SEWING THE STORIES OF GRIEF AND TRAUMA

The fabric art above was made by a young woman who was 16 years old when she was abducted, raped, beaten, and held captive in Congo. She became pregnant and gave birth. Because the parents of this girl knew that the shame and stigma of what had happened would fall on them, even though it was their daughter who was the victim, they joined with the rapist’s family in urging the girl to marry him. She refused. Her abductor’s family took her child, but she herself managed to escape. While staying at a center for other young women who have similar stories, she created this story cloth.
Trauma like that suffered by these young women, who are no longer welcomed back home even by their own families, is sometimes said to be “beyond words.” For that reason, several centers are offering fabric and thread as a means by which they can express the inexpressible.
Writes Rachel A. Cohen, founder and director of the Common Threads projects, “The aim is not to simply disclose one’s story, but ultimately to experience those stories in a new way: free of shame, self-blame, survivor guilt and self-hate.” Read Cohen’s article and see more fabric art by survivors in the Washington Post.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Fabric Story: Common Threads Projects

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • CEDAR GROVE27 T1170

She addresses the cedar…

One simple and meaningful way to find and make beauty for a place—and actually to do both at the same time—is to praise it. Praising a clearcut forest, a littered beach, a raccoon killed by a [...]

  • Simeon 2019

Ceremony Replaces Shyness

It's not uncommon that people feel a little bit shy and awkward when they do their first—or even their second or third—Global Earth Exchange. There is little precedent, after all, for going out to a [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

2019-12-09T08:41:13-08:00
This website uses cookies and third party services. See our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information. Settings Ok

Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics to track your path through our website. To assist in protecting your privacy, we anonymize the last 4 of the IP address.

Tracking Cookies

To monitor and help enhance your visit while on the website.

Host Accounts

We offer a individuals private member access as Hosts when they register. We offer Host newsletters and the ability to manage Earth Exchange Events & Stories that Hosts will author and help manage. We ask for basic information from Hosts to join. We additionally ask the Host to provide detailed information about their events and preparations. This includes images and narratives about their event and any Stories told about the Exchange Events hosted.