Ohio University

Part of the 'In This Space:Disrupted' 2020 Exhibit

In This Space: Disrupted

2020 Virtual Exhibit

2020 Virtual Exhibit

The 2020 fall exhibit, In This Space: Disrupted is organized and sponsored by the Women’s Center, Survivor Advocacy Program, Health Promotion, Ohio University Art Galleries, Ohio Women, Ohio University Alumni Association, and with support from Counseling and Psychological Services.

Our hope for this project is to make visible the often-anonymous spaces in which interpersonal violence occurs – in public and private – and to create opportunities for survivors to reclaim and occupy space. By creating this visibility, we hope it instills awareness in viewers and is a call to action to support and believe survivors.

We felt called to action on this theme because we frequently hear popular narratives that indicate that sexual violence happens only in particular spaces (e.g. dark alleyways), perpetrated by particular people (e.g. strangers). We problematize this singular narrative, as it does not represent the reality of the diversity of survivors’ experiences. Telling people to walk with friends, to stay in public, does not recognize that friends can be perpetrators and that violence can occur anywhere. We must address that violence can happen anywhere, because the alternative is further marginalizing survivors’ whose experiences do not fit within the mainstream telling of violence. We hold close the idea that space/place is experienced differently and that those who are often most marginalized experience space/place in ways often not articulated in mainstream media. By creating this exhibit, we hope to demonstrate shared experiences, as well as demonstrate disruptions in those similarities.

This exhibit features 13 unique contributions. For every experience represented here, please remember that there are many, many more untold stories.

To our contributors:The organizers are incredibly grateful that you entrusted us with your experiences. It is no small responsibility to ensure that we are representing your voices in the ways in which you would want them. We are honored that you trust us with your stories of survivor-hood and trauma.

Viewing the Virtual Exhibit

This virtual exhibit is organized by the prompts the contributors chose to answer. Contributors were given the option of providing an additional statement that would be paired with their panel. Some contributors chose not to include a statement. In the case of panels that include text that is small and therefore may be difficult to view, we’ve included a transcript of that text with the panel. One panel does not have accompanying text. Clicking on a photograph on this website will open a larger image and descriptive text.

Alt text is provided for each photograph to enhance viewers’ experiences. Some contributors assisted in the creation of the alt text for their panel. In addition to the photograph of each full panel, we have included a close-up photo of each panel so that viewers can see just some of the detail work in each contribution.

While the survivor experiences represented here show individual experiences, we know that violence is not an individual problem. It is a community problem that requires a community response as a solution. Thank you for joining us in being part of the solution.

 

Prompt: In this Space: Where did your experience of interpersonal violence occur? What physical space were you in?

Photo of physical exhibit from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery

Side 1:
“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

Words are written, some slanted, and some not, above a yellow and orange sail boat. why scared trauma regret dirty lost alone innocence victim mess hate silence doubt sad betrayed gross angry cry sick ruined danger pain selfish

Below the sail boat, words written large: “A Safe Space Disrupted”

Side 2: Orange, yellow, pink, and red paint is splattered along the duck cloth. Black lettering says “In spite of what you took I am still whole.” After “In spite of what you took”, and before “I am still whole”, there is a large drawing of the fire rose unity survivor tattoo.

Close-up photo of physical exhibit from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery
Photo of a piece of art listing a sexual assault survior's experience from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

This piece is a poem written in black and red marker that reads:

In my 3rd floor apartment
He TRAPPED me.
In my bedroom
He THREW me down.
In my bed
He BEAT me.

The space where I go to rest.
The space where we had sex.
The space where I seek comfort. [this stanza is outlined by a thin jagged blue line and is written in red]

That's where he TOOK my
PEACE.
ABILITY TO LOVE.
CONFIDENCE.
[the last three lines are written in red]

AND replaced it with
TRAUMA
FEAR
NIGHTMARES.

But now I have a new bed.
It's filled with
Healing
Self-love
Self-compassion.
[this last stanza is written in red and is enclosed by a green rounded outline]

Close-up of an artful list describing a sexual assualt survivor's experience
Photo of an art piece depicting a series of room sketches that go from colorful and peaceful to grim after a rape encounter

I have titled my artwork "Room in Athens" mimicking my favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh's, "Room in Arles." His painting originated out of an illness that left him confined to that room for many days. As such, the illness caused to me by domestic violence confined me mentally for quite some time. The bright and soothing colors of the room and my life turned into painful colors. This is my testimony on how political is the most intimate, and how institutions continue to fail the survivors.

