Friday, December 11, 2009

Making a Mark in Life

By Cherry Simpson

Being a victim of crime leaves it’s mark on one’s life. Crime is on the nightly news, written about in books and on Blog Talk Radio. But you can’t walk into the Hallmark Store and find a card that says Sorry for your Rape, or Sympathy for the Murder of your Child.
Now-a-days almost nothing is taboo in conversation, except it seems the subject of being a victim of crime. Many victims hide as they are ashamed and are often blamed for the crime committed against them. 
The Crime Clock tells us it happens every 18 seconds, so we don’t have to look hard or very far to find a victim of crime, it does not discriminate, touching all ages, genders, creeds, and races. Whether it be murder, rape, assault, child or elder abuse, DV, or theft. Victim’s are in your church, your class at school, at work, in your neighborhood, even in your family.
When my daughter became a victim. I looked for someone - anyone who could understand and help. I sought help from a therapist a wonderful man whom we lovingly call Dr J, he helped us through many frightening and difficult times. With the ever growing crime statistics and the massive increase in human suffering Dr J will never be out of work.  He explained it’s difficult for those not effected by crime to have empathy and sympathy for victims. 
I’d like to see that change and I have often thought education to be the best way to do that. 
But how?

Earning High Marks

My husband, Larry Simpson, is a university professor, and he showed me a way. 
He teaches art and in one of his drawing classes he developed an assignment in which he had his students draw themselves and what their relationships are to the rest of their family. The drawings were large in size 4’ x 6’ and were the beginning of teaching more than just how to draw. 
In one drawing a young woman depicts a house which has a tree growing through it, like a weed, destroying all in it. The tree represents her alcoholic father. In each room is another family member, they are all being hurt by this monster. 
Another student was from Nigeria and he draws a hut, in which lies his entire family, all brutally murdered the student has drawn himself running away. He is the Nigerian silver metal winner of the Olympics. He says this is how he learned to run...for his life. 
Another woman from Iran also draws her family being killed and her new life in the US. 
There are numerous stories and drawings which tell the stories of murder, rape, child abuse, addiction, domestic violence, the list gets longer each semester. The class has grown in popularity, many students request over-rides. 
I have been very impressed by the stories my husband shares with me. Many of the students have thanked my husband for the opportunity to share their stories.  Some students, fortunate enough to not have been victimized, thank him for opening their eyes. 
He’s not only teaching them how to draw but how to share the pain and suffering. They have given each other the gift of empathy and sympathy for victim’s of crime. 
It’s art therapy - making a mark in this world in a special way.
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  1. I love this! It makes me wonder how I would depict my family of wouldn't be a pretty picture, that's for sure. And now the family I've made with my husband has forever been changed by the murder of our dear friend, Renee Pagel. But at the same time, it has offered us (me, my husband and 4 children) a chance to bond closer to God and to one we cling to HOPE in this fallen world. Thank you for has given me much food for thought. It has also given me an idea for a snow day activity (since this is our 3rd in a row).....praying for you, Cherry. Thank you for your continued advocacy and help for victims.

  2. Telling my story through Video and song.

  3. Please click on the link (my name or the date) to view video. Thank you.

  4. Cherry, thank you for your work and for sharing a glimpse of your husband's teaching.

    What's always amazed me is how well the visualization process works! Whenever I've just answered the simple question "What picture does my current impression convey?" the clarity takes a quantum leap upward.


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