Welcome to Finding Our Voices Blog

Finding Our Voices is a non-profit organization in Colorado Springs that sponsors an art exhibit each April. The event showcases artistic expressions of survivors of sexual abuse and their allies. Artists are invited to exhibit in the annual April FOV Art Show for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month (SAAM)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finding Our Voices Facilitates Clay Art Workshop

On Saturday, August 13, 2011 from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM come play with clay! Finding Our Voices volunteer and art teacher Linda will guide participants to use self-drying clay to create three-dimensional sculptures. The address is 710 Manitou Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. These healing art activities for survivors of sexual abuse (and their allies) help to provide a safe community for sharing and caring.
Please RSVP to fovartshow@gmail.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Finding Our Voices At "Emerging From Broken"

Blogger and life coach Darlene Quiment, who publishes the blog "Emerging From Broken" invited Finding Our Voices co-founder and blogger Lynn C. Tolson to guest blog on the topic of "feelings." Darlene generously shares provocative posts about the psychological and physical aspects of the path of healing from an abusive childhood. She invited Lynn to write a guest post, and I chose the topic "feelings." Here is the beginning of the post, and you can read it in full by clicking here. Darlene's blog is interactive, with a variety of comments from others on a healing journey. Thus far, "Feelings" has 65 comments. You'll see that "Cr*ppy is NOT a feeling."

In therapy, clients talk about their feelings. Therapists ask, "How are you feeling today?" Conversations with my therapist(s) frequently sounded like this:
“Lynn, what are you feeling?”
“I don’t know.”
“You must be feeling something.”
“No, nothing.”
“Please, tell me what it feels like.”
“I don’t know.”
I shrugged my shoulders, which was not an acceptable answer to the question of “how are you feeling.” How should I know? I had no clue, no compass, and no map to lead me through the hot and sweaty tropical jungle of twisted emotional thorny vines that lay strangled with family secrets and lies.

Finding Our Voices Poetry Submission

Thank you to Nicole Wross

"Hope Sustains Me"

A person of trust to whom I innocently bow,
yet something is wrong, so wrong somehow.
No longer protected from without nor within,
my innocence lost, now stolen again.
Under the influence of something unknown,
being taken away to a place not my own.
Awaken and bound, my freedom now restrained.
Frightened and scared, my soul now stained.
How could I let happen, this thing done to me?
Was I cursed at birth, to whom do I plea?
Savagely taken and taken again,
the morning becomes day, a day with no end.
I scream and I plead yet nothing is heard.
No sound can be made, not even a word.
I struggle and fight yet nothing can you see,
my body lies motionless, it is no longer me.
A door now shuts, a car drives away.
My mind comes back, in that moment I pray.
My bonds once tight now loosened by this sin,
free now am I, my life back to win.
Surely my tormentor will be back on this day,
now free, I run and keep running away.
Lost and confused, saved on a dirt road,
‘tis a stranger who saves me and carries my load.
I bathe and I scrub till my wounds again bleed,
my mind and my body to exhaustion concede.
Day becomes night, night becomes day.
Should I open my mouth? What would I say?
Justice is sought but none can be found.
Forever will this memory to my soul be bound.
Years go by, yet the wound, time does not heal.
It is forgiveness that allows my future to unseal.
Through all the pain, the suffering and tears,
it is hope that strengthens me to face my fears.
Hope is right now, this very moment, today!
The past, not forgotten, yet hope finds a way.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finding Our Voices Facilitates Sand Tray Play Group

Finding Our Voices: Healing Art Activities for Survivors of Sexual Assault invites you to come and play in the sand with us on Saturday July 9 from 10 until noon  at 710 Manitou Blvd, 80904.

Working with miniature figures and found objects arranged in a bed of sand, each participant has the opportunity to set up a private world corresponding to her/his inner state. Engaging in the creative process can allow unconscious thoughts to become visible in a three-dimensional form.

Dora Kalff, the originator of Sandplay Therapy, has said that she "did nothing" when she worked. Then she said, "It is harder to do nothing than to do something." 

