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Artwork created by survivors of sexual abuse to go on display in Coventry

Artwork created by survivors of sexual violence in Coventry is to go on display next month.

Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) are hosting the exhibition to mark 40 years of supporting victims and survivors of sexual violence across the city, and we are funding the exhibition through the Citizen Local Fund which was set up to help people in local communities with groups or initiatives that promote mental or physical wellbeing.

A group of survivors have taken part in workshops delivered by by Arty Folks – a charity that runs art for wellbeing classes – and the artwork will be showcased at an exhibition at the Artspace Arcadia Gallery in Coventry from 7 to 11 March.

Their artwork showcases their voices and will focus on their journey to recovery.

Sharon Walters* is one of the survivors who took part in the workshops and said how much it had helped her wellbeing.

She said: “These workshops have been really important to me. It’s the first time my mind has been able to focus on something else and I’ve had the opportunity to publicly express myself in my own personal way.

“I’ve valued being part of a group where everyone has had a relatable experience.

“It has been an opportunity to let go of my anxiety and have fun.”

Our Director of Care and Support Martyn Hale said: “Providing support and working with those who help people that have experienced violence escape from its grasp is dear to me. We work with partners who deliver services on our behalf for those fleeing domestic abuse as well as provide accommodation for refugees. It seemed natural therefore to get involved in a project like this.

“To support an exhibition like this means in a small way we are making a difference and supporting those who have a hidden story to tell it through expression. Art is a fantastic way of doing this and it will be inspiring to see the exhibition and artwork portray so vividly the artists’ experiences.

“Anything that a person can use to tell their story, be it art, writing or poetry is to be celebrated. Often the telling of a person’s story is part of their recovery and coming to terms with what happened to them.

“I am due to visit the exhibition soon and it will be fantastic to see the artwork that has been produced.”

CRASAC is a registered charity and rape crisis centre which provides specialist counselling, advocacy, and emotional support services to all those who have been affected by rape or sexual violence at any time in their lives.

Chief Executive of CRASAC Natalie Thompson added: “We are delighted that Citizen have been able to support this project. For over forty years CRASAC has been providing victims and survivors of sexual abuse with a place to feel safe, heard and believed – enabling them to survive and thrive in life.

“Through a series of art workshops and individual contributions we have enabled a group of survivors to find their voice and validate their experiences.

“The exhibition will represent a snapshot of the hopes, frustrations, and determination experienced by the hundreds of victims and survivors we support every year.”

The exhibition will take place at the Artspace Arcadia Gallery from 7 to 11 March and will be open from 10am to 2pm. For more information about the exhibition, click here.

For more information about CRASSAC click here.

*not real name

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