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Art & Domestic Violence

Art programs provide an atmosphere of safety and acceptance. Battered women have experienced judgment and blame from their abusers, families, and friends, and this often leads to them doubting themselves and their feelings. For healing to take place, women must know that their stories will be met with respect and compassion. Art making:

  • Provides an alternative to talk therapy. Many survivors feel at home when talking about their art works, while being shy about discussing themselves during talk therapy.
  • Provides a chance for women and children to heal emotionally. It helps reduce the symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress.
  • Provides a direct, gentle and effective way for women to reconnect with the parts of themselves that they shut-off in order to survive violence.
  • Helps survivors to open up and use the counseling and support of the shelter more fully.
  • Enables women to release painful feelings and transform their vision of the future.
  • Enables women to tune in to their present needs and future goals. Participants are often surprised by how deeply the art touches them and how fully they are able to access thoughts and emotions that they were afraid to share with their abusers, friends, and even themselves.

Children in families with abuse and violence have learned to be silent about the violence and their feelings. Creative expression:

  • Helps children to reduce the trauma of domestic violence, or rape by encouraging them to express their feelings visually and enabling them to gain a sense of hope.
  • Allows children to explore their feelings without fear of ridicule or disapproval. They can gain a sense of empowerment and self-esteem.

This text derives from ''Manual for Art Leaders'' by A Window Between Worlds