This is a self-guided experience, not intended as therapy, but peer support is available for input and feedback. The members of FOV facilitate these monthly workshops to empower survivors!

RSVP is requested at fovartshow@gmail.com OR 719-636-5065 Refreshments served! Trays, sand, and objects provided. However, if you have a specific story or scene you'd like to create, please bring the figures you need. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finding Our Voices Poetry Submission

Thank you to Nicole Wross for submitting

"The Cry of the Unseen Child"

Where is the witness of a childhood scarred.
It’s the pain, the anguish, the very soul marred.
No champion to vanquish, life simple, now hard.
The deed once done, to never be erased.
Control to be won, a predator to be faced.
A life now undone, a child now replaced.
Is this a nightmare? Can this be a dream?
Shall I hide inside this fear, or out loud shall I scream?
My innocence to tear, while my tears go unseen.
Broken is the heart, empty are the eyes.
Thy spirit to depart, a victim now inside.
Future, halted, at the start. Only the past now to bide.
Can wounds heal in time, if time is no more?
Will forgiveness e’er by mine, my value to restore?
Shame and guilt intertwine, walls are built, yet no door.
If only, yet I must, this pain to reveal.
It is I whom I disgust, yet no longer do I feel.
What is stolen is trust, in a world no longer real.
From this very thing, my soul shall awake.
It is all or nothing, my life to retake.
Hope is everything, I am not a mistake.
It is all or nothing, my life to retake.
Hope is everything, I am not a mistake…

Finding Our Voices Featured Artist Michael Skinner + Surviving Spirit

Michael Skinner is a folk/rock musician with a message. He delves into his emotional resources to serve as an advocate for victims of child abuse and the mentally ill. Then he fills his songs with heartfelt lyrics and melodies that serve as a voice for others. Mike started his advocacy work after receiving a diagnosis of PTSD, which was no doubt a result of the horrific child abuse he suffered. The debilitating depression derailed him, causing him to lose not only his job at the time, but also friends who did not understand the nature of his condition. Instead of hiding in silence, Mike started speaking out to increase awareness of mental illness and child abuse. Here is a video of Mike performing “Brush Away Your Tears.” Visit Mike at MSkinnermusic.com. Hopefully you will catch him performing and/or speaking at an event near you! Way to go Mike. You are a hero! See him on YouTube!

Michael Skinner shares the healing art of others at the Surviving Spirit web store (see link).

Mike says, "One of our primary purposes is to help promote, market and sell the creative works of those affected by trauma, abuse and mental health concerns at fair market prices. It is hard enough to make a living as a professional artist, musician, author, etc, but when someone has to deal with the above mentioned health issues, that creates even more problems to contend with in trying to pursue your muse. Our web store contains both resources for our visitors and features work by those who have been affected by trauma, abuse and mental health concerns.

Your purchase of the creative work that the Surviving Spirit represents is a good deed on many levels. It allows the Surviving Spirit to continue its mission of providing a healing outlet for those whose lives have been impacted by sexual abuse, trauma or mental health issues. It represents belief in the healing power of art while encouraging the self-esteem of the artist. You purchase is an affirmation that a helping hand is preferable to a handout and that an act of creating rather than destroying is the true chain than connects us.

Please browse the categories at the top of this page to see the breadth of resources and items we have available."

Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Friday, June 10, 2011

Finding Our Voices Poetry Book: Foreword

Finding Our Voices was blessed to have Brandi Ballard (editor/poet/activist) compile the 2011 poetry anthology. Seventy-two poems were published!

Here is what Brandi wrote in the foreword:

"Prolific poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote that 'The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.' In this way, we are all connected by the stories we tell. As trauma survivors, we have an innate ability to connect with the emotional quality of, and see the underlying pain buried within, other's writing. As artists and authors, our work tends to be deeply emotional and brutally honest. It can also create a feeling of vulnerability that must be overcome in order for a work to become public. The very act of putting pen to paper is a breaking of silence and a step towards building resistance, resilience, and community. I am honored to put together the work of so many brave poets in this year's Finding Our Voices anthology."

