As one of the 1 in 4 women who will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, I am a survivor of rape. I tell my story because it is not a secret. I did nothing wrong and if I tell you then we share the responsibility and the weight of it. I don’t have to shoulder it by myself any longer.
When I decided to explore the topic of violence against women for my BFA show, I didn’t know what to expect. It is not a pleasant topic. It is stressful for me to talk about, to make art about, even to write this blog about. But it is important. Period.
I’m Telling You Now emphasizes the power of secrets and the way that we keep them because of the shame and the fear that we were somehow responsible.
I admit, there are tears running down my face, but they are not for what happened to me, instead they are for the experience I had when sharing this book. What happened during my BFA show opening was beyond anything I could have imagined. Women came up to me and told me their stories, right there, in the gallery. Women called me days later and told me their stories. They said things like, “I’ve never told anyone, but I know you will understand.” And what I realized in those moments was that by telling each other our stories we were taking away the power of the people who hurt us. Secrets are so powerful and they continue to hurt the people who keep them. More than one woman has since said, “I want you to tell my story.” In the future I hope to make artists’ books together with other women to tell their stories – perhaps in a gallery project.
I’m Telling You Now has had several iterations. This is the final version, I’m ready to release it out into the world. It is an edition of 10.