Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Art supports sexual assault victims

Sexual assault is often as much a psychological attack as it is a physical one, and talking or expressing feelings can be extremely difficult for victims.

For the 12th year running, the University’s Women’s Resource Center is helping to make the first step toward closure a little easier through the Healing the Wounded Heart project, on exhibit now.

Participants are given wooden hearts and encouraged to use them in an artistic way to represent their process of healing said Wanda Burton, the Peer Education Coordinator of the WRC.

“The hearts are created by survivors of sexual assault and those concerned about the issue of sexual assault,” Burton said. “Some of them were in spaces of healing while others were in spaces of hurt when they created the hearts.”

Each heart is different and can be customized by the artists.

“Some of the hearts have additions that make them 3-D while others have taken pieces of the heart away. They use a variety of different materials that express how they feel in the moment,” Burton said.

(See also “WRC leads sexual assault awareness campaign“)

Burton said the WRC hosts the exhibit in hopes that viewers will take something from the display other than an appreciation of the artist’s abilities.

“Our goal is to display the range of perspectives so that people can see what happens after sexual assault,” Burton said. “Other victims can know that they are not alone and that there are services on campus to help deal with this issue.”

Allyson Azar, a junior majoring in music, said she was drawn to the exhibit because of the subject matter.

“Being a woman, it always hits hard when you hear about stories of sexual assault,” she said.

Azar said the visual aspect of the display made the subject seem more relatable as a viewer.

(See also “Addressing sexual assault in college“)

“Seeing the exhibit gave me a more real sense [of sexual assault] than seeing something on the news, because then you just think to yourself, ‘That’s terrible,’” she said, “but when that heart is in front of you, that makes it all the more real, makes you more empathetic.”

Azar said the unique way to frame the stories of victims, as opposed to a lecture, appealed to her.

“I think it’s interesting how artwork [is used by victims] to open up and channel their pain,” Azar said. “Some don’t use all the pieces of the heart, and that’s a really neat way to show how they’re still broken about everything.”

Azar said she recommends viewing the exhibit to friends, in order to spread the word about victims of sexual assault.

“I think it’s a good idea for everyone to be more knowledgeable on the topic and learn about these victims, especially if they’re a victim who feels like they can’t make peace with themselves,” Azar said. “It’s a perfect opportunity to learn about people who’ve gone through similar situations and struggles.”

The Healing the Wounded Heart exhibit is on display in the lobby of Farrah Hall through April 29.

(See also “Youth have to hold UA accountable for sexual assaults“)

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