Thank you Brandi, and much luck to you on all your endeavors.

The 2011 poetry book is available for $10.00, or $12.00 if shipped within USA. Contact fovartshow@gmail.com for details! Here is a sample of submitted poetry:

Finding Our Voices Poetry Book Available!

Finding Our Voices publishes a book of poetry each year. "VOICES" is a collection of 72 poems contributed by survivors of sexual abuse and their allies. The 2011 anthology is on the effects of and healing from sexual trauma. The book was prepared for April 2011 Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but we have more!

We have copies of the book available now for $10.00. The cost is $12.00 for USA shipping/handling. Finding Our Voices is a 501c3 non-profit. All proceeds from sales go to providing art events, healing art activities, and workshops for survivors.

Compiled by Brandi Ballard, Editor/Poet/Activist, the poems are neatly organized. These poems invite you to feel inspired, informed, enlightened, and comforted. Contact fovartshow@gmail.com for details on how to obtain your copy. Cover art by Cindilin Pettibone, Titled "Poets Amongst Us" Pencil Drawing
Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finding Our Voices Facilitated Healing Collage Class

Thank you to Wendy Carter for facilitating the workshop in June. The group members used a stream-of-consciousness uncensored approach to collecting words and images for their "vision boards." Joyce Aubrey used this workshop to illustrate in images the many women and men who can benefit from healing art activities.  FOV co-founder Lynn C. Tolson says that collage is "selecting apparently disparate pieces to create a new theme and unified whole." Here is how Wikipedia defines collage

Since this is a free,  popular workshop, Finding Our Voices will no doubt have it again soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Finding Our Voices to Facilitate Healing Collage Workshop

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, 10 AM to 12:30, artist and Finding Our Voices volunteer Wendy Carter will be facilitating a collage workshop. Supplies will be provided, and the class is free, but FOV does appreciate donations for the non-profit! Email fovartshow@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP! Class will be held at 1421 N Hancock, Suite 1, CO Springs, CO.

Finding Our Voices Founder 2 Receive Advocacy Award

CCASA: Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault will be awarding Joyce Aubrey the 2011 Excellence in Sexual Assault Advocacy Award. This honor recognizes individual or organizational dedication to dispelling myths about sexual violence, breaking the silence surrounding this crime, and providing survivor-centered services. The award will be presented to a member agency or individual who consistently demonstrates commitment and skills in providing exceptional services, which may include prevention education work, on behalf of primary and secondary survivors of sexual violence. Joyce will receive this award on June 27, 2011 in Vail, CO. Congratulations to Joyce and Finding Our Voices!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finding Our Voices Facilitates Healing Painting Class

I took a workshop facilitated by Joyce Aubrey, founder of Finding Our Voices: Healing Art Activities for Survivors of Sexual Assault.This was a "process painting" class "designed for the novice or experienced artist who wishes to focus on the creative process rather than concentrating on producing a product or specific image. Participants play with colors and brush strokes in a manner similar to stream-of-consciousness writing. Some find the process a meditative experience, some find it relieves stress or releases trauma. Focusing on the process rather than the outcome eliminates the inner critic or personal judgement that often blocks the creative process." 
I was familiar with the cathartic process of journal writing, which was the foundation for my memoir Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story. Yet I found it discomforting to paint without a plan or reference material; who knew what would be unearthed from the opaque rock of my unconscious? What evolved on plain paper was a full-bodied self-portrait guided from within and reflected outward in brush strokes in vivid color. I interpret my painting as putting the chaos, confusion, and craziness in the background, while I see L-O-V-E up close (as symbolized by the eyes and hearts). A good example of the use of process painting for therapeutic purposes is Pictures of A Childhood by Alice Miller.
Lynn C. Tolson at Process Painting

Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, Project 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide

Finding Our Voices + DBSA = Support Group

Did you know that DBSA offers a self-help support group for Women Survivors of Sexual Assault with Mood Disorders? DBSA is the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (Colorado Springs chapter). Mood disorders include PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder; formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder), Bipolar Disorder (also known as manic-depression).... as well as other conditions. It is not unusual for rape victims or adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to feel helpless, overwhelmed, confused, and resentful without making the connection that the physical and the psychological pain may be related to past sexual trauma. When combined with treatment and counseling, DBSA support groups can provide a place for mutual acceptance and help you understand that having a mood disorder and a history of sexual abuse does not define who you are.