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

The painting, "Room in Arles" by Vincent Van Gogh, is recreated three times on the fabric panel. My first painting of the bedroom has similar cheerful colors as Van Gogh's in his original painting, including blue, green, yellow, and the bed is light brown and yellow. This recreation is outlined in black and is captioned “Bedroom in Athens, May 2018.” Below this is a square outlined in red, and inside is the quote “IF YOU GO ON YOU YOU WILL BE RAPING ME.” Both the yous and the me are echoed with the same word written behind it. RAPING is written in red, with lines amplifying it on the sides. The second recreation of the Room in Arles is mainly colorless, except for the bloody red color of the bed. Like time has frozen and the only thing that flows is bloody red. This recreation is captioned “Bedroom in Athens, May 2018. Below this is a square outlined in red, with the words in black “I <-> JUST <-> LAID <-> THERE <-> LIKE <-> A <-> DEAD <-> FISH <->”. These words are written along the outline of the square, and “THERE LIKE” is written backwards. “DEAD FISH” is written moving into the middle of the square, and written over the top of a drawing of a dead fish that encompasses the center of the square. The third recreation of the Room in Arles is not colored in at all, except for some black shading, and written in big red letters “TITLE IX” over the bed.
The letters are dripping blood. This is captioned “Bedroom in Athens, 2019.”
 

A close-up photograph of the room sketch series depicting a grim room with 'Title IX' written in blood
Photo of physical exhibit depicting darkness moving toward life to symbolize trauma and the path to forgiveness and self-love

Before this happened to me, I was one who could never understand why someone would stay in a physical and/or verbal abusive relationship.  I was one who said there was no way that I would stay after even one incident.  But, I did.  I stayed until I was afraid to speak and have my own mind.  I lost my self-confidence, my sense of being an individual, and my sense of purpose.  I felt like I had lost everything.  The home that I once owned was sold.  I felt stuck and hopeless.  I stayed until the third incident scared me so bad that I could not close my eyes to sleep.  At that point I knew I needed to leave, but it took me a while to get a plan into place.  Somewhere deep inside, I found a part of me that was still alive enough to know that I deserved more than what I was getting.  I did not deserve to be treated and spoken to as I had been in this relationship.  I knew that anything was better than not knowing when his drinking would have me physically and/or mentally harmed.  In my situation, he never once said he was sorry for any of the incidents and still hasn’t to this day.  He blamed me for everything.
To anyone going through this, don’t give up, make a plan, get out, and dig deep inside for strength.  Believe me, it’s still in you.  Seek your inner wolf and be free.  You deserve to be you and be happy.  You deserve to be cherished and respected.  But above all, you deserve to be safe.

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

With white margins surrounding it, below “in this space” is a streaky gray background, which shows the darkness of the survivors’ experience.

On the left, in the gray, is a square outline in blue labeled LIVING ROOM where the first incident took place, and within the square are the words, typed on white, “drug me by my leg to front door”. It is labeled “1” on the right hand side. He drug me by the leg through the living room into the kitchen.  Minor scrapes and some bruising.
 
Below the top row, there is the number “2” on the left, representing where the second incident took place, and on the right is the outline of a blue square labeled KITCHEN, and within the square are the word, typed on white, ‘Twisted my left hand and broke a finger.” He crushed my left hand leaving the middle finger broken.  Finger brace and months of hand therapy.
 
Below the next row, and below the 2, is a square outlined in blue labeled BEDROOM where the last incident took place. This is labeled, to the right, with the number 3. Inside the square, typed on white, are the words “Grabbed me from the back and held me in a choke hold NO MORE!” While in bed, he grabbed me from behind and placed me in a choke hold.  Minor bruising but a lot of nightmares and fear.  
 
The streaky gray area starts shading to sky blue, representing my leaving the darkness and into some light when into my own home.  There is a square outlined in blue that overlaps between the gray and blue, labeled MY HOME. Within the square, typed on white, are the words “The beginning of 2 years of healing, forgiving myself, finding myself, believing in myself, forgiving him.”
 
