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Domestic violence isn’t always big, loud, and overt. Oftentimes it is quiet in its development, almost imperceptible. Insidious like a cancer, catching the victim off-guard. It isn’t always physical violence, but the sustained impacts of verbal and emotional abuse, and power/control dynamics, often are extremely violent. The journey of how a domestic violence victim essentially becomes a target, and how that target begins the long journey to recovery and healing, are the two themes examined in this body of work.


The use of colour symbolism is deliberate and with the intention to evoke a visceral response. Red represents Pain; both the heartbreak and emotional anguish of it, as well as the rending of the spirit. The use of Black symbolizes the Darkness that seeps into, and the lens through which everything is experienced; a void where it seems no light or happiness will ever again enter. In contrast, White represents the Pureness of the abused, unaware they were targeted to become prey for malevolence. The Decay and Destruction of the emotional body, and in very tragic instances, the death of the physical body, is exemplified by the use of Grey.


In addition to the use of specific colours, mixed media was also incorporated to illustrate some of the dynamics within and surrounding abusive relationships. Resin is utilized to communicate the coldness of people and the isolating nature of this kind of relationship, while red stitching is used to explore the repeated puncturing and then subsequent mending of the target’s spirit by the abuser, only to have the cycle repeated, often many more times. The use of repetition of the target cut-out silhouette with variations upon that theme by way of different colours and media used, is congruent with the idea of cycles of abuse.


An off-handed comment by a friend alluding to the therapy I would need once I left an abusive relationship that was cycling in such ways, didn’t land at the time; I was clueless, though it planted the seed and grew to a point where I was finally able to remove him from my life. 


As an adjunct to professional counselling, I created this series to understand how I became “that woman”; to look back and identify all the little signs I missed. All the little signs so many people in abusive relationships miss. And to share those signs, and remove the shame of it in a big, loud, and overt way. 


Since leaving the relationship I still feel moments of hurt and anger, but I am healing and more and more confident in myself.

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