Meetings are free of charge and are currently held at 7 PM on Wednesdays. The group is currently being facilitated by Joyce Aubrey. Call 719-477-1515 for location or email help@dbsacoloradosprings.org

The mission of DBSA is "To improve the lives of people living with mood disorders." Members of Finding Our Voices have trained to be facilitators of this unique DBSA support group to align with community services that promote healing from childhood sexual abuse.

Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finding Our Voices Found UK Poet John Harrison

I came across a UK poet and advocate John Harrison, and was impressed by his unique, personal, and dramatic methods used to break the silence. Finding John Harrison shows us how it is universal to share in awareness and prevention of child abuse.

See an example by viewing a video here.  I've had the good fortune to read his anthology of poems about surviving abuse, the after effects, and the mental health system. I've had the good fortune of reading his anthology "Whispers From Within." Here is my review of his poignant poetry: 

Whispers From Within: A Survivor’s Collection of Poetry and Prose” by John Harrison
John Harrison published his private poems to raise awareness of child abuse and its consequences. He does this eloquently in the words of this collection.
Mr. Harrison endured the horrors of child abuse, its multiple and complex ramifications, as well as the neglect and ignorance of the systems that should serve to protect. Abuse is not only the actions, but also the attitudes in our society. He shares this in a style that is not contrived.
The introduction tells the back story with raw expression. It is rooted in the reality of an abuse survivor who had the foundation for a safe and strong life ripped out from under him. The writing is uncensored and sensitive. The reader will say, “That’s exactly what I was thinking/feeling but could not put into words.” Mr. Harrison writes these thoughts and emotions with an edge that is too clever to ignore.
Mr. Harrison writes to make sense of the craziness that is nonsense, such as the ways humans inflict pain on each other. He also offers the reader moments of grace and mercy, all of which help to acquire knowledge in the school of life.
Emotions are universal; readers can relate to the poems that express his search for meaning, the hunger for understanding, and the need for justice. The poems are poignant and powerful, with profound phrases that are enlightening.
Read this collection of poems from a survivor’s perspective, and the words will surely resonate with you. Thank you Mr. Harrison for telling it like it is.

Post and Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Monday, May 2, 2011

Finding Our Voices at United States Air Force Academy

Finding Our Voices partnered with community agencies at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This video shows advocates Lynn C. Tolson and Joyce Aubrey displaying resources for this event. Other agencies included DBSA, TESSA, and CCASA. For the poetry book, email fovartshow@gmail.com

Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finding Our Voices Holds Process Painting Workshop

On Saturday May 7, 2011, 10:30 AM to 5 PM, Joyce Aubrey will facilitate a workshop on Process Painting. 

Process painting is a class designed for the novice or experienced artist who wishes to focus on the creative process rather than concentrating on producing a product or specific image. Participants will play with colors and brush strokes in a manner similar to stream-of-consciousness writing. Some find the process a meditative experience, some find it relieves stress or releases trauma. Focusing on the process rather than the outcome eliminates the inner critic or personal judgement that often blocks the creative process.
The workshop will be at the Celebration Place at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs.
"The arts help us to discover new worlds, understand each other and explore our own creativity."
Park in the NE corner of the mall and enter near Burlington Coat factory, Celebration Place is the exciting art space to your left when you get inside the mall.
Supplies are tempra paints, synthetic brushes, and 98# Bristol Paper. FOV will provide supplies, but you are welcome to bring your own brushes if you wish. You may bring acrylic paints if you prefer. The food court is at the far end of the mall, so you may want to bring a sack lunch. There is no charge for the class, but donations are appreciated and go towards art supplies. Email fovartshow@gmail.com

Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finding Our Voices Featured Artist Maria R. Smith

Coloring Outside the Lines

Maria Smith, in her own words: "It all started when I was 18 years old. I had a passion for art, but was a stickler for straight lines and never coloring outside the lines. This journey started with oil paints. After 20 years I braved myself into watercolors and went crazy when the paint moved outside the lines; it was great therapy for a perfectionist like me! It helped me to find who I really am... an abstract and expressionistic artist, indeed. I now work with multi-media and love incorporating quotes and various interesting items in my paintings. Learning to let go and get wild with colors has been the most fun I've had! It's therapeutic, healing, and spiritual: a gift I hope to share with others."

Thank you to Maria for being a loyal contributor to Finding Our Voices. Our members enjoy seeing what new and fabulous art you have that speaks to our hearts each year!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finding Our Voices at SAAM Event


On Tuesday April 19 at the US Air Force Academy, Arnold Hall Theatre, 3202 Cadet Drive, a workshop will be held for community agencies. Agencies will be available from noon until 4 to share services they offer. At 12:30PM a Community Resource Panel will present and at 2:15 Dr. Dorothy Edwards, University of Kentucky, will give the keynote address. The Advocacy Resource Team sponsoring this event says:  "Our individual and collective efforts can stop the epidemic of violence in our communities.  Each one of us has a role to play as a bystander in our society to promote behaviors, choices, words, and attitudes that can communicate tolerance for sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and domestic violence." This is a workshop in coordination with SAAM: Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. 

Lynn Tolson (Project 4 TEARS) and Joyce Aubrey of Finding Our Voices will be attending along side TESSA and other community agencies. Email fovartshow@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finding Our Voices Participates in Denim Day

FOV 4 SAAM & Denim Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, is the Annual Denim Day USA, a campaign to raise awareness and educate the public about rape and sexual assault.
In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans, reasoning she must have helped her attacker remove them. People all over the world were outraged. Wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

This day we unite against the sexual assault of girls, women, boys and men. We stand in support of survivors. We break the silence to end sexual violence.

On Denim Day, wear your jeans as a visible sign of protest against the myths that still surround sexual assault!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finding Our Voices Art Show Closing Celebration

Artists and poets who contributed to the 2011 art show and poetry anthology are invited to attend the closing celebration on Saturday April 16! The event will be at the Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou, Manitou Springs, CO, beginning at 6PM. Artists must claim their work at this time. Poets are encouraged to join the festivities which include songs from the Threshold Singers, refreshments, resources, announcements, a circle of healing, and gifts to acknowledge your healing journey! The BAC will close at 6PM so FOV will have a private celebration.

The mission of FOV is to empower survivors and to inform community through art activities. In keeping with the mission, we are offering a special price on the 2011 poetry books. The books are an excellent way to advocate for survivors and for prevention of abuse. You will receive a free poetry book with every $10 book that you purchase at the closing event on April 16, with the understanding that you will place the free poetry book in a public place.

Finding Our Voices welcomes you to the warmth and camaraderie of like-minded friends in this event scheduled especially for you!

email fovartshow@gmail.com or call 719 636-5065 or 719 964-6608 with questions

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finding Our Voices to Rally with CCASA

The Capitol Rally, April 5, 2011

The Capitol Rally takes place on the west steps of the capitol building in Denver each year on the National Day of Action to End Sexual Violence. This event allows CCASA member agencies, partners and community members to come together to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to honor survivors in our state, and to thank legislators who have worked to improve our laws. The agenda will include survivor speakers, awards ceremony, and performance skits by a teen theater group. Food carts will be in the area so you can get lunch and join us for the rally!

Contact Alexa at outreach@ccasa.org.  Volunteers will be meeting at the CCASA office ahead of time to walk over to the capitol and set-up for the Rally.  Help is also appreciated from those who can stay to help with clean-up.
A great way to make the Capitol Rally significant in your community is to highlight the Governor's Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation on this day, acknowledging the connection between the Capitol Rally, your community's event, and April 5th being the SAAM National Day of Action. Contact the media, utilizing CCASA's SAAM Media Kit. Let the media know that citizens across the state are united to eliminate sexual violence.

