“Healing Embodied” is an awareness promotion campaign created by RVA in partnership with the Awakenings Foundation and Chicago artist, Victoria Herrera. Eight survivors of sexual assault/abuse collaborated with Victoria to express their stories of healing from sexual violence visually through body painting. These strong, vulnerable body paintings were then photographed by Victoria to be displayed at the Awakenings Foundation in Ravenswood. Each photograph will include a statement from the collaborating survivor. By sharing these stories through art, participants hope to share the long journey to healing after sexual violence.

“As one of the participating survivors, I hope that through representing my own journey through rape and healing, I can inspire others to reach out for help.” – Brendan Yukins, Participant and Prevention Educator at RVA

“I’ve found that most people, including myself, were never taught how to integrate intense experiences into our lives in a healthy way. We must always remember that no feeling is final; how we understand and connect the relationship between our individual healing and that of the collective is our resilience. Resilience is innate within all of us and this is something to explore, celebrate and share widely. I feel honored to be able to join these individuals as they continue to explore new techniques and strategies in their journey of healing.” – Victoria Herrera, Artist

This exhibit opened to the public on Friday, July 14th at 6:00pm and will run through the end of September. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm.

THE AWAKENINGS FOUNDATION is home to a multi-media art gallery featuring the artistic expressions of rape and sexual abuse survivors. By showcasing stories of survival, the Awakenings Foundation is helping survivors find peace while simultaneously challenging the cultural taboos that prevent an honest discussion of sexual violence. The mission of the Awakenings Foundation is to MAKE VISIBLE the artistic expression of survivors of sexual violence. For more information, go to www.awakeningsfoundation.net.

VICTORIA HERRERA is a practicing artist and trained art therapist who believes in opening worlds of creative self-expression. Victoria received her Bachelor’s degree from Christopher Newport University in 2014, and her Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. As an art therapist she combines both traditional verbal and creative therapeutic processes, as well as fostering body-based modalities by reintegrating the mind and body connection. Victoria has experience in a variety of settings, providing trauma informed therapy to adults who have survived traumatic brain injuries, children and older adults in a Latinx community center, women in a DV shelter, and adults in in-patient psychiatric facilities. Victoria’s work is rooted in her Latin-American upbringing, personal healing journey, and passionate connections with each individual she encounters. Engage with Victoria and her mission by visiting her website www.victoriaherrera.co.

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