Artwork by Kimberly Rhyan

This series reflects my survival story, which includes experiencing all but one of the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) before kindergarten. As a small child, I not only witnessed domestic violence but was also a helpless victim that went into foster care. As a pre-teen, from age 11 to 14, I was also sexually abused and finally spoke my truth at 14, but my mother didn’t stand up for me again and I went back into foster care. In my 30’s I was raped, and years later, I was also assaulted on a first date when I declined dinner and left the date early. I did not ask for it, nor did I deserve what happened to me. Yet, I know, what happened to me, happens each day to women in our communities.

Being a survivor means that I endured years filled with fear and anxiety. Even in my 40’s, after years of therapy, anxiety sneaks into my veins – it plagues and prevents me from living my best life at times- but I continue to find ways to thrive. During these painful circumstances, artmaking and writing are healing practices and help me to cope and keep on keeping on, despite setbacks. These paintings are layered with lines of truth to demonstrate that as survivors, we are always overcoming past shadows and surrendering to new beginnings. The creative journey is a chance to express my resiliency and determination to persist and succeed, as an artist, mother, educator, and soul-inspired survivor.

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Spiritual Healing from Sexual Violence: An Intersectional Guide is a collection of essays from survivors, scholars, activist reformers, spiritual leaders, and social justice practitioners offering numerous intersectional and culturally competent options for women, men, and non-binary conforming adults to explore and to create their own safe healing conditions and establish pathways for recovery. These chapters provide many culturally unique survival stories that can raise awareness of the issues involved in healing after sexual assault while influencing society’s values and belief systems that currently hinder victim’s ability to heal. In a classroom setting, these chapters deliver both the culturally grounded knowledge and the skill sets necessary for recovery.

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