Art to end the Silence on Rape – by artist Charlotte Farhan

Art to end the Silence on Rape

Since receiving reliving trauma therapy for PTSD my mind has swollen and over-spilled with flashbacks and night-terrors. This intensive therapy has hurt like a thousand knives piercing my brain and heart, but with all intensive therapies it gets worse before there is any relief. I have yet to feel any deliverance.

The word ‘rape’ used to be an utterance I was unable to speak or think, the mere mention or thought of the word, would send me into a detached state, a complete shutdown and the escapist inside found a way of entering a safe place which was more like a dream world.

It took me 10 years to confront the word, not the act, just that word ‘RAPE’.

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I had now accepted the word and what it meant for my continued existence, however I still can not truly accepted what has happened to me.

I still go over and over the incident, although the voice of society bullies my mind and the disbelievers ring in my ears. Telling me “but you fancied him? How could you not have wanted it?” and “But you are crazy, why would we believe you?” 

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Everything you could think of was used against me; my clothes, my mental health, home life and how well I knew my rapist were all used to justify what happened to me and I felt blamed, confused and as if I was deserving of it all.

Even after internal and external surgery caused by the rape, it was still said “she is so crazy she probably did the injuries to herself”.

The doctors, surgeons, police and mental health team all believed me and repeatedly told me it was not my fault and that the damage was clearly from forced intercourse and the bruises and marks were conclusive of restraint marks, but they were unable to undo centuries of victim blaming and misconceptions about rape, the world around me was singing from a different hymn sheet and I could not hear their support over the louder voice, saying “you were asking for it”.

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The person who I needed to believe me was not my friends, family or even society, it was in fact me!

I only managed to do this, this year and strangely enough it was exactly 15  years since that day. Through reliving the rape in my therapy I was able to separate myself and all the other voices and see the truth. Although it was a relief to finally say to my 15 year old self “I believe you”, it felt as if it had just happened and felt more real than ever.

I am still struggling and receiving treatment. But as a survivor I decided to speak my truth, to be part of the change and help others like myself. 

OMGOSH thats is true

As an artist I have decided to raise awareness and help end the silence.

Here is one of my first pieces from this collection, which is accompanied by a poem.

Chained By Charlotte Farhan
Chained By Charlotte Farhan

Chained – By Charlotte Farhan

I was chained by my fear, after you held me down.

I was chained by your force, when my life was turned upside down.

I was chained by peers and the social pressure to conform, with not wanting to be different or to cause a storm.

I was chained by my clothing, which was used against me, as well as my self loathing.

I was chained by the trauma, which haunts me to this day and the wish for life to serve you your karma will never go away.

I was chained by you, by them, by me.
Chained by the idea that “I was asking for it”
I am still chained and wish to be free.

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Thank you for reading.

Please share this post, be part of the change yourself. 

At this present time I am working on an exhibition of art, sculptures and a book to accompany this project, to share my story, my suffering and my survival as well as highlighting rape culture in our society on a global scale.

Please help me in my campaign and like my Facebook page:

No Excuses – Sexual Violence Must End

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For further advice and support :

Rape Crisis UK

Get Connected – Rape Support

RAINN | Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

 

A Journey to Recovery – How Art Heals the Body, Mind and Soul

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” John Olsen 

 

Today I want to discuss the physical benefits to art and having a creative outlet. I was diagnosed with Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the end of 2012 which turned my world upside down. Now, over half a year on and I am back to having doctors appointments and tests, as I have a condition affecting my legs and joints which should be diagnosed next week.

As one can imagine having these problems on top of my mental illness has been a struggle and challenge. Especially as this has been my busiest year to date for my art. With five solo exhibitions, several group shows, being in The Portsmouth News and becoming an artist in residence at ART SAVES LIVES, it has been wonderful. Not to forget the amazing support I have received from happy customers, gallery owners, mentors and my wonderful little creative army of fans on my social media sites, reaching over 31,000 likes and followers!!

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

During this whirlwind of excitement, success and gratitude I have been healing myself. I have lost 4 stone and dropped 4 dress sizes as well as many inches all over. I now have a clean living approach and try and eat organic, unrefined, unprocessed, fair trade whole foods. I exercise and concentrate on my therapy for my Personality disorder, Post traumatic stress and anxiety disorder as well as targeted exposure work for my agoraphobia. My husband and I are also trying for a baby, which due to my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a struggle.

All these things can bog a person down and make the “need” to create art seem an irrelevant task and one which should be put on hold!

This is not correct!!!

When feeling unwell, mentally or physically, when life causes undue stress and anxiety or when caring for others in these situations means your self care goes out the window.

THIS IS WHEN WE SHOULD CREATE!!

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Current research is following a number of paths. Scientists measure the natural substances your body produces when you’re exposed to the arts. Others look at what happens when you are active in the creative process. Researchers are now investigating how the arts can help us recover from disease, injury and psychological trauma.

 

Art therapy can help improve various mental and physical symptoms including,  reducing pain, anxiety, and tension. It can be beneficial to those who have mental disorders, cancer, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), people who are bipolar, and a variety of other serious ailments.

Megan Robb, a certified art therapist at NIH’s Clinical Centre, says, “When traumatic memories are stored in the brain, they’re not stored as words but as images. Art therapy is uniquely suited to access these memories.”

PTSD - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
PTSD – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

I have discussed my mental health issues and how art has saved my life, if unfamiliar please follow this link. https://artistcharlottefarhan.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/art-saved-my-life-my-ongoing-struggle-with-mental-illness/

For people with physical disorders art adds meaning to life.

Art is especially important for people with physical challenges as they may not be able to participate in activities as they had in the past. It keeps the mind engaged and lowers stress and pain levels. A recent report from Finnish scientists showed that listening to music helps stroke patients recover both memory and focused attention.

That Day - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
That Day – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

 

It has also been studied and concluded that there are benefits to cardiovascular, stroke and diabetic patients. Art can reduce blood pressure and music can help irregular heart beats and creative writing can allow people to understand and face their life challenges better.

“By engaging in art, dance, poetry or music, people are likely to initiate processes that help them manage stress, reduce negative mood states and perhaps change behaviour that we know impacts cardiovascular risk and recovery,” ( Joshua Smyth, a psychologist at Syracuse University)

 

So my point is this, art can be a positive new direction which everyone can do a little more of in their lives. Be creative in whatever you wish, engage your inner artist, musician, poet, whatever you decide will only enrich your life as it has done mine.

I may get bad news with my biopsy next week, I may have good and bad days with my long list of ailments, but I assure you the one thing which shall never change is my need to create and my need to inspire you all to do the same.

Charlotte Farhan Art http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

I not only believe in the healing powers of art I also believe in the healing power of positive energy. I feel with all the challenges life throws at you, you have a choice in which to find a silver lining, a positive over the negative, a way to turn pain, fear and loss into an energy which is filled with positivity which you can pass on throughout your family, friends and community.

Spoon full of sugar - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Spoon full of sugar – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

For all of you which may be suffering or caring for      those who do, I send you all my love and support.  You are all in my thoughts whilst I create my art.

I am artist in residence at  ART SAVES LIVES http://artsaveslives.co.uk/

A not-for-profit arts organisation dedicated to  providing free inspirational and inclusive arts  experiences to engage disadvantaged and  marginalised artists in the UK.  Please visit the website and help us to improve peoples lives through art.

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

 

There is no must in art because art is free.”  Wassily Kandinsky 

 

If you are interested in knowing more about my art, upcoming exhibitions or wish to know more about me please visit my website http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/ and if you would like to contact me please email charlottefarhan83@sky.com

 

Charlotte Farhan Art http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/