Within the blue shading, and below the MY OWN HOME square, is a yellow sun and two butterflies (one orange and one blue). Below the butterflies is a quote, typed on white:
Throw me to the wolves, and I shall return leading the pack. –Unknown
Below the quote is a color copy of a wolf picture, colored in with yellow, blue, orange I completed not long before this project was complete.

A close-up photograph of a mixed media art piece and words that say, 'My own home, the beginning of 2 years of healing...'
Photo of physical exhibit from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery that says 'Bad Space' and a close-up that says 'I cant sleep'

"My Star Comforter, Freshman Year."

"In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

Bordered by white along the edges of the panel, there is a streaky, shaded black background running vertically along the panel. At the top, a more opaque black background hosts the words, written in yellow, BAD SPACE.
Below is the shape of a person, somewhat abstract at first, is outlined in thick black, before transforming into an outline of red embroidery thread knotted near the chest. Yellow stars are created out of embroidery thread and placed distantly from one another over, overlapping, or just outside of the outlined form. Fabric with shiny yellow stars have been cut and stitched on and around the form sporadically as well.

Side 2:
“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

“I can’t sleep.”

Photo of physical exhibit from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery depicting a stage with curtains and a credits listing for 'An Abusive Production'

“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

Red velvet drapes, tied with gold cord and tassels, frames black fabric stiffened by cardboard. On the black fabric are typed words on white, like the credits in a movie, that read:
“Middle School Horror Story Presents
An Abusive Production
IT MOSTLY HAPPENED IN PUBLIC SPACES.
Lead Cast
A Survivor …… ME
A Rapist …… HIM
Supporting Cast in Rape Culture
Bystander/First Person Told/Blamed Me …… MIDDLE SCHOOL FRIEND
Bystander in the Movie Theater …… A MOTHER WITH HER CHILDREN
Bystander in the Movie Theater …… HIS FRIEND A FEW SEATS AWAY
Bystanders …… IN THE MOVIE THEATER
Bystander/Heard Me Called a Bitch/Chalked It Up to a “Lovers’ Quarrel” ……
MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Bystander …… A TEACHER WHO DIDN’T TELL”

Halfway down the panel, typed words read: “YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTACT ME TO TRY TO BRING YOURSELF PIECE OF MIND. YOU DON’T DESERVE IT. EMAILING ME WAS SCARY FOR ME. YOU INTERRUPTED MY SPACE.
I HAD LEFT. YOU FOUND ME IN A NEW PLACE. NO SPACE WAS SAFE.
SUBJECT: please take the time to read this letter. From your past
Where to start? First off I just needed to let you know a few things, Most of all I will never E-mail you again or make any attempt to contact you in anyway or form.....Please keep reading! I'm sorry and I know no matter how many times or how I say it can never make up for what I did. One time I asked you what I could do to change things. You told me to think about it everyday because you did. I tell you now that I do, every day
every time I talk to a girl I think about you and have to ask myself can I treat her right or I'm I going to mess it up and treat her wrong. What I did to you was wrong I manipulated you. I lied to you. I played off your emotions. I used you love or care you had for me for my gains.
AND YOU STILL CAN’T SAY THE WORD FOR WHAT YOU DID TO ME?? SAY THE WORD FOR WHAT YOU DID TO ME.
I did not always know I was doing it. I did not meet you and think how can I use this person. I wanted to do what was right. I could sit here and tell you that it was the way I was raised and it may have been but I'm not blaming my actions on anyone but me. If I had never met you. I would be no where. I would be living on the streets or in jail. You and your mom showed me there was a better way. You showed people were good. because before you everyone in my life, cared more about them self then any thing else. I recently came home from overseas and things were tearing me   up inside. I talked with a counselor. she told me I should get this out. Right now just thinking of it all brings tears to my eyes and I shake. You know, you may not believe this but you taught me how to respect a woman. I traveled a great distance and when I see how other countries or people   treat woman. I think of you. What you would do or say. how would you handle the situation. I try to emulate it. Nothing I can do can every make things better. I know this but I ask again what can I do? How can I express my feeling to you. You know I try not to even come home anymore. I will go to another country or city because when I see you it tears me up again. I know that pain does not compare to your's or the way you feel. I just need to let you know. If you write back doing nothing but yelling at me I understand and expect it.
PRETTY SURE THE WORDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ARE ‘I’M SORRY I RAPED YOU.’ BUT MAYBE YOU DIDN’T AND DON’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS. I CALLED IT A LOT OF SOFTER WORDS TOO (MOLESTATION). UNTIL I WAS IN CLASS ONE DAY. AND I READ ABOUT RAPE. IT WAS RAPE. I LEFT CLASS AND CRIED IN THE BATHROOM.”
    
