Student Project &
Research Symposium

Oral
Presentation

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Poster
Presentation

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Performance

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Exhibition

College Center Ballroom
The Use of Art Therapy in the Treatment and Healing of Survivors of Sexual Violence
Quinn Burke
Date:
April 22nd, 2022
Division:
Visual and Performing Arts
Department:
Humanities
Mentor:
Ulrike Green
Mentor's e-mail:
ugreen@occ.cccd.edu
Author's e-mail:
qburke@student.cccd.edu
Presentation Slides
Abstract:

“Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, every 9 minutes, that victim is a child but only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.” (Statistics RAINN) This quote illustrates that sexual harassment and sexual violence are common experiences in the US every day. Examples of sexual harassment and violence include being groped, catcalled, followed home, and raped. Survivors have to overcome the physical injuries and often spend years working through the psychological trauma and stigmatization that accompany sexual violence. I aim to raise awareness of the long term trauma from sexual violence and explore how art therapy can help facilitate the healing process. Art therapy is defined as “the use of art, music, dance/movement, drama, poetry/creative writing, play, and sand tray within the context of psychotherapy, counseling, rehabilitation, or health care”(Zuch 2015). To investigate the usefulness of art therapy in this context, I conducted a literature review of various online and journal articles and created two personal projects. I found that art therapy can benefit victims of sexual assault because it allows survivors to express their emotions when they may be unable to verbalize how they feel. It provides a medium that helps survivors confront and process their trauma and eventually heal from it. Personally, visual art and poetry helped me to process my own experiences with sexual assault. Together, the results of my research show that art therapy is a useful approach to address and cope with trauma from sexual assault.

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