Please Note: When You Look At This Art Please Take This Into Account
I DO NOT ENDORSE THE WORK OF ART THERAPISTS. I CONSIDERED THE PROFESSION IN 2003 AND SPENT MY CHILDHOOD STUDYING SYMBOLS AND DREAM PSYCHOLOGY FOR ENTERTAINMENT BUT DECIDED I COULD NOT DEAL WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD. IN BEING AN ART THERAPY PATIENT I CAN STATE THAT ART THERAPY DID MORE HARM THAN GOOD IN MY LIFE AND I CANNOT RECOMMEND ART THERAPY TO OTHER VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. AN ART THERAPIST IS NOT A MEDICAL PROVIDER BUT AN ARTIST WHO TOOK SOME PSYCHOLOGY COURSES. AFTER SEEING MANY THERAPISTS MY RECOMMENDATION IS FOR A VICTIM OF VIOLENCE TO SEEK A DOCTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY NOT SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO ROLE PLAY FREUD.
This is not made up, I really was the victim of a series of unsovled crimes. In Late 2009 the police told me 3 men all graduates of McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business MBA program were persons of interest but no one was arrested and I was denied access to justice and instead abused for one of the person's of interest. The police put a media ban on the claims of one of the men so I cannot share that with you as I would like to. I still attend therapy and I will never forgive or forget until justice is served to each and every one of my abusers. I attended Art Therapy and saw several other therapists to deal with being the victim of violent crime. Many were helpful but I do have my concerns about the art therapist and think she might suffer from some complex-psychiatric problems resulting in more harm than good to some of her clients. I thought it would be a good fit because I considered taking the same Master's of Art Therapy program she completed at Concordia when I was at OCAD but decided I couldn't deal with being an art therapist. Almost a year after our first appointment she asked me if I had ever seen a dead body and told me her sister draws corpses in a morgue and it scared me to the extent I called her boss and spoke with someone in law enforcement about her. Different therapists are better suited to different people.
This is the beginning of a larger project to be titled "Unforgivable" addressing unresolved distress at being stalked and terrorized from 2007-09 while completing an MBA and secondary assaults as a direct result. They were so unstable and mentally ill they sent me heinous things including pictures of dead babies, obscene derogatory terms for women and threatened violence. I don't know why anyone would do such a sick thing. In 2008 a university academic therapist described in my academic deferral recommendation letter that I needed an extension on my exams because I was "struggling with disturbing events" and in April of 2009 I was diagnosed by a psychologist as being severely traumatized. After years of therapy to deal with the trauma of being terrorized by perverts (I never spent time in a mental hospital but looking back wish that I had), I made a decision to only allow new people into my life and never allow anyone from my past to return. The drawing of the man is one of the policemen I spoke with, it doesn't really look like him but he had very kind eyes and I wanted to draw his picture because he listened to me. This is not just about dealing with the terror of the past, but the window to the future. Being just 30 years old I am not too old to start fresh and say goodbye. I feel it is very important to share my ideas and process with other creative people and hopefully this will be translated into a larger textile fine art piece or series.
See below for actual artwork created in art therapy with a trained crisis councelor from Spring 2009 to spring 2010.
If you recognize the man or woman in the dark blue/purple painting, please report them as according to my art therapist we were drawing my stalker. Thanks.
And yes, that is a stick person jumping out of the building and what I told her I wanted my stalker to do.
What bothers me the most is that I was working so hard at an MBA to finally in my mind get my first opportunity in life to have a good job as I'd never been able to find one after I went to OCAD University and did everything I could at my MBA co-op in 2007 in hopes I might end up that young lady who wins a fabulous award at my university for my hard work or ends up in the school magazine. My fantasy at the time I was being terrorized was that upon graduation I'd land my dream job after winning an amazing reward and be that girl in her 20s featured for being a really great person who succeeded in like the business section of the newspaper and show all the people who denied me opportunities in life that I was worthwhile and instead I was the victim of a series of unsolved crimes, I never finished my MBA and some of the people who treated me horribly in my life are the ones who got those kinds of rewards. I felt so worthless about my life already up to the age of 25 because I figured already there must be something wrong with me in that no one would hire me to do anything full-time, then I realized most people my age also felt that way, but regardless the last thing I needed was to be terrorized when my confidence was already really low. I think all the students shared that same fantasy of being one of the star students and I always felt really special for that one scholarship reward I won at OCAD.
The reality for all of this mess in my life is this: I will go on as I have in the past and try new things but the memories will always linger and the pain will be the same in 25 years. I know this because I still feel the same pain from things that happened in my life over a decade ago, maybe in some ways I am stronger, but those scars will last a lifetime and no drug or therapy session could ever take away those feelings. I guess the stereotype of the tortured artist does have validity, if I was not emotionally tortured over true events in my life, I would not need to make art, and I wouldn't have the same drive to stand up for what I believe in because I wouldn't know what those emotions felt like and just go thru life spoiled hidden away from the knowledge of what is suffering thinking the tiniest most insignificant things were catastrophies. There are a lot of people who are embarassed by their emotions and have trouble expressing them and act out in rage, I wish they would learn the value of finding a positive creative way of expressing themselves, visual art is an excellent way of showing emotions and there is nothing to be embarassed of, as I've been making art for in specialized training since I was 16, that barrier of being scared to share never existed for me so I am lucky be an open book kind of person, I've never been embarassed by anything in my life although I am 100% aware there are very self-absorbed people who were embarassed by things involving me directly or indirectly and I can't imagine what it would be like to go thru life living with so much internal shame. Thankfully I have had visual art in my life since childhood as a way to deal with my emotions, but still I wonder how my life would have been different over the last 15 years if I never needed art as therapy in the first place as a place to store my tears.
The BIGGEST problem with this entire situation is this: To the men who assaulted me when I was too intoxicated when out with grad students to consent to sex, they believe they had a one night stand with a half ukrainian blonde girl who looked like a teenager. (The men in grad school all told me I still looked like a teenager at 25/26.) To me I was the victim of sex crimes and did not plan to have sex with anyone until I was engaged, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't have sex with anyone at 25 until I was engaged to be married. I had a boyfriend of 7 years and I didn't want to marry him but I did have sex with him, I didn't leave because I believed that if a woman has sex with a man she is a slut if she leaves, and then I left and was assaulted by men I trusted. The result for them is a high five and a hand up in life for scoring, for me it was years of sex assault counseling and being told to stop talking about it and to shut up or go to jail and years of abuse from being slandered by rapists and their friends. I will never be silenced.
On a Positive Note to End my Ramblings:
In all of this I was lucky to see what life is like for the sex trade workers of Toronto who end up in jail. Basically I spent an entire weekend living with hookers in a jail where they told me about their lives, their hopes, and their dreams, and they all have the same wish in life as most other women: that their children have better futures then they do, that they have lives free of drugs, violence, and educations. I even met a young woman who claimed she'd been abandoned and didn't go to school after age 13, I told her about student financial aid and that she could take a college course if she wanted to, and she didn't know that she could go to school. She told me she once met a girl who'd been to school and wanted to work in an office. What bothers me more than anything is how badly these women are treated when for girls like her it's ignorance that led her to where she was. They were nice people and all you have to do is speak to them with dignity.