The Capitol Rally will feature the 2011 Governor's Proclamation, survivor speakers, awards ceremony, and artistic performances.  The awards ceremony will honor:
  • Representative Gardner from the 21st District andSenator Morse from the 11th District in recognition of their work to sponsor HB 1138, the bill to reauthorize the Sex Offender Management Board, and advance rights for victims and accountability of offenders.
  • Terri Livermore, Sexual Assault Response Project Coordinator at the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice for her outstanding work in support of survivors of sexual violence through the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's 2011 Visionary Voice Award for the state of Colorado.
The Rally will also feature Performance Theater from The SAVA Center's play, "Until Someone Wakes Up."  Through the performances, Colorado high school students use comedy, drama, and satire to explore the issues surrounding sexual violence, gender role socialization, and healing. 
Street Eats @ Capitol

Street Eats for cart will be
on-site to offer freshly made fare to rally participants during the lunch hour.

This event is sponsored by the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA), Rape Assistance and Awareness program (RAAP), Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center (SAVA), Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA), Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA), and Our Sister's Keeper. 

Find the Event on Facebook! Click HERE
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)
1120 Lincoln St., Suite 700
Denver, CO  80203

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finding Our Voices Shares Survivor Quilt

The FOV profile picture is of the Survivor Handprint Quilt. This quilt is a collection of more than 250 handprint squares created by Sexual Assault Survivors at Healing Images Artfests held in Colorado Springs from 1994-1996. The quilt was lost for years, and rediscovered in the fall of 2008. It is pictured here as it was displayed at the FOV Art Show in April 2009.

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, at the Business of Art Center, you are invited to create a handprint square for the survivor quilt. Finding Our Voices will have fabric available for you to choose your personal expression.

Finding Our Voices Presents "Aftershocks"

Joyce Aubrey, founder of Finding Our Voices, presented her powerful story in a series of process paintings called "Aftershocks." (see link for detailed information) Joyce educates the public and brings awareness to the community by candidly sharing her paintings. An audience member said, "I really got a lot out of your presentation at the FOV show. It was very powerful for me and has helped me to look at doing art in a whole new way. Thank you so much for all of the work that you do."

Finding Our Voices to hold Second Silent Auction

Finding Our Voices had such a successful silent auction at the opening ceremony that we decided to hold another during the Poetry and Performance Art activities. On March 26, at the Business of Art Center, FOV will auction the wonderful items that have been donated. We have fabric art, visual art, and services such as massage and chiropractic.

The picture is of the military statues donated by famed sculpture artist Rod Mench. These items have been popular at the FOV silent auction. There are more for you to bid on!

The auction is "silent" in that there is no auctioneer. The donor of the item to be auctioned determines a starting price. Those interested in the item write their bids on a sheet of paper, often left on a table near the item. At the predetermined end of the auction the highest listed bidder wins the item.This auction is often used in charity events, with many items auctioned simultaneously with a common finish time. 

Finding Our Voices Schedules Poetry & Dance Performance

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, Finding Our Voices will host the Poetry/Performance Art event. We will also have the 2011 Poetry Anthology ready for purchase for $10.00. (The photo is a sneak peak at the cover.) We'll have food, refreshments, song, dance, and a silent auction. Come to the Business of Art Center from 1-5 PM. These festivities promote healing from sexual assault, and provide awareness to the community.

Finding Our Voices Holds Opening Ceremony

What a night! The opening ceremony at the Business of Art Center was an outstanding success! The show includes textile art, visual art, and an installation piece. You can view the art work during business hours at the BAC until April 16.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Our Voices Welcomes TESSA to Opening Ceremony

On Friday, March 18, 2011 the opening ceremony for the Finding Our Voices annual art show and sale will be held at the Business of Art Center, in Manitou Springs. FOV thanks TESSA of Colorado Springs for presenting at the event.

TESSA’s mission is to help women and their children achieve safety and well-being while challenging communities to end sexual and family violence.