Further down the panel, light blue fabric has been stitched on with white thread, the white thread makes loops around the words, typed on white “
I’ve not forgotten. But the memories
aren’t what they once were.
I am a survivor.
You don’t own my life’s story.
I do.
It’s my life. My story. My strength.”

Close-up photo of the 'Abusive Production' cast listing, telling the story of an abusive relationship through a stage production metaphor
Photo of a physical art exhibit depicting a shadowy, grim scene with a long description about domestic violence

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

“In this space” is written in white on a light blue paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

In black charcoal, the following story is written, with the ages demarked in gold to the right as the story progresses.
“Growing up in a violent home
There are no safe places, no safe people
You are vulnerable to the evil that hides in dark spaces
Like hiding from an uncle every other Sunday for two years, Age 8-10
After I refused to leave the adults to ‘go play’
Too many spaces in dark places – my Uncle always
Watching…
Waiting…
Who protects the 8 year old when SHE has to protect her own mother and hide her sisters, crying and wetting themselves, in the closet?
Who protects the 10 year old?
-Books and school were my sanctuary. Age 12
At 12, I went to church with a friend and found a youth group
The youth minister gave me a summer job babysitting her little girl.
I learned evil lived in that house too.
He was the OLDER BROTHER – older than me too
He was there EVERY DAY … liked to play GAMES BAD GAMES A LOT
He started ragging me to the basement to do whatever he wanted…
I fought, I cried, I begged but he was pure EVIL
My mother asked him to drive me home sometimes
He stopped along the way. ALL ALONE… DARK PLACES
I cooked dinner for that family every day
And the youth leader told me she was disappointed in me because I sometimes burned the food – while I was a hostage in her basement
Who could I tell? I was so ashamed.
I quit my job and I quit the church.
I learned to spot evil for myself! Trust no on!
Age 22
10 years later, the EVIL BROTHER became a minister and my mother started going to his church …
My mother told me what a good man he was…
SO I TOLD HER WHAT HE DID TO ME!
She was upset I had not old her BUT resolved that he was a good man NOW… forget the past.
Age 30
When my father died, the EVIL BROTHER preached the eulogy…
I sat silently grieving for all the dark spaces in my life
Older
5 years ago, the EVIL BROTHER died!
My mom started saying what a good man he was again …
I TOLD HER OFF and let out my RAGE
I told her what he STOLE from me
And I told her I’m glad he’s dead.
HE stole the church … but I found my own inner peace…
HE stole my trust … but I believe in myself now…
[in blue] Because I am a survivor and I don’t keep secrets anymore
[in black] But, remember…
Growing up in a violent home –
There are no safe places… only dark spaces
I just have to keep the dark spaces out of my mind…
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – creates – DISRUPTED SPACES. [in gold] Protect your children…”

At the bottom of the page, there is a drawing looking down from the top of the steps into a very dark and evil basement. To the side of the story is a drawing of a church which has charcoal marks over it. The charcoal marks are also made throughout the story.

A close-up photograph of the grim, dark space with the words, 'Domestic violence creates DISRUPTED SPACES Protect your children...'

Prompt: Dangerous Space: What spaces have been retraumatizing?

Photo of a mixed media art piece depicting fragments of text that relate to a dangerous space the artist encountered as a victim of assault

My story is disjointed, unsightly, uncomfortable. Pieces of my story, my history, are stapled recklessly onto the fabric over an uneven coat of black paint. The back of the banner is covered in masking tape, covering the manic stapling; a metaphor for wanting to protect those who view and hold my story so they aren't harmed by the sharpness of what I have to say. I want to share with you. I want you to understand my pain.

