press 1989.

Hacking, Ian. Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press 1995.

Hagans, Kathryn B. and Joyce Case. When Your Child Has Been Molested: A Parent’s Guide to Healing and Recovery. Lexington Mass.: Lexington Books 1988.

Hunter, Mic. Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse. New York: Fawcett Columbine. 1991.

McGee, Robin A. and Susan L. Painter. “What if it Happens in My Family? Parental Reactions to a Hypothetical Disclosure of Sexual Abuse.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, April 1991, vol. 23 no. 2, p. 228-40.

McNiff, Shawn. Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination. Boston: Shambhala: New York: Distributed by Random House. 1992.

Pittaway, Kim. “I Avenged My Son’s Abuse.” Chatelaine (Eng.), August 1994, vol. 67 no. 8, p.40-1, 43+.

Renvoize, Jean. Innocence Destroyed: A Study of Child Sexual Abuse. London: Routledge. 1993.

Reach Out to
Parents and Caregivers.
No parent should
feel alone.
No child should
be abused!




I was abused!
The cycle stopped
with me!
Listen to the children.
Believe the children.
Help the children.




Angry, Scared, Sad.
Somebody listen
to the little ones.




Kids are for hugging –
not hurting.
Child abuse must stop!




With these two hands
I caress my daughter
and try to protect her
from the abuses
of her father.




“Let a child be a child”.
It is the loss of a
that can never
be replaced,
but love can help
heal the scars.




Everyone can make
a difference!!!!
We will make it




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




Protect all Children.




Do your best.




Father and Daughter,
Lets's Stop the Abuse




End the cycle.
Give kids love!




Everyone has the right
to smile all the time.
Be good
to your children.
Remember they are
the best link to the
future and will be there
in the end for their
I want my children
to say Hi to their great




Darkness is what
Now it's my time to




Hands should bring
someone close to you
not push them away.
Hands are for holding,
not for hurting.




Friends last forever,
help those who have
Believe in yourself
and have everyting.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
loved inside!
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
real parents.
Everyone has someone
Help those who don’t
know how!




Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.




Hands for help.




I'm so proud of you.

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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)