On the evening of May 31, 2018, Child & Family Services’ Haven House presented original artwork in a show titled, From Victim to Survivor: A Healing Journey
. Produced by clients in the Haven House Art Empowerment Program, the art work represented their paths through domestic violence towards survival and healing. The Haven House Art Empowerment Program is part of a national domestic violence survivors art initiative called A Window Between Worlds: Art That Heals
. Attendees described the show as “powerful,” “moving,”“inspiring,” and “emotional.” Survivors described the program as “ ... a great opportunity to tell my story,”while another stated that “…seeing my work on display with other friends brought me to tears.”
Five art displays were available for viewing, with multiplepieces in each display showcasing an intimate view into the survivors’experiences. Take A Walk In My Shoes presenteddecorated shoes that portrayed untold stories of pain and grief on the way tosurvival and healing. My Traveling Storyexhibited suitcases that represented some of what a survivor may carry withthem – physically, mentally, or emotionally – during and after fleeing abuse. Journey Footprints consisted ofcollaged footprint cutouts hung in mobile form and illustrate survivors’resilient steps to a life of independence. Passports to Freedom depicted a survivors’odyssey through domestic violence with pages that revealed the pain of thepast, the hopes of the present, and the dreams of the future. Lastly, Dream Holders were created to inspiresurvivors to pursue their dreams now that they were free from their abuser’s emotionaloppression.
Child & Family Services and Haven House intend to hold the art show annually to shine a spotlight on the struggles, strength, and survival of their clients. Haven House is Erie County’s only licensed domestic violence shelter. It provides safe, confidential services to victims of domestic violence and their children. Victims can find the resources needed to rebuild their lives, while children are taught skills to cope with family crises and learn peaceful forms of conflict resolution. If you believe a friend or family member is being abused, you can use the Haven House hotline to get your questions answered. The number is 716-884-6000.