Each year the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) publish a beautiful, full colour calendar showcasing the artworks created in the SECASA art groups during that year. Everyone who participated in any of our women’s art groups and TOTEM for parents/carers and children have work included in the calendar.
The calendars are important for so many reasons : firstly, because they validate the creativity and talents of those people in our groups who have, for much of their lives, believed (and have been told) they are hopeless and useless. Secondly, the demonstrate to other people who have been abused that their is hope and recovery. Thirdly, because they look great – so people want to have one and that further uplifts those whose work is included.
You can view/download a pdf version SECASA 2015 Calendar. It’s quite a big file. They are also available at various SECASA offices in Melbourne.
Each year a wonderful group of women, and children with their carers, produce the art work that is showcased in this calendar. These brave women are willing to allow strangers to observe their healing journey by having their art work by having their artwork in the public arena. They all deserve our admiration for their determination and resilience.
Carolyn Worth, Manager
Words of Valerie, a participant in the art groups:
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and even today, long after the abuse has ended, I am still tormented by the past. You don’t see the tears that are trapped, masked behind my smile; you don’t see me go to war in my head everyday as I battle the demons from my past.
The art group is a place where I get to come out of hiding I get to see, feel and explore the me that is kept hidden behind so many masks. You never know where the art process of creating a piece of work will take you – there is a gamut of emotions to explore. I have felt crippled with fear as the emotions bubble to the surface while I am working on a mosaic and I just wanted to give up. I also found strength, courage and inspiration as I look around the room and I am reminded, praised and acknowledged by the women in the room – it’s ok to be me. These women are also on a journey of exploration and discovery -facing their own demons/pasts through their creations of art. There is no judgment made. In this space there is a true understanding of each other’s pain and struggles as our masterpieces take shape — but also a true sense of celebration of each person’s success. No matter how big or small, it all matters. There are days that just making it to the group is a celebration. There are moments where looking at your art creation as a reflection of you is overwhelming and empowering as the past, present and future are connected often for the first time.
When Anne raised the concept of the wall discussion in our art group it instantly captured my attention. I was taken to a place in my mind that I had long forgotten: a place filled with darkness and had so many unanswered questions, so much unfinished business. The words “hello” and “goodbye” just screamed inside my head.
Suddenly I was exploring and connecting to my emotions of grief and loss from the past. Creating the art was giving me a deeper understanding to my trauma that I kept hidden in my mind. But even greater than that, the wall gave me a place to put it – honor it – feel it – see it – visit it and leave it behind, releasing me from the burden of carrying it with me everywhere I go.
Each person in the group has a journey unique to them. The art process of creating connected us to each other and the wall connected us to the world we live in. Sexual Abuse is often hidden, silenced by shame. The wall is more than just the art work – you see with your eyes that it is a voice, our voice, of grief, loss, shame, guilt, love, courage, strength and inspiration.