Photography by Gary Kaplan, Narrative by Stephanie Hamilton-Oravetz.

In 2014, my dear friend, photographer Gary Kaplan, and I embarked on an unusual project. We created a series of portraits related to my history of sexual abuse. These were painful images, memories that had continued to torment me despite helpful psychotherapy and the passage of time. Our hope was that creating art, in the context of a safe and respectful relationship, could be healing.

The portraits sensitively and artistically convey aspects of my experiences, and initially were created as part of my private healing. However, in exhibiting the work, we have found that the combination of Gary's portraits and my accompanying narrative provides a unique and artistic bridge to understanding this difficult issue.

Sexual abuse is an intimate and secret trauma that lives behind closed doors. In order to prevent it and help those who have experienced it, we first have to let ourselves truly see it. Sexual trauma and its aftermath must be brought into the light, to become visible and understandable.

This work illustrates the power of the visual arts in healing from trauma. The message is positive and strong: While the effects of child abuse continue, the ability to heal continues, as well.

Collections of Gary's portraits with my accompanying narrative have been shown publicly at Lot 21 Studio in San Francisco in 2014 and at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, in Sebastopol, California in 2016. Currently, the work is showing at Art Gym Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

After a 4 year battle with Lymphoma that included 9 different therapies and a bone marrow transplant, Gary died in January 2017. However it was his wish, as it is mine, for this work to continue to be shown both for its artistic and its educational value.

This is a small selection of images from the project. For more information, visit Gary's website:

I am available to speak and present this unique and powerful project. Please contact me through this website Contact Page.
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