This banner holds shards of me after I am continuously broken into thousands of pieces, over and over. I know that eventually, the papers with my words will fall off, get crumpled, perhaps become illegible but that's okay. I hope the next time this is displayed, my story has also changed, and maybe some of the statements will no longer sing true.

I hope that those of us out there who are scared, who are ashamed, who live in fear within their families recognize that they are never alone. It's okay if you couldn't report. It's okay if the best you can do is get up today. You are valid. You and your story matter.  

The duck cloth fabric is painted black, though streaks of white are visible throughout and along the right hand side of the panel. A strip of white is available at the top, in which the words, typed on three separate pieces of paper and stapled to the fabric, “fight” “flight” and “freeze” are written. Fight and flight are crossed out with a single red line. Freeze is slanted and traced in red.

On the fabric painted black are a series of white strips of paper stapled to the fabric with the following words.
The space [“space” is traced in red]
Changes.
The violence [“violence” is traced in red]
Remains.
I’m a victim because
It
Keeps happening.
“You need to report.” “I can’t.” [I can’t is traced in red]
“I could kill” [kill is highlighted in red]
us both right
now.”
driving with him
in his van

Why couldn’t I move? Why do I always freeze? He’s younger – I should be able to handle this. Is this my fault? What will happen if people know? When is this going to end? Will it end? What does safety look like? When will I get to feel safe? [Do I deserve to feel safe?] [the underlined words are underlined in red]

his hands around my neck my dad’s kitchen.

“He’s just a boy. He doesn’t know better” (He was 20).

“Also since our relationship is strained already just want to let you know that if you do get a handgun I will be contacting the police department due to your history of domestic violence and the impact you having a gun would have on the safety of the family.” [quotation marks in red]

Have fun with that. [the paper is outlined in red]

“You need to forgive him. The family is falling apart. You [with a red box drawn around it] need to fix this.”

“Are you sure it isn’t just sibling rivalry?” – my ex-boyfriend after I was assaulted at Thanksgiving [sure is underlined in red]

The white strips of paper are stapled to the duck cloth. On the back of the panel, masking tape is placed erratically in strips covering the backs of the staples.

A close-up photograph of the mixed media art piece with word fragments reading, 'the space changes. the vionlence remains.'

Prompt: Healing Space: Following your experience of interpersonal violence, how did you create space to heal? What did your process of healing look like? What spaces helped you heal?

Photo of an art piece depicting a vertical rainbow block atop a dreamy blue sky and a blue bird diving down past flowers from a blooming tree

I chose to use the Healing Spaces prompt focusing on how the queer community and the natural world have helped me heal my trauma. The family I have found in my community, who accept me for who I am as a queer, radical, polyamorous woman, and the knowledge that I belong among birds and wildflowers, are precious gifts. I want to be a part of that same healing for those who do not have the same privileges I do, because everyone deserves to belong and to feel supported in their identity.

The Progress Flag, which incorporates the rainbow flag, as well as black and brown stripes, and the trans flag, is situated vertically at the top of the panel, encompassing approximately the top third of the duck cloth.

Slightly overlapping the Progress Flag is a cloud that begins the transition to a blue sky, with bulbous clouds behind a leafy green tree. Below the limbs of the tree, an Eastern Bluebird is in mid flight above FLOWERS and green grass.

Side 2: “healing space” is written in white on a maroon paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

A close-up photograph of a painted blue bird diving toward some flowers against a blue sky
A photo of a mixed media art piece that says 'healing space' and features a feminine clothing outfit embroidered with flowers
Stylized text description of this art piece. Text is spelled out in this image's label

They want to be there for me. They want to know what happened. They want to ‘help’ me. They want to know who I was with, and what I was wearing. They want to know where it happened. Did I try to stop it? Did I actually say no? Was I drinking? Did I know him, or did I ask for it?
But they don’t want to know.
They don’t want to hear.
I was fully clothed, and I wasn’t drunk. I was with someone, other people were around. I said no, I even cried and yelled. I tried to move, I fought back, but it Hurt so much. The way I was pinned, the way I was penetrated, the bruises he left. I told people. I tried to get help, but nothing came of it the way I had hoped.
The trauma he left…
I can’t begin to explain.
 
