There was a time in my life – a period of many years – when I actually felt invisible. I thought if I were able to go through school without people actually seeing what was going on in my life at home and in my being – emotionally and physically – that they must not really be able to see me – that I must actually be invisible. Silently I screamed for help. I knew not where to turn. I felt it must be obvious to someone (please somebody!) that things weren’t as they should be. I was always surprised and mortified whenever somebody recognized me and said hello- even years and years later. How could they recognize me if they’ve never seen me? It was confusing…why didn’t I say something to somebody? …Why didn’t I? A simple question without a simple answer. Why didn’t I??? I was afraid. I was protecting my mother. I was afraid of losing my family. I was afraid of suddenly becoming visible- exposed and visible all covered with shit. I was afraid. I was afraid of hurting each member of my family, including my perpetrator. I was afraid of being stoned or spit upon. I was afraid. I grew up. I kept the secret. I finally broke the secret at age twenty-nine. I told in an attempt to protect my niece and nephew. The result was successful but very painful for all involved. My family believed and supported me. They stood with me in the confrontation with the perpetrator. He was quickly banished from my family. The crises brought the rest of us closer together. I know for many it is the opposite that results. Often it is the one who suffers who is banished from the family. It’s devastating. Fortunately, there are individuals and groups who are available for support and help. We are not invisible. I am not invisible. You are not invisible.
— Gabrielle Senza 7 .17.01
This is a collaborative work between artist and viewer.
Please share your own experiences, thoughts and impressions
on the challenges we face in our society full of mixed messages
and double-standards. — g. senza
MEETING HOUSE GALLERY ~ NEW MARLBOROUGH, MA ~ JULY 2001
I didn’t really
I was 55 years old…
A secret buried for 52 years.
I still can become
invisible when it suits me.
We are only invisible to ourselves.
Ashes to ashes-
Dust to dust…
The supreme irony.
“All that you
I wish you
No wonder it is so
difficult for us to see each other in this
culture – we are so busy trying to
let ourselves become what we never could
be that we are terrified to see any
who reflect who we really are.
Blessed be – MKJ 07.23.01
The courage of
of mine, of the
letting it show!
“Give me a call
when you decide you’re
willing to fight
for what you think is real
for what you think is right”
I forgot what had happened,
I remembered but somehow hid
the significance to myself. Even
when my parents asked me if it
had happened to me too-I said no.
I don’t know when I finally saw
those memories for what they really
were but then it was like the sound
suddenly coming on in the middle
of a silent movie- “oh, that’s what
its about. . .”
When I was small my father
left me and he did not come
back. I told no one for
years- until I was an
adult, I held it inside
shame shame shame
Does it ever completely
I think not!
Every one wants
to be HAPPY.
Love heals everything. ALB
You are what you love
not what loves you!
BARD COLLEGE AT SIMON’S ROCK ~ OCTOBER 2001
“Love is handing a flower
to a naked young man
with vermine in his
hair while your mother
sits at home with
a broken heart”
Grace to be born!
& live as variously
– F. O’Hara
The subject subjects
– Louis Althusser
IF YOU ARE
GOING THROUGH HELL,
– Winston Churchill
Ok is Ok.
For a long time I battled with
depression. My parents and teachers
always thought I could
do anything I put my mind to and
there must be something wrong
with me that I couldn’t deal
with even the simplest things.
I felt as if everything was
my fault. I felt evil.
I am evil deep within
Deeper still than my skeletal grin
Farther faster keep going in
visit that evil deep under my skin.
Makenzie Hayes, 98
RIP Burke O’Brien, 1979-2003
The day when the good must die
and the rest chase crusades and sports cars.
You reminded me there was good in the world;
in then you were shot for no reason.
Where are you, Burko? Why did you have to leave?
And why wasn’t I there to help bury you?
The power of love
Is the power of strength.
Everyone makes a
mark somehow in
to carry on and never
hesitate to ask for
“LOVE iS THE iNFiNiTE PLACED WiTHiN REACH OF POODLES.” L.F.CELINE
The hardest thing to do is to watch the one you love love someone else.
