Vulnerabilities : an Emotional Exploration in the Voices of Survivors
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Vulnerabilities is a collection of pieces created for my senior individualized project (SIP) which addresses issues surrounding how sexual violence and violence against women affects survivors and their perceptions of their bodies. I created and launched an online survey for survivors of sexual traumas to anonymously share with me how they experienced their bodies during and after the event(s). I then took the responses apart, examining differences and the many consistencies across the feedback. I used everything from a single word—generally an emotion—to a full answer to a question from one of my respondents for the basis of my works. What I made with these segments varied from two-dimensional works illustrating some of the bodily challenges faced by survivors to painting-performances that directly addressed emotional and physical struggles during or after the experiences. My project prompted the topic of sexual assault to the foreground of the minds of the viewers as blatant subject matter, bringing a strong presence to a normally taboo topic and, in short, facilitating a sense of relatability into this often-shunned experience. These core emotions that everyone shares at different points in life—anger, shame, confusion—came forth in my pieces and facilitated an empathetic connection to the audience that was not necessarily there before.