1. Provides immediate safety for women, children and other victims escaping abuse.

2. Empowers survivors through programs and support such as advocacy and counseling.

3. Creates a safer future through education and outreach to schools, businesses, and other organizations.

If you need help in Colorado Springs, Teller, or El Paso Counties
Call TESSA at 719-633-1462

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finding Our Voices Welcomes BACA to Opening Ceremony

BACA of Colorado will present at the Finding Our Voices exhibit opening ceremony on Friday, March 18, at the Business of Art Center. 

Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.

Finding Our Voices to Hold Silent Auction

Finding Our Voices is excited to have donations from the community for the silent auction. Along with wonderful art, donors have offered spa services, therapy hours, and coffee shop gift certificates. The items will be auctioned on March 18 at the Business of Art center, 513 Manitou, during the exhibit opening ceremony. Thank you to Wendy Carter for organizing the silent auction!

What is a silent auction?

The auction is "silent" in that there is no auctioneer. The donor of the item to be auctioned determines a starting price. Those interested in the item write their bids on a sheet of paper, often left on a table near the item. At the predetermined end of the auction the highest listed bidder wins the item. This auction is often used in charity events, with many items auctioned simultaneously with a common finish time. 

Finding Our Voices Features Artist Cindilin Pettibone

The following story about Cindilin Pettibone was written by Finding Our Voices friend Karen Sucharski. You will see amazing survivors and their art at the 5th annual Art Show and Sale. Opening ceremony Friday, March 18, at 5PM
“Your hair looks so cute,” I said to my friend Cindilin Pettibone as we met to go to a meeting.

“I know,” she said, then she leaned conspiratorially toward me, “I have no idea who got it cut,” she whispered.

This may seem a strange exchange to anyone eavesdropping. But Cindilin is a rare and strong woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

Cindilin was sexually abused by her grandfather from the age of four to age 16. She was also repeatedly sexually, emotionally and physically abused by other members of her family. When she sought help from a trusted priest, he too abused her. 

When we attend group therapy she reads her various diagnoses off her Blackberry. They include PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder; anxiety; and depression. And, with all of this, she smiles. She has an infectious sense of humor and a strong work ethic that has been invaluable to the Finding Our Voices Art Show and Sale

Cindilin will be there, exhibiting her artwork, selling jewelry with inspirational messages including “Believe the Child” and one word affirmations. She has found a great deal of solace in her artwork trying and succeeding at quilting, photography, cross-stitch, stained glass, painting, poetry, cake-decorating and scrap-booking to name a few. Her favorite is the jewelry making and drawing she said. Her therapist said she has seen growth in Cindilin through her drawing. She used to only draw in black and white. But lately she has added some color. “I love color,” Cindilin said. But she was afraid of it. Her drawing was also one of the clues that helped diagnose her DID. She said when she wrote, her handwriting changed. “The artwork was not all done by the same person and it’s signed differently,” she said.
She doesn’t experience as much missing time as some DID individuals. She has what is called “co-conciousness” with many of her personalities. But not with all. She said, to date, she has more than 50 personalities that range from an infant to personalities in her 20’s and she believes she has more yet to come out. “It takes me an hour to get to sleep because I have to put 50 people to bed. Then I wake up in the night because someone wakes up.”

When asked if integration is her goal in therapy she responded, “I’m not there yet.” Integration of the personalities into the dominant personality is a scary proposition to many people with DID. “DID’s just really tricky,” Cindilin said. 
She said some people say, “’Let your little people come out and play with me’ That’s not okay with me because I try to keep myself under control in a world that demands it.” She was quick to add, “That’s just my opinion.”

In the meantime she has her arts and crafts activities. “I have to wonder if, out of the depths of all my desperation, my creativity kicked in. There isn’t a craft I can’t do if I put my mind to it. Exploring my multitude of hobbies will always fill a space in my life as both a means of recovery and as pleasurable pastimes.”

(DID is a common condition amongst survivors of childhood sexual abuse. For more information on DID view this blog).