Everything is OK in the end,
if it is not O.K. it’s not the end
-too true. I know it. I know because I have seen the end.
It is the beginning.
Ich hasse dich.
From a life of peace and plenty – an innate sense of chaos
WE MUST NEVER HIDE LEST WE COMMEMORATE THE
OUTRAGE. HOW DARE THEY PRY OPEN OUR INTIMACY
AND HONESTY AND FEAR WE EMERGE EMBLEMATIC
OF FAITH AND TRANSITION. POSITRONIC AURAS OF
STRENGTH FIE ON YOU CY FOR SEDUCING ME AND
NOT CARING IF MY COME SIZZLED WITH RAGE
AND FEAR IN THE BACK OF YOUR THROAT YEAH.
SURE I WANTED ‘IT’ BUT MY YEARS KNEW NOT
WHAT ‘IT’ WAS – I NOW KNOW YOU KNOW NOW,
HOW MANY OTHERS STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND
AND WORK MIGHTILY TO TEAR DOWN THE
WALLS WE FORTIFIED OUR DOUBTING SOULS
WITH NO WONDER I SCREAM NO WONDER
I’M SEEN WITH A SENSE OF TERROR &
DREAD HAH SO THAT WAS A KIND OF
LOVE AND ATTENTION I NEVER GOT
UGLY STEP-SISTER OF ABUSE I KNOW
YOU TRIED HARD AND DID THE BEST
YOU COULD IT WASN’T APPROPRIATE
BUT THERE WAS LOVE THERE
NEARLY ARABLE I HATE
NUMBNESS PINCH ME BEAT
ON ME CUT MY FINGERS OFF
I’M STILL HERE AND WILL
LET YOU KNOW GS YOU ARE
ABUNDANT AND REDOLENT
OF LOVE AND WILL AND
“Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
nights of insult let you pass
watched by every human love”.
“The Clothesline Project”
See it and understand;
See it and heal.
Blessed Be –
Rape = Power
The power which is
stolen may take years
to recover – but
it is retrievable!
Do not wait or
retrieve it now.
Is there such
a thing as a
A rape that is
clean and tender like
a Doctor examining
a patient? No
Physical violence, just calm, quiet and then it’s over, goodbye.
HAEC SUMMA EST
My heart that bleeds
My heart that bleeds
‘cause the shit I’ve been through
sometimes I feel like I can’t succeed
but I got to
In total darkness, no light to follow
my soul being torn
my body feeling hollow
Eyes of Anger, Tears of Blood
my mind in a daze
Drowning in a flood
I’m in a maze
No one to talk to
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
return to oblivion if you must.
Double tear ‘em
Creer que un cielo en un infierno cabe
dar la vida y el alma s un desengano;
esto es amor: quien lo probo’ lo rabe.” Lope de Vega
“I thank you God for
most this amazing day –
for the ears of my ears awake
& the eyes of my eyes are opened…
always the beautiful answer
that asks a more beautiful
question. . .” (ee cummings)
Peace Saalim, Shalom,
“We are all responsible”
– Marilyn Kalish
I just want to feel
good in my
Abuse makes you old. ES
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday
this is the birthday of life & love
and of the gay great illimitable earth.
to realizing your
purpose and forget
what has been
more than it hurts me.
He liked to say that.
He liked to
believe it’s true.
I believe it is crap.
Life is good
you must enjoy
the ride – It’s
a one way
I’m so glad
I lived long enough
to get sober
& give back.
. . .
In April 2008 we were invited by Eve Ensler and V-Day.org to bring The Collaborative Revelations Scroll to New Orleans for the phenomenal two day V TO THE TENTH Celebration. It was displayed on a twelve foot table in the Healing Lounge with a gorgeous flower arrangement and plenty of pens for people to share in the scroll whatever feelings of pain, grief, regret or gratitude. About 72 new entries were made. We are deeply grateful to all those who participated. It is our honor to share them here.