Nothing I can say will make you understand. Not the words I choose nor the pain in my voice, and that’s okay. But was this hard to read, Because of the fonts? Or maybe, just maybe, what I say might mean something.

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

“healing space” is written in white on a maroon paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

There is a black, long-sleeve turtle-neck under a jean jacket created out of old jeans. The denim panels are sewn together in colored thread. The outer edges of the jacket are stapled length wise along the arms, shoulders, chest and waist.

The black leggings below are cut in places to show red, lacy underwear embroidered with the word ‘NO’. Cuts along the leggings are embroidered with flowers in a multitude of colors to symbolize growth.

A close-up photograph of a red underwear garment visible atop black pants with the word 'NO' embroidered onto the garment
Photo of a colorful mixed media art piece that reads, 'True love Breathed SALVATION INTO Me' above a flower with a butterfly on a blade of grass

I am the survivor of sexual assault by both a former partner and a stranger. Both of these experiences made me feel like nothing more than a vessel for men to use and take from. For a while, I was able to acknowledge logically that I was a survivor of sexual violence as well as emotional abuse, but emotionally I didn't believe myself. No matter what anyone else told me --be it my therapist, my friends, or my family-- I didn't blame those who hurt me, I blamed myself for being hurt by them, trusting them, even loving them.
 
The phrase written at the top of the cloth, "True love breathed salvation into me," comes from a Beyonce song. She was probably thinking of Jay-Z when she wrote it, but I included it to mean that true self-love saved me. It didn't matter if 1,000 people told me that my feelings were justified if I didn't believe it myself. So, I started telling myself that what happened to me was wrong, that I did not deserve it and that I was worthy of love every single day. I started treating myself like others were treating me -- with compassion and understanding. I had to create a healing space for myself, with the help of a wonderful support network.
 
 
This piece tracks my journey. I included a painting I completed in art therapy, cuttings from photos of me and my former abusive partner, as well as harmful phrases that abusers have said to me to justify their actions. I wanted to take some of the worst things that have ever happened to me and make them into something empowering and beautiful. The piece is colorful and full of life, but some parts are unfinished and messy. This is what healing has been like for me. Some days I feel powerful and confident, others I am propelled back into thoughts of self-hate and self-doubt. My healing may be unfinished, but I am proud of how far I have come.

Alt Text Provided by Survivor, with edits and additional information from curators:

This piece is full of color from the top to bottom. To create the piece, I splattered paint on the cloth at random, with red, orange, and yellow at the top moving to green, blue and purple at the bottom --kind of in a gradient. I then put on music and my friend and I danced on top of the cloth, moving the paint around with our feet to cover its surface. "True love breathed salvation into me" is written at the top of the cloth in black paint. Growing up from the bottom are four large flowers, all of varying sizes. Their black stems curve their way up the piece to a little over midway. Their teardrop shaped leaves have been cut out from a red, yellow, and purple finger painting that I made in art therapy. In the middle of three of the flowers is a different photo of an eyeball that has been cut from National Geographic Magazines. One is the eye of a woman, another an eye of a man, and the last an eye of an octopus. The center of the largest flower that grows closest to the top is another picture cut from a magazine, but this time it's a photo of a bird caught in a net. Lastly, there is a large butterfly sitting on a green leaf. On the leaf there are words that my abusers have said to me. These include, "I'm sorry, I just wanted you so bad," "Sex is complicated," "I feel like I may have pushed something on you you weren't ready for," "You look so good I can't help myself," and lastly, "It was an in the moment thing." The blue, red, pink and purple wings of the butterfly are collaged together with small cuttings from photographs of myself and a former abuser.
 

A close-up photograph of a mixed media art piece depicting a colorful butterfly on a blad of grass next to a sprawling flower

Prompt: Claim Space: If you have, or could, claim space as your own (physical/geographic, your own bodily autonomy, protest movements, etc.) what space would you make for you, your experience, and your survival?

Photograph of a mixed media art piece that reads 'claim space' and shows a colorful serpent shedding its skin amidst red flowers

“claim space” is written in white on orange paint at the top of a long white panel of duck cloth fabric.

