Healing through art

The walls of the Civic Center in Carbondale are decorated with art work done by women who have been victims of domestic violence.

What may look like a doodle to the average viewer, is actually a symbol of hope to those struggling from the escape of an abusive relationship.

“And I put ‘peace’ and I put a whole bunch of hearts around each side,” said June, an abuse survivor as she explains her piece.

June says with peace and love you can accomplish anything.

But she was not always so hopeful.

“I just got to the point that I was physically and mentally tired,” said June.

She came to the Carbondale Women’s Center to escape an abusive relationship.

House manager Susie Delmore-Bell says these works of art, from scribbles to portraits, are all part of the healing process.

“You sit down at the table, you say, ‘I can’t draw’ and I tell everybody, ‘you got to start somewhere,’ if you just, just make a marking on the paper,” said Delmore-Bell.

She says to her, they are not just paintings; they are life stories, hopes and dreams, and even nightmares.

She says art therapy works.

“I know it works. It worked for me,” said Delmore-Bell.

“Whatever’s going on on the inside, you put it on paper and it gives you a sense of freedom,” said June.

June says she has learned from the women she now shares a home with through their own art.

“I read them, sometimes like two or three times a day, depending on how I’m feeling,” said June.

Each piece has it’s own story and provides a different message.

“Stronger belief in yourself,” said June.

Those messages give her strength to keep healing every day.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and want help, call your local women’s center.

– Carbondale Women’s Center, Carbondale, IL : 618-529-2324
– Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center, Paducah, KY: 270-443-6001
– Safe House for Women, Cape Girardeau, MO: 573-335-7745
– Damascus House, Paris, TN: 731-336-8724

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