V TO THE TENTH ~ NEW ORLEANS ~ HEALING LOUNGE ~ APRIL 2008
God loves us all,
when we keep our mind on him
and when we love one another.
In 2002, I tried to destroy myself because a man tried to destroy me,
in 2008, I’m going to be a teacher. DO NOT GIVE UP!
All we need is love.
— Love Tyrus!
Family love there’s nothing like it!
LDM and DM
May God bless all of you.
See the world through the lens of a creative woman.
All things work for the good of those who trust in God.
Thanks, Katrina, for the lesson in trust.
My life was touched here today.
Go where there is no path and leave a trail…
There is joy in the morning.
Sous les parés la plage.
Respect the Mother!
If Ani DeFranco can take the time to care, then so can I! Wonderful, Ani! xx Kathy Girl
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP! 2Pac
God is good.
Love is a gathering together of God’s flock such as V-day.
Love/Hugs Effie B.
May you always look to Jesus.
God is good.
I know what it means to miss New Orleans!
I am strong because of what my mother went through.
The power loving yourself is great!
The power of love is the power of strength!
Everyone makes a mark somehow and in some way.
Violence is something you learn…let’s teach our children L-O-V-E!!
Barbra Hodge 2008 V-day
We have met the enemy and he is US!
My mom is my best friend.
Jennifer Jones, New Orleans Grand Marshall
Love your family.
We are all God’s children.
Be who you is, because if you be who you ain’t, then you ain’t who you is!
We are Queens of the world!!!
— Roslyn 2008
Thanks for being here for us.
Believe in yourself.
Hide your eyes with cool bangs.
To God be the glory
for the things that He
We going to make it
we just have to
unify and stay together,
get together and be together.
Thank you so much for everything. God bless you.
Awareness is the key!
I am learning to love myself again.
Life is good.
You must enjoy the road – it’s a one-way ticket.
It’s about the journey…
My disabilities have given me my greatest abilities.
I will listen, I will tell your story even when it seems nobody is listening. Thank you. Melyssi
Love, peace, and joy.
For years I was influenced to be quiet, to be invisible. I thought my life was over. And then, I opened up. I was finally heard and seen. I started to see the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I thank God for getting me out of that hell I lived in for so many years. I found the courage and the strength and I hold on to it every second of every day. My abuser once told me –
“I’ve never hit anyone before – you’re the first one I’ve ever hit!”
I hope I was the last!
It may be scary, but definitely worth it. Just Reach Out.
NO MORE VIOLENCE!!!!
Many times we as women abuse ourselves by allowing others to way us down. Today I am a new woman. I promise to take better care of my spiritual, mental and physical self. I am a star!
We all deserve to be cherished, honored and respected.
PEACE and GRACE.
— Call me Queen —
Make Your Dreams Come True.
No more nightmares!
Stop bad things before they happen!
Thanks so much to all of you dedicated servants carrying on Jesus’ mission.
Stop the cycle of abuse by any means necessary. Love, Live, Laugh at all costs!
Sylvia ’08 New Orleans
Eddie Giles Jr. is gone and I’m still here – he tried to take my Vagina away but God said “No!”
Love – U
Big Queen Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian.
I thank you for being here.
To the women –
we can be each other’s strength.
SuperLove does not have to end.
Let them know, we will not stand for this.
We deserver better.
Peace, Love Vagina!
I will continue to fight for you. I will not stop. We will win together.
Remember – I will walk through!!!
Do not linger – God is able.
Well, stay very healthy and if you already are healthy, keep it up.
How is it that a man can beat his wife, rape his wife, and still receive custody of his children and the beaten wife placed in jail. You just have to live in New Orleans and it can happen to you!! When will our voices be heard? Who is speaking for the children? Kimmie, Auntie Mary loves you. J — your time has come to be the man God has called you to be and not the man your father is!
