Mural project allows women
to process abuse, trauma
Incarcerated women in a South Carolina prison are learning to heal by using art to process past traumas, a recent story reports.
Inside the Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood visiting room, a mural of butterflies has been painted on the wall. The mural tells the story of women who are survivors of trauma.
Just Detention International, an organization focused on ending sexual abuse in detention, helped to fund and create the mural, noted the story by Kelly Duncan of the Index-Journal. The story was reprinted Sept. 18 by The Associated Press.
“This is just a way for them to express themselves from the inside out — to express the trauma they’ve been through,” said Michele Carter, Leath’s associate warden of programs.
Just Detention worked with the Leath and Camille correctional institutions to create #PrisonersToo, modeled after the #MeToo movement. The hash tag is used to allow women to share their stories within and without prison walls, according to the article.
“One inmate did her drawing and I told her I was proud of her. Nobody had ever told her they were proud of her. It’s all about bringing the positivity back into them and letting them know they’re worth it — it’s not looking at your shortcomings, but looking at what you’re doing to get better,” said Carter.
The illustrations depict butterflies being released. Tamika, Lisa, and Carman were the artists. These three women reflected on their past trauma, and saw this artistic celebration as a form of relief, sharing, and healing.
Tamika’s portion of the drawing represented a time of her life when she felt broken. Expressing herself through art has helped her become a stronger person, said the article.
“We’re just grateful that someone wants to hear our story,” Carman said.
“When it comes to releasing something, it’s a matter of choice. You take something from the inside out and get it out of you, learn how to control your emotions and not give anything or anyone control over you,” Carter said.