At Break Through Silence we use the Arts as a way to connect and aid in healing, specific to child abuse, domestic abuse and sexual assault. Many pains from childhood go unresolved, seeping into different crevices of our adulthood unless recognized and intentionally addressed. Abuse and assault have reached epidemic proportions and are health and social issues. Art may not take the pain away because well, hurt, hurts. What it and we offer is support, spreading awareness to local resources through various collaborations and the knowledge that while your healing journey is your own, you are not alone, you matter and keep progressing, one step at a time.💙
Child abuse is defined by the nonprofit organization, ChildHelp as “when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.”
In spite of the many improvements in our society, child abuse and sexual assault eradication aren’t advancing as quickly; abuse and assault continue at an alarming rate. Every ten seconds a report of child abuse is made, and many cases are never reported.
On average in the United States, between four and seven children are abused and neglected daily. This is one of the worst records amid industrialized nations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study and The Children’s Bureau’s Child Maltreatment 2012 Report. In an article published on January 28 of this year by The Boston Globe, Massachusetts reported the highest rate of abused and neglected children in the nation in fiscal year 2014, and had nearly the same number of victimized children the following year, according to newly released state and federal figures.
Regarding the overall maltreatment figures, the Department of Human and Health Services reported to Huffington Post, white children account for almost 44 percent of the victims, black children for 21.5 percent, and Hispanic children 22.1 percent. About 11 percent of the victims were physically or mentally disabled. Child abuse doesn’t discriminate. It happens in all ethnicities, cultures, economic backgrounds and genders.
Some of the ways this affects adults who have survived child abuse are:
- At risk for intimate partner abuse
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Depression and suicide attempts
- Unsafe interaction with multiple sex partners
- Lost worker productivity
- Higher health care costs
- Criminal justice expenditures
Sexual assault has different forms, but one thing should always be understood: it’s not the victim’s fault. Ever.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) defines sexual assault as a crime of power and control. The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:
- Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
- Attempted rape
- Incest (Sexual contact between family members)
- Sexual contact with a child
- Sexual coercion
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching above or under clothes
- Any type of sexual contact with someone who cannot consent, such as someone who is underage, has an intellectual disability, or is passed out
Sexual assault can also be verbal or visual. It is anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples can include:
- Voyeurism, or peeping (when someone watches private sexual acts without consent)
- Exhibitionism (when someone exposes himself or herself in public)
- Sexual harassment or threats
- Forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures
About Break Through Silence
We all have a responsibility in making our world better, leaving it a little better than how you found it. While we may not be able to change the world, we can contribute positively to the world around us, our communities. Break Through Silence, with My CARE Initiative, is one of the ways this contribution is happening. Break Through Silence is a concerted and conscious project whose efforts educate about child abuse prevention and sexual assault awareness. In April, which is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness month and Child Abuse Prevention month, “breaking through” the silence and barriers within abuse is the main goal, with the hope that those in attendance may arrive at personal awareness for healthy change with the utilization of different art mediums.
This event will collaborate with other organizations in an attempt to connect with our local communities, alerting individuals of nearby services, educating them, and spreading the knowledge that they aren’t alone. It isn’t my intent to make light of either child abuse or sexual assault. While lecture halls serve their purposes at times, this project intends on utilizing the power of the arts in bringing forth awareness and furthering understanding.
As a response to this, coupled with my belief and passion for the arts, I want to utilize the various mediums of artistic expression to fight back, and break through the silence of abuse. This project entails bringing together different styles, mediums and backgrounds of artistic expression in hopes of promoting communication and education through art. The amalgamation of Break Through Silence with My CARE Initiative, local educators, supporters and diverse artists within the community and region to jumpstart this project will be a testament of how education and art correlate.