I remember my father raping me and my grandmother, his mother, looking the other way. I remember that same grandmother allowing my father to “examine” me with his fingers thrust into my vagina saying he could tell if I was pregnant or not — because I was so depressed, they could not understand what was wrong with me. I remember it all. P.D.
We women are wonderful!
Thanks for bringing your love
for the tired New Orleans women!
V TO THE 10TH
. . .
Why ask why?
Roxanna Francis Houmala
Everybody is God’s children.
Let’s act like brothers and sisters.
. . .
It is easy to say “Peace and Love” but is it easy to do?
Stella Johnson – Thank you so very much for everything. God Bless You.
It is hard sometimes, isn’t it?
Elana Jessie Peace
Your laughter saved my life.
I can find my love.
It’s about the journey…
I have had four abortions. It feels like I have to keep that secret… Why?…
xo up hoc!
I have no words for this
Men who bully – SUCK.
Restitution is at the heart of hope.
Lu Nagen – God Bless
Love you Mehali
My mother, my daughter, her daughter.
A lot of anger
A lot of thanks
. . .
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ART FESTIVAL ~ SILVER SPRING, MD ~ APRIL 2008
April 10, 2008
Many times we as women abuse ourselves by allowing others to weigh us down.
Today I am a new woman. I promise to take better care of my spiritual, mental & physical self. I am a star!
Peace, love, harmony to each sprout within.
Birth is love
I’m stronger than ever now.
A “home” a “job”, “car”, my beautiful “three kids”, “monster” that didn’t have a set time to come out and explode. You bruised me inside and out, stripped me and laughed at me, why? I thought I was your woman, your lover, your baby’s mother, how undercover you were and how blind I was. “In time all wounds will heal.”
I want you back home.
Than a diamond.
I am not afraid of love.
I will never be a victim
trapped in silence.
I have found my voice.
I will SING!!
Michelle Johnson Major
Lacie Devin Houma, Louisiana
Once in a period of my life,
I felt as if I deserved to be hit
To be raped, but no more.
I am somebody and I don’t care who you are, you desrve better.
I was a victim of rape brutally. No more.
I will stand up and fight.
Everything is everything
Thanks Big Queen Oprah
Love – U
JUST FEEL FREE.
I am grateful for a father who is everything three daughters could ask for.
I’ve never been in a relationship but I have a child.
My husband gave me the heaven of children.
My lover gave me wings to see them from a distance.
I am a better mother than you ever were. K
I wish I can stop feeling like I can only be complete because he loves me. I am complete because I love me.
Silver Spring MD
Well, stay very healthy.
And if you’re already healthy, keep it up.
Love Freedom Expression
All means everybody!
My daughter is my hero.
Please stop the violence happening around the world.
Know someone loves you and life always has a way to change things.
Never be afraid.
Good job Papa and Liz. M
I would like the world to change about violence
I am not afraid to speak my truth.
I no longer accept hurt or harm.
Why are women still so hard on ourselves??
[Drawing of man with black eye]
My wife did this to me.
There’s no starting and stopping.
You think that by saying that, you can make us cry.
But we’re already crying.
To you Pepa who tortured, raped and nearly killed me.
I have survived!! I have thrived. I have a good life now.
My mom made me come.
Follow U R vision… Dream
I want to go home
Thank you for reminding me that “We are NOT alone, nor are we invisible.”
Your words brought me comfort and peace in this moment. NEVERGIVEUP. Sky
Walk with God in our New World for peace, love.
No hunger, no hatred, no prejudice, no fear.
It is good I know which side of the veil you stand on – when you finally know.
I feel it all!
Adrenaline filled joy?
How can I live up to your expectations
When I can barely fulfill my own?
. . .
RITES OF PASSAGE ~ PITTSFIELD, MA ~ JUNE 2013
Filled with Joy
My mind is a whirl of maybes and nothing is concrete.
I hope it never will be.
I miss my mom. Peace
I am not a mother.
Love & Tears
Speak your mind.
Layla, age 8
Don’t let people take advantage!
Peace to all who enter here.
Sometimes husbands are rapists – more than once.
Then they suck away your strength and it is so hard to figure out how to walk away.
I am 42 and have been married to this, my rapist, since I was 17. I think I am disappearing.
Thinking about the unthinkable. Abuse of power. Resulting of the abuse of position, comes the abhorrent abuse of children, adults, and even the environment. This growing scroll of hope bears witness to the courage to own one’s pain, to gain strength, understand how it shapes us, let go of the hurt and to move on. Share your experiences or observations and help to build community, compassion, courage and love. We are not alone, nor are we invisible. GS
Ella, age 7
“If you don’t create your realities, your realities create you”
Please stop hating me. Love me for who I am.
Love yourself as I will try to do the same.
I found purpose to my life with out you.
I am free. I still hurt. Beware the sleeping dragon.
Let go of pain.
Being a woman does not automatically make me a victim.
Thank you for spreading the message.
Never forget to DANCE!
Life is a long and winding road but in the end, the destination is the journey.
Or within these eggs
I like it
“You’re smarter than you think and braver than you believe” — Pooh
Evan, age 22
We hold the power of the serpent and the earth in us… Sarah J
Thank you for reminding me how beautiful art is, yours is wonderful.
Thank you so much and God Bless
Hi Gail – Thanks for telling me to come. Lynn (Zumba)
Take a moment to WONDER what lies within these eyes.
Goin’ home to strum my guitar and be a woman. Love it!
Paloma, age 7
I am sorry.
I wish and pray that love and peace become contagious and infect the whole world.
You had the courage to create your vision. BP
All these parts are fused together. I feel whole.
You can’t have the sweet without the sour.
Yet hurt but still brave.
No one expects anything of me. I am perfect.
I miss you, Gwen. CE
I love my sisters and brothers. T
Hi my name is Page. Age 7
I look and I wish a world without war, fight, a peaceful place share everything. DS
I AM VISIBLE
I AM NOT INVISIBLE
I MUST BE INVISIBLE
I AM INVISIBLE
I WISH I WERE INVISIBLE
AM I NOT INVISIBLE
I AM NO LONGER INVISIBLE
I AM VISIBLE
I AM NOT INVISIBLE
I MUST BE INVISIBLE
I AM INVISIBLE
I WISH I WERE INVISIBLE
AM I NOT INVISIBLE
This was a true eye opener, now I feel like I can do anything!
People have been through so much and to have had the courage to keep going, my story is a bit different, but in a sense the same. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
I can’t wait to practice being me. Love
I am sorry, Denise. I love you always.
To sanctify the natural. R
I don’t know what to write.
This has left me speechless.
I just hope that every woman and every mom will have the power and courage to speak out against any oppression they face. I know it’s easier said than done, but please, for your self, and for those (numerous people) who love you just try.
This is powerful. Community inspired magic – a poultice of amazing proportions for an aching heart. A
Thank you for helping me to come home. Now I remember.
My favorite part is sharing this with my husband.
Thank you. I am Proud to be Woman Golden Human
When a country is in harmony with the Tao, the factories make trucks and tractors.
When a country goes counter to the Tao, warheads are stockpiled outside the cities.
There is no greater illusion than fear, no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy. Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.
In peace, Bianca
Life is a collage.
Julie Cowen, age 8
Life is good.
Women Who Run with the Wolves
I Love this Earth and dancing through life as a Woman.
Life is a struggle but worth it.
Where do I belong?
Beth was wondering.
Vida, age 11
Be helpful when you see somebody being harmed.
I AM NOT PERFECT!
I NEVER NEEDED TO BE.
Life courses through my veins
Be yourself and it’s okay if you don’t fit in. Talia, age 9
Nothing is impossible, even the word says “I’m possible”
Live Laugh Sobriety
Teach others so that you may keep learning
F***ING AMAZING, POOJA – THANK YOU!
Bow to all
Miranda was here.
Life happens don’t look down
Always stay up don’t frown
Just keep up
We can live hand in hand without war or die fighting each other like fools. A paraty of MLK by Dexter Sumner
Women Writing Resistance!
I’m still not okay ~ but I know I am beautiful ~ Thank you.
God is just another artist. The Goddess is just another artist.
There IS only love.
It always works.
Connectar vida unitad armonia
The mystery that is Women
The mystery that is Woman
The My Story
I want to feel a love so much greater it is a life so much greater it doesn’t even have beauty!!
I wish something in my life would have been different.
Sometimes I feel I have failed too often.
Open to life
Love, Birth, Death
How do I
Save the bee.
Choose my brother.
Don’t Ever Give Up
No reason to be afraid. Really.
It’s okay to be afraid.
Love Peace & Understanding
I was here
U R SpeShell!
Open like an unfolding flower
Cronica de unfracso avisade
Let the fooling of oneself stop.
Let the true nature shine!
We are all beautiful
Sometimes we need to open our eyes a little wider
Joy ~ Truth
Love, Peace & Understanding
I choose to celebrate the perfection of my imperfections.
Set me free and bind me with love.
This made me feel big and small and natural and lost and found.
I am so opening with gratitude and heart and love.
I am beautiful.
Thank you for opening my mind
I was ruined…
— Giving you an opportunity to recreate yourself if you choose.
I am moved by the emotion of these rooms.
I am healed, I am healing, I am whole.
I wish, I wish
I could love
The shape of
I remember who Dance was. Thank you!
Be courageous enough to always hold to your own high standards.
Never fold. Be strong.
I had an abortion. Yes.
My daughter, her son
I never thought to honor my rites of passage that was violated when I was raped as a child and as a young woman. I carried shamed guilt and remorse all my life and now I hold space for myself in moments of sadness.
I release all feelings of inadequacy to the flowing river.
I WANT THIS ~ I WANT THAT
Thank you for showing me myself.
RECLAIMING MY VIRGINITY
WOMAN=TRUTH=LIBERATION=ETERNITY=THE ALL MANIFESTATION=LIFE =GRACE=BEAUTIFUL
Miranda already did
Wolf and all.
I need to be good enough for myself before I can be there for someone else.
I need to accept myself…
Dirty round the edges and soft inside…
I ride the waves of longing with Grace, sometimes.
And then you died, no warning
Just left me to raise all these girls and the boy
It is so painful. I miss you.
As a mom who has lost one.
Thank you so much.
You have touched my soul deeply!!
You are perfect
Every moment is perfect
I claim my time, my imperfection, my mistakes, my bad judgment,
It is all ok, I am human, I am a great mom.
So many reminders
So many losses
So many many things
We are unforeseen
Strive to give girls of the world the ability to be strong individuals.
Always in my heart.
. . .
SUBMITTED ONLINE VIA WEBSITE ~ 14 JUNE 2019
I was between the ages of 7-9 years old and he was in his mid 20’s. He was my mother’s boyfriend, the father of my baby brother. I tried to be invisible for years, I felt dirty and damaged and I tried my hardest to numb it all out with drugs and alcohol. I was filled with rage and shame. I desperately wanted someone to take away the pain, but I didn’t know how to let anyone in. It was years before I told anyone because I was so afraid…while it was happening, my mother tried to get me to open up by telling me she was worried that he “might be treating you like a girlfriend,” I didn’t say anything. I was terrified for my life and the life of my mother, because he was physically violent to both me and my mother in addition to the sexual assault, and he told me he would kill me if I told anyone and I believed that he would do it. Eventually he went to jail, but even then it took years before I told anyone. My senior year in high school a group of college students from a sexual violence awareness organization came and spoke to our class and shared their stories. I am so grateful that they came and that my high school made this program required for all students. It was the first time in my life since it happened that I didn’t feel alone, and I went up after the presentation and made a connection with one of the young women who spoke and I told my story for the first time. It was the beginning of a long road to healing which I’m still on, more than 30 years later. — Sheila