In faded brown, the question “is Medusa good or evil?” is written repeatedly behind a red, yellow and orange snake that is drawn, slithering and looped, down the duck cloth fabric. Stitched on to the snake are fabric petals from a flower and soft white fabric bandaging portions of the snake, and stained with drips of yellow, red, and orange, paint. At the snakes midsection, the question turns to the repetition of “shedding skin. Shedding skin. Shedding skin” over and over again. Towards the bottom of the snake, the word “skin” repeats over and over again. A few scattered red pedals are placed over some of the words. Then white fabric, dipped in red, is bunched like a flower and stitched on to the panel. Red fabric flowers are also stitched on the panel, with the lower portion draped in soft white fabric.

A close-up photograph of a mixed media art piece depicting a colorful serpent atop the words 'shedding skin' repeated in the background

Prompt: Hold Space: How do you dedicate yourself to holding space for survivors?

Photo of physical exhibit from the 'In This Space: Disrupted' art gallery

 The work becomes a sewn topographical map of action...holding a space-HOME.

Alt Text Provided by Contributor:
The white canvas duck fabric is filled with gestural drawing created with a sewing machine- both organic shapes that mimic the female body and jagged shapes that resemble a heartbeat [are] all created with red, black and blue thread. There are delicate and dainty women's handkerchiefs sewn on top of the canvas throughout the thread shapes.
Near the top of the canvas is a red and white striped handkerchief that has the initial "P' embroidered that is neatly folded and sewn tightly to the artwork surface. Home is spelled out in the panel with sewn and applique letters in the middle right of the canvas.  
The focal point is a pocket bubble that is created with a light blue handkerchief.  The pocket bubble has two red buttons and small slips of white paper that are written in a typewriter like font- in black ink tucked inside. On the left side of the bubble is hand crocheted multi-colored lace in cream, blue and pink.
The text on the slips of paper read:
“Home should not be filled with doilies but truth.”
The slips might remind you of fortune cookies.

Several other phrases on paper are sewn with a red and magenta zigzag stitch to the canvas-
“Home should shelter love- not secrets”; “We take this space for all”; “This space should be a safe to share our truths.”

Photograph of a mixed media art piece where strips of sentences are visible through sheer fabric

Resources

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Ohio University offices are operating remotely until further notice, so please use phone or email to contact them rather than presenting to their physical office space. Students on the Athens Campus seeking confidential resources should contact: Survivor Advocacy Program: Lindley Hall 038; 740-597-SAFE(7233); Counseling and Psychological Services: Hudson Health Center, 3rd Floor; (740) 593-1616 (opens in a new window); and/or Campus Care at 740-592-7100. Additional resources for regional and extension campuses can be found at: https://www.ohio.edu/pacsm/resources (opens in a new window).

Ohio University employees and community members seeking confidential resources should contact the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program: 77 East State Street Athens, OH 45701, Toll-Free: 888-597-SAOP (7267); and/or the Employee Assistance Program: 1-800-227-6007. To report sexual misconduct to Ohio University, contact the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance: Lindley Hall 006; 740-593-9140; equity@ohio.edu AND/OR click on the “Report Sexual Misconduct” tab at: https://www.ohio.edu/equity-civil-rights(opens in a new window).

Additional reporting options are listed on the Survivor Advocacy Program’s website at: https://www.ohio.edu/survivor/options/reporting (opens in a new window).

24/7 Telephone Hotlines (National):

  • National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • United Way Crisis Helpline 1-800-233-HELP (4357)

Additional Virtual Exhibits

In 2018, Ohio University presented the “What Were You Wearing?” Exhibit. The first “What Were You Wearing?” exhibit was held in 2014 at the University of Arkansas, and many have been held since at campuses throughout the United States. Ohio University’s exhibit is available as a virtual exhibit at: https://ohiotoday.org/what-were-you-wearing/ [also available in Spanish]

In 2019, Ohio University presented “Through the Survivors’ Lens.” “Through the Survivors’ Lens” featured 52 photographs submitted by 20 survivors of childhood trauma, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, harassment, and domestic violence to document their responses to prompts such as: What does survivorhood look like to you? What did the experience of trauma look like to you? How does your assault or trauma still affect you? It is available as a virtual exhibit at: https://ohiotoday.org/through-the-survivors-lens/