He Touched Me artwork

He Touched Me

2020, knitted acrylic & cotton
Size: 100 cm x 100 cm

TRIGGER NOTICE: This post talks about child sexual abuse

Background to artwork:

I created this piece earlier in the year. I was waited to hear the result of The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) It states that between the 1940s and 2018, 390 clergy members or people in positions of trust were convicted of child sex offenses – that “The culture of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abusers could hide.”

The Church’s Role

As a Christian, I find this deeply disturbing – the perpetrators were given more consideration than their victims. I know this abuse is not just confined to the Church of England, some abusers were women, and that it happens in other denominations. I think The Church wrongly, as a whole has remained very silent about the matter. As a victim of child sexual abuse, I know how hard it is to speak out or be believed.

Symbolism:

In this artwork I imagine the victim using knit to expose what is happening. They would be using knitting as a healing tool to cope with what they were experiencing. It has been well documented that Knitting helps improve mental health.  They knit a phrase that would be perceived by the church as a reference to Jesus, but it’s a  coded reference to what is going on. I chose the colours Red and Green to symbolize The Church’s colour blindness to the issue.

The font used is a cursive calligraphy font that is found in churches and old bibles.

Close up stitch detail 'of He Touch Me'
Close up stitch detail ‘of He Touch Me’

The artwork is positioned outside the church to illustrate that the victim has given up trying to speak to those inside the church and has had to go outside of it to be heard.

My hope is that victims will be able to say ‘He touched me’ having experienced the true love of God not the abuse of humans. These abusers should not be excused but held accountable for their crimes no matter their age, in a court of law.

 

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