The black-and-white drawing I’ve shared here is one that I actually mentioned in Scars. I did this drawing as a teen when I was remembering and dealing with the sexual abuse. I drew it first in pencil, and then in ink.
To me, the bandages on the girl’s crotch were saying that sexual abuse and rape is so painful and traumatic that the bits of comfort and healing that you first get and make for yourself don’t seem like they can ever make a difference. (But they do over time.) And the strands, reaching up all
around and over her, represented the way the abuse affected my whole life—and also, though I didn’t realize it at the time, the way my abusers still had a hold on me (that they were still abusing me). There was so much pain that I was trying to get out in this drawing. Art, and the expression and release of pain, of intense emotion—it does help.
I did this drawing first in pencil, and then in colored pencil. That there’s happiness and hope in this drawing is a big thing for me; like my main character, Kendra, in Scars, I didn’t used to be able to draw happiness without pain. I also was rarely ever able to use color; most of my artwork was black and white. So using color and bringing happiness into it was a great step that reflected my healing and also my increased safety.
This drawing meant to me hope and happiness. Being able to hold the light, the day inside of you even when it’s night all around you. And it was also, for me, about dreams, about there being a sense of magic in the world, of goodness.
Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing that! Cheryl is working to break the silence, and shares her story so others in similar situations know they aren't alone. Click here to check out an interview Cheryl did recently on Daytime Toronto.
For your chance to win a signed copy of Scars, fill out this form!
Contest is US/Canada only. Ends October 10 at 6 pm CST