The month of March and beginning of April was focused on our intensive digital storytelling workshop process, facilitated by Emmy Pantin and Jennifer LaFontaine who work collaboratively as Community Story Strategies.
Women participants came together weekly for story circle and the workshops, while the police participants immersed over the course of 4, back-to-back days to complete a digital story.
What is a digital story?
- A digital story is a 2-5 minute video featuring pictures, visual art, text, video, and music as a way to share in first person narrative.
- Digital storytelling brings together first person perspective and uses media/technology to educate and inform the public.
It is a huge accomplishment that 9 women survivors and 8 police participants took part in this challenging and unique process.
In particular, the resilience, courage, and commitment to the creative process that the women survivors of sexual violence stood out. Despite the ups and downs, finding ways to balance work, family, school, personal healing work, and unexpected changes in life– the participants worked very hard to be present and participate. The space created for deep listening, reflection, and sharing has been a powerful process of finding more language to express oneself and to talk about experiences of sexual violence. Each person’s experience is different and only participants can speak about what the process is like. However, I noticed that there were many moments that each person found they could relate to one another.
A silkscreened poster printed by survivor participants. A statement by survivors.
The narratives of police participants offer a glimpse into what it is like to be in a role to respond and intervene against violence, and how trauma affects them after they take off the uniform and go home.
The lack of a feeling of closure is a common thing expressed by some women survivors of sexual violence and some of the police participants, for example.
A digital story always has the structure of a beginning, middle and an end. A resolution.
With the medium of a digital story, the most important sound is the individual’s voice.
Deep breath in…
deep breath… o u t.
Emmy Pantin and Jennifer LaFontaine shared their own digital stories with us too. They shared their professionalism, skill in facilitation, teaching, making technology accessible, and created a supportive space for learning and sharing with elder Brenda Mason. The participants each have different abilities when it comes to technology, and it was exciting to see folks teach each other, ask questions, and work collaboratively.
Spending time with folks and being part of this creative process so far is eye-opening to see and gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual violence impacts the women survivors of sexual violence, and the police as part of a larger system with a role to address this in our community.
Now, comes the next steps… we move into finding a way of deeper dialogue
If you are a survivor of sexual violence, please know that:
you are not alone.
it’s not your fault.
you are enough.
you are loved.
We Believe Survivors | Posters silk-screened and installed in a window display as part of Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s Urban Infill: Art in the Core Exhibition.
Thank you especially to our participants, artists, our collaborative partners, the child-care workers at Our Kids Count, and everyone who has helped us to come together for the first part and phase of our project.
Check out previous blog entries:
Funding for this work was provided by It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment