S&F Online
The Scholar & Feminist Online is a webjournal published three times a year by the Barnard Center for Research on Women
BCRW: The Barnard Center for Research on Women
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Issue: 8.3: Summer 2010
Guest Edited by Mandy Van Deven and Julie Kubala
Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concert

Throwing Down the Drums: Dancing the Lessons of Boundaries and Violence

Marta Sanchez

I am part of a revolution of word and color. I began to write and paint after years of silent healing from sexual violence. During that time I needed my silence, but when I began to paint and write I discovered that I needed this gentle yet powerful voice more. I found safety. It was still a quiet safety, but it was vivid, dynamic, and colorful. This was how I began to untangle and process my feelings.

Eventually I began to share my work, stumbling into a dynamic way of addressing sexual violence. Now I use personal storytelling, spoken word, and visual art to facilitate dialogue and healing for survivors of sexual violence and our communities. It is an inclusive conversation, one with few rules and no script. The basic premise of my approach is that survivors cannot be left to cope with our experiences of violence alone. We need our community's support, and we need each other.

In working with diverse communities, art has the ability to communicate across boundaries. It is a wide stage that gives us space to emphasize hope, highlight community resources, encourage self-care, and support survivors.

While I personally employ poetry, painting and stories to address sexual violence, I see the healing potential in other forms of art as well. This essay employs storytelling to illustrate how dance can empower survivors and our communities.

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© 2010 Barnard Center for Research on Women | S&F Online - Issue 8.3: Summer 2010 - Polyphonic Feminisms