CONTENT WARNING: Talks about childhood sexual abuse.
Catherine Daniels kept her experience of childhood sexual abuse a secret for nearly 50 years. It was through writing that she began her journey to understand her experience and the impact it has had on her mental health. This journey led her to sculpting and the creation of The Secret Keeper.
The Secret Keeper is a powerful exhibition of metaphors and sculptures that confronts the viewer with the impact of childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Through her art, Catherine takes control of her past and shares with us fragments of herself, her story, and her strengths. She hopes that by doing so, we are encouraged to have important conversations about trauma, sexual abuse, mental health, and support others on their own journeys of healing.
On Tuesday the 9th of November, HELP and many others who work in the sexual violence sector were invited to view the exhibition and hear Catherine tell her story. It was an honour to meet Catherine and hear her speak about her journey. As you move through the gallery you see her innocence, her pain, and her healing. You are captivated by the words and images. Each sculpture offers a small window into a moment, feeling, and a memory. She uses the repetition of ‘her girls’ (sculptures and puppets) combined with iconic childhood imagery such as Mickey Mouse, balloons or fairgrounds to show the collision of innocence and trauma.
Catherine is using her art to let others know they are not alone and to encourage them to reach out for support. Her exhibition is on in Wellington until the 20th of November 2021, we encourage you to go along, witness her story and get involved in the conversation.
Please be aware that the exhibition could be confronting for some people, take care of yourselves and your whānau, and make sure you take a breather if you need it. There are people on site for you to talk to, and our crisis support line is available 24/7, call 04 801 6655 and press 0 at the menu.
Date: 21 October to 20 November 2021
Cost: Free entry
If you have experienced sexual violence and want support, call our 24/7 support line on 04 801 6655 and press 0 at the menu to talk to someone immediately. HELP supports people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and ethnicity. We are here to support you at any or every stage of your healing journey