By Dana Kozlov

(CBS) – Trauma. Fear. Shame.

Just some of the emotions victims of sexual violence experience after the assault.

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But there is a unique space in Chicago where survivors are encouraged to express those feelings and more.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.

Down a dark hall and tucked in the corner of a North Center loft building, there is some light for survivors of sexual violence.

“It was really important to me, and continues to be very important to me in my own personal healing process,” Quinn Rivenburgh says.

In the gallery, survivors like her can drop in once a month for making matters. They make art in a safe space.

“It’s scary to come forward with this, but it’s really important for people to know that they have a space to create and talk about their experiences,” says Liz Moretti.

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She is also a survivor as well as director of the Awakenings Foundation, a gallery that solely exists to display the artistic expressions of sex assault survivors. It partners with Rape Victim Advocates, a local rape crisis center, for the monthly gathering.

“The part of the human brain that allows us to be creative, to make art, to use our hands, to create things has a much more direct connection neurologically to the part of the brain that processes our trauma,” counselor Beth Enterkin says.

Drop-in attendance varies, and privacy is paramount. A therapist is present if someone needs one. But there’s no pressure. The intent is to just be.

“Creating our own artwork gives us the opportunity to envision the world as we want it to be,” Enterkin says.

Need help?  Call Chicago’s Rape Crisis Hotline number at (888) 293-2080 or visit Rape Victim Advocates’ website.


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