Monday, 18 March 2013

My personal manifesto

My name is Suzzan Blac. I am an artist, author and advocate against child and adult abuse.
Below is a brief summary of my work as an advocate against child and sexual abuse. As well as a short personal manifesto. I feel that my work and experience would benefit other victims and survivors of abuse and be most valuable in areas of research or be utilised within teaching programmes to give much insight and expand the knowledge base of professionals.

I am a survivor of severe and prolonged physical, psychological and sexual abuse, which began by the hands of my mother, who physically and emotionally abused me every day of my life. She also enabled one of her boyfriends to sexually abuse me. I have experienced domestic abuse, both physical and psychological. I also grew up knowing paedophiles, including child paedophiles, who sexually abused me from when I was an infant until I was sixteen. I have experienced numerous rapes and I was abducted into sex trafficking and forced into pornography and prostitution. I have experienced PTSD, including self abuse, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol dependency and suicide attempts.

In 2000 I started using my skills in art as a form of self therapy. I painted forty two images that portrayed my personal story of abuse. They are my expression of, not just a depiction of pain and trauma, but how each abuse made me feel. And also the consequences and reverberations of secondary victimisation, such as stigmatisation, isolation, condemnation and victim blaming, which I have personally experienced and is as painful as the abuse itself. I paint, to give a tangible voice and resonance to other victims and survivors, who cannot express their own atrocities, other than words that they they sometimes are unable to say. I receive many messages of thanks from survivors all over the world. This is how I personally manage my trauma, this is my 'antidote'.

My book 'The rebirth of Suzzan Blac' was published in April of last year. It documents my story of abuse, my recovery, resilience and my advocacy. It is available on Amazon and all good book site

I feel that there are many missed opportunities to utilise the valuable experiences of survivors of abuse. My secondary goal is to work alongside qualified mental health agencies, social workers, professors, police agencies and the judicial system. In order to assist them in a better understanding by my experiences and insight, which could expand and enhance their teaching programmes and/ or knowledge base. After all, I am 'qualified' by real life experience.

On the 13th of March 2013, Andy Desmond (Director at Anti Trafficking Consultants Limited and ex detective constable of New Scotland yard) used my art in a training and awareness conference in Switzerland.
I am awaiting a recommendation, but this is what he said so far -

” I am just wanting to let you know that your art work plus you account made a strong impression with the persons who attended the event yesterday. Many of them were from law enforcement agencies here in Switzerland plus NGO's and also television and journalists.”

This was also proven, when I collaborated with professor Claudia Paola Tapia of Barry university, Florida. Who utilised both my art and my insight into the teaching programmes of trainee social workers. The following is her endorsement that she wrote for inclusion in my book.

"When I first saw Suzzan’s art, I had this feeling of falling into an abyss. Each piece flooded me with memory and experience and connected me to my clients in a way that I had never felt before. Her work was speaking directly to the endless stories of trauma and survival I have heard through my years as a therapist. I was teaching a Master’s Level Social Work class the upcoming semester at Barry University. I decided to contact Suzzan about the possibility of collaborating. My idea was to utilize her work and her story as a way of inciting in student’s the same feelings of empathy and visceral connection to pain, suffering and triumph that Suzzan’s work invoked in me.
I was surprised and elated when Suzzan agreed. In the beginning of the semester I shared our unique proposal with the class: students would work in groups by choosing a painting and developing a scholarly paper on a related topic. They were also asked to create a interactive art therapy exercise that was inspired by their topic and/or painting. Which ranged from human trafficking & child abuse to resiliency. It was an unorthodox classroom experiment designed to help students develop their knowledge base about critical issues to our profession, but also to develop awareness of the struggles faced by Suzzan in order to be able to better understand and empathize with their future clients. As a teacher and a psychotherapist, it was a tremendously rewarding experience. Suzzan gave herself completely to the experience and continued to communicate with me throughout the course, answering students’ questions about her life and providing me with support in managing the curriculum. The success of our collaboration was evident in the students’ diligence and insight, which grew as the semester progressed. Months later, as I worked with some of the same students again, I continue to be impressed by the depth of the impact Suzzan’s work and commitment to helping others has made on these students."

Professor Claudia Paola Tapia, Barry university, Florida.

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