” I am a multi-media artist who specializes in photography, painting, and drawing. My name is Morgan, and I am from the Halton region. I love to get feedback and try new things as I work with a wide range of mediums.”
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. So, work through it, you will see. Hold on pain end!”
” I’m doing everything I can. I keep doing the best I could right now, but I’m a mess…there is no doubt about it. I’m broken into a million of pieces right now, but I keep wrapping myself together. There is no other option.
I know this is just another low point in all of this. It’s just another dark wall I’ve got to get through. I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. I know I’m not alone, but forget perfect, smiling, good vibes, and no worries…that’s all meaningless!
I stopped living that kind of life when you took it from me, but I would be lying if I said I don’t’ struggle! I’m constantly in battle. Life is brutal, exhausting and unfair at times. most of all you’ve got to get there on your own. The world will never stop. It won’t stop to give you any time to take a break, to have to figure it out. Your heart will keep beating. You only live once so bloom and continue to grow!”
“STOP! You are beautiful, you are smart, you are courageous, you are intelligent, you are a light, you are capable!”
“As I sit here, I question myself! You had changed my life and hurt me. You showed a different side. You showed me a monster, and made me experience something I would never wish upon anyone. Afraid, terrified to be exact I sit and cry as I feel like I am locked inside a prison facing demons, afraid to turn a corner.”
Emily Hickson – Survivor from Halton
I Dream in Neon by Emily Hickson
Be Quiet by Emily Hickson
Blue Lips by Emily Hickson
Joker in the Pack by Emily Hickson
When I was 20 years old, I was raped. Yet, it took me until I was 24 to even admit that to myself. He was my co-worker, and a dear friend of mine. We spent hours after every shift in his car listening to music and chatting about life. He was the type of guy who everyone liked. He made friends everywhere he went, and I never heard a single person say anything negative about him. I fell for him to say the least and he acted as if he reciprocated those feelings. One night after our shift we decided to go for drinks at Monaghan’s, a bar located just in front of the Oakville Sheridan campus. The drinks kept coming to the table and I was drinking them just as fast. As we were leaving, he needed to help me to his car. I fell asleep in the passenger seat, expected to be driven home, but I awoke in his driveway. And in my drunken stupor, I took his hand as he led me into his basement. I remember lying on his couch and being on the verge of a complete blackout. And have short, but vivid memories of him on top of me. I awoke the next day, pant less, still on his couch. He drove me home that morning and acted as if we had just “hooked up”. A week later, I had consensual sex with him. I was trying to erase what had happened the prior week, and somehow make sense of things. But it didn’t work. I was hurting inside, but because he had been my friend first and I had liked him, the realization that he had sexually assaulted me didn’t happen for a very long time. It took years to process it completely. I had to see him every day over the course of the next 5 months after that night until he eventually left our workplace.
About 8 months after that incident had taken place, I met someone who I thought was the love of my life. He put me on a pedestal, and made me feel so special, which I gravitated towards because I was in such a dark place. Things got very serious, very quickly. It was my first serious relationship, and I didn’t have much to compare it too. Over the course of the first 6 months, he started to make little digs towards me, or give me slight slaps, when he thought I was “out of line”. Slowly over time, the slaps turned to punches, and the digs turned to verbal attacks. He criticized everything about me, from my appearance, to how stupid he thought I was. He also went through my phone every chance he got and displayed extreme jealousy. By the second year of our relationship, if I tried to say no to sex, I got beaten until I caved. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and he would be inside of me. I got raped by him multiple times a week for a very long time. Until one day, after receiving a beating from him, a light bulb went off in my head and I had decided I had enough. I called 911 and never looked back.
Play Audio File
This is a 5 layered piece with love as it’s basis.
This is an abstract piece depicting fear.
Mandy – Surviving Abuse
I was brain washed, manipulated, sexually, emotionally, financially and mentally abused for over 3 years. The man who I thought had my best interests in heart, that swore his undying loyalty and love to me was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I don’t remember exactly when the manipulation started happening, however I believe his lies, threats and abuse got significantly worse when he started losing control over me and when he felt like our relationship was ending. Anytime I talked about leaving the relationship, he threatened me and my loved ones lives. This was part of the reason why I stuck around so long, as the guilt of losing anyone I loved over leaving the relationship devastated me a lot more.
What started to change, was somewhere around the 2 year mark, I started noticing inconsistencies in his “stories” and began to track everything he would tell me. The more I tracked, the more I realized the deceit and patterns taking place, which gave me the courage and hope I needed to leave. He had convinced me to lend money to him and as time passed, continued to pressure me to give him more money as he had uncontrollable gambling problem. At the time this happened, I felt Iike I really did not have an option but to cooperate. Things kept getting worse as he kept losing money in bad gambling bets. His lies would get significantly more outrageous, then it would change within the same week, day and sometimes hours. Due to all the lies and patterns I started to piece together, I started planning and praying about my escape plan.
Miraculously, I came across several friends that had prior abusive relationships that they freed themselves from as well as someone that was extremely intelligent in strategizing and problem solving. One of my friends had told me to look up women’s help hotlines. I probably came across close to 10 different support groups, which I highly recommend for anyone going through abuse, as you want to get as many different perspectives from people who have experience in helping women survive abuse to help you formulate the best plan that fits your situation (as everyone will be different). Having outside advice was crucial as I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. I took a lot of notes from many support groups and eventually came across Thrive Counselling, they connected me with an amazing therapist. She helped me stay calm, logical and meticulous in a highly toxic and emotional time, as well as give me the confidence and conviction to move forward with my escape. She was pivotal in giving me the confidence I needed to finally leave, on top of the great friends that were there for me.
Prior to moving day, one of my friends mentioned calling the police to have them escort me while I was taking out my belongings to ensure a safe transition, also loved ones came out to help so I wanted to make sure we were all safe as this was happening. Thank goodness Halton Police sent 2 officers and they stayed the entire time. If it wasn’t for them, I would not have been able to move in a timely and safe manner. My abuser was very emotional he swayed from anger to sadness to frustration to hopeless, he tried every tactic to get me to change my mind with no success. He even tried to lock me in a room with him. Luckily, he stopped when the police were there as they kept all the entranceways open and stayed with me every step of the way. I would highly recommend seeking legal counsel as well (especially if you share assets or children), to ensure you are within your rights.
I am forever grateful to God, Thrive Counselling, my therapist, Halton Police and my amazing friends that were there for me during a very traumatic and hopeless time in my life. If any one of these pieces were missing, I don’t know if I would of been able to leave as successfully as I did and be in the position of strength that I am in today.
Jennifer – Advice from a Survivor
Not only was he the man that I prayed for 7 years straight, I was madly in love with the idea of us rekindling our intense love that had ended almost a decade prior.
When my prayers were finally answered and we finally reconnected one day, the abuse started to slowly unfold. The abuse escalated to him physically abducting me against my will, beating me aggressively with no remorse, destroying my belongings and so much more. To this day, it is too hard for me to speak about all of atrocities that I went through.
I never thought I would be in this position, however, I realized that it happens to everybody across all walks of life, class, education backgrounds and cultures.
Ironically while going through the lowest days of my life, were also the days where God was with me in a way that was so strong; He was answering my prayers, protecting me, guiding me and giving me the strength I needed to develop my escape plan and successfully leave him.
My advice to those that are still going through this and they are unsure about what to do next are:
1. The power of prayer trust and ask God for an escape and take action, He WILL give you a way out.
2. Seek professional help (therapist/women’s line for abused women) they can guide you.
Mind you, I did not do the 2nd point, however I believe it would of saved me a lot of post heartbreak and trauma. Just know that coming from an abuse survivor, you are not a victim; you will survive and get out of this situation, you are stronger than you think, you are deserving, loving and beautiful. Your future is bright!
Lea – Living with an abusive relationship
My relationship with my wife started as most do…blissful, perfect and loving.
As soon as we left the country for the US, she completely changed. She said I was no longer able to wear the same clothes. I was asked why am I wearing makeup. Who am i trying to look good for? Even just going out for a jog, I wasn’t allowed. She controlled my money and even whether I could cut or grow my hair. So much so, I went from looking like a glamorous woman to a tomboy. I completely lost who I was.
If I came home early from work, she’d ask how many hours I worked and why I couldn’t work more. I said they sent us home because the last few patients cancelled. She asked why I couldn’t find any other work to pretty much ‘ride the clock.’ I said no.
If l took too long to come home, she would think that I was kidnapped. I would have to ask her if I could buy something so small like a drugstore eyeliner for $8. I told her I wanted to go into finance or real estate. She said no, be a nurse. It’s not what I wanted though.
In short, I was miserable. I would fight back but I couldn’t do it all the time. Sometimes I just didn’t have the energy.
I asked myself, could I really live the rest of my life like this? And what if the next relationship is even worse? I decided one day to tell her that I’m leaving her.
It was a good thing my parents advised me when I was young to make sure I knew how to make money so that I could leave if someone didn’t treat me the way I deserved. And I’m so thankful I did. I’m with someone who loves me unconditionally, allows me to be the person I want and supports me in my dreams.