The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art

(Atlanta, GA)– Georgia is ranked the 10th worst state in the nation when it comes to men killing women. The CDC considers Violence against Women a Public Health problem, and is currently hosting an art exhibit to bring this issue to light.

Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art,” is an art exhibition that can bring up feelings of anger, disgust, frustration, but also hope and empowerment.

From a husband’s photo essay on the impact of his wife’s rape on their family to photos taken by women themselves in areas of conflict in western Africa. This exhibit uses a multitude of media to illustrate the effects of violence against women, worldwide, and why it happens in the first place. On a tour of the exhibit, the curator points this and other things out.

This show not really is not just about showing results of violence but also a call to action and about empowering women and men to stop the violence.

Louise Shaw is Curator of the David J. Sensor CDC Museum, which is hosting the exhibit
Art has an incredible ability to opening your mind and bringing awareness.

And one can respond to the art and then begin to think about in a more personal way about the impact of violence on women not only here in U.S. but around the world.

“Off the beaten path” features prominent artists from N. America, S. America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Their work explores violence against women individually, in the family, in the community, in politics and in culture.

“There’s a lot of pieces about cultural identity and gender issues in the role of women in societies. We’re standing by an installation of beautiful chiffon pieces by a Korean artist where she painted shadowy pictures of women on these panels on chiffon that represent roles of women in Korean society, where often times they’re considered second class.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the CDC recently hosted a panel to talk about Prevention of Violence Against Women.

“In