Sexual assault survivors express themselves through art


As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Laurel Center hosted a survivor’s art show. 

“At the Laurel Center, we encourage our clients to express themselves through art. So, we often have art groups,” said Laurel Center bilingual victim advocate Julia Shiffler.

For some survivor’s of sexual violence, art is a part of the healing process. 

“Trauma sometimes affects the brain in a way that they physically can’t speak the words related to the violence. Having art and writing available to them helps them process through their trauma,” said Laurel Center program coordinator Leslie Hardesty.

The Hope and Resiliency art show was a safe space for survivors to share their stories. 

“This particular piece right here, the background is from where I wrote my story out and burned it. So the gray background is actually the ashes from my story,” said artist and survivor Tina Mahon “Valley Girl”.

A few artists shared their artwork in the show just to support the cause. 

“My inspiration comes from my faith and from nature and from emotions I feel and experiences I’ve had,” said artist John Tagnesi.

Some of the survivors have been artists long before they experienced abuse.

“I’m just really grateful to be here and to be able to share my experience with other people, learn other people’s experiences, continue to gather resources and hopefully help another person,” said artist and survivor Haley Brockway.

The show was hosted at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and featured 10 artists, along with some donating artists. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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