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Naval Academy Art Exhibit Gives Voice to Survivors of Sexual Assault

Posted on: April 25, 2013 08:00 EDT by Naval Academy Public Affairs

A new art exhibit entitled "Spoken" on display in Smoke Hall through April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Spoken” is an interactive series of portraits and audio testimonies of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. 

The visual element, the portraits, offer a comfortable entrance into the uncomfortable topics referenced in the testimonies. The figure in each photographic portrait is obscured slightly by a painted overlay to allow for some anonymity while still presenting an identity for the viewer to associate with the testimony. 

This display shows how art can be used in a variety of situations to enlighten, inspire, and encourage others. The goal of the exhibition is to address the realities and myths surrounding sexual aggression and to give voice to these statistics.


Survivor of child sexual abuse: “I was shocked, afraid, confused. I didn’t understand what possessed him to do this. Sometimes I can’t handle being touched - normal tough. Hugs hurt, touch hurts. But I’m getting through it. I’m getting better. It’s interesting to see where I’ve come from and where I am now. I’m getting healthy and I’m learning how to get through, how to survive, hot to thrive. This is not my fault. I’m not ashamed anymore.”


Survivor of domestic violence: “I thought what am I doing so wrong to deserve this? I assume everyone’s out to get me. I’m slowly gaining my self confidence back and very slowly gaining the ability to trust people.”


Survivor of domestic violence: “I never looked at it as physical abuse because I thought physical abuse was hitting. I’ve never looked back. It’s made me who I am today, but I still have to live through what happened to me on a regular basis.”


Survivor of sexual assault: “I always felt like maybe there was something I did wrong. I know that he can’t hurt anyone in my family again. That is the most important thing to me.”

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