Sexual Abuse Survivors Showcase "Healing Works" of Art

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CHAMPAIGN--An art exhibit that opens Wednesday night gives a voice to those that have been silenced by sexual abuse.

"I can't verbally express my abuse as a survivor to many people," said Amber Cook. "So art is the form that I show it to people out in the world."

Cook is a survivor of sexual violence who will have a safe haven to share her story at the annual Healing Works art show held at Indi Go.

"Some of it is a little bit more difficult to view or read but we feel that it's important to give survivors that platform to share and talk about what happened," said Stephanie Ames, an advocate at Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services, or R.A.C.E.S.

Twenty-four artists are placing a spotlight on sexual abuse at the exhibit sponsored by R.A.C.E.S., a crisis center that counsels around 150 clients each year. 

Some of those clients attend an art support group to help them face their traumatic experiences head on.

"So many survivors they are forced into silence and they feel like they can't tell people what happened and so this is a good way, and a safe way for them to do that," said Ames.

For Cook, painting a piece entitled "Baby Steps to Recovery" that will be featured in the show was a way to break her silence and process her pain.

"Now I'm strong enough to tell the world that I was abused and raped, but now I stand strong and strive for what I believe in," said Cook.

Healing Works will run at Indi Go September 2, 5-8 PM; September 3, 5-8 PM; September 4, 5-8 PM; September 5, 1-4 PM; September 6, 1-4 PM. Admission is free and donations are welcome. 

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