Lauren Shields – Sexual Recovery

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Faculty mentor: CoCo James

Artist’s Statement: Sexual assault stories among females are ubiquitous, but this issue is especially prevalent on college campuses; these experiences often illicit trials of mental health, furthermore, it is extremely important for young women to seek help resources, doing so makes it far more likely to achieve sexual reclamation. Pain and suffering are intrinsic to recovery from rape and sexual trauma, however, this healing doesn’t happen overnight and during this process of healing, life’s demands continue. This piece is meant to demonstrate the image of a presentable young, perhaps college age, woman who has healed and recovered and appears assertive in her life. She is put together and presentable and embodies what society and the world expects of her. This woman listens to the advice, she hears their soothing guidance telling her “it will all be okay”, and “this pain won’t last forever”. She is a woman and her life demands attention and engagement, therefore, she puts on a face of contentment and smiles through her suffering. Meanwhile, there is another woman who resides in this drawing. She does not hear this optimistic jargon. She is scared, lonely, angry and this can be observed in the treacherous state of her expression and the black, dark features of her face. She feels the pain and she cannot decipher the words that others heed to her. These two women co-exist, one cannot be separated from another. The woman who looks alive is the woman who the outside world sees, whereas the woman on the right is a reflection of the inner turmoil that she faces within. This image aims to represent research conducted on the mental aftermath of sexual trauma. Rape and sexual trauma often trigger mental health struggles that can stunt young Women in their success due to the all consuming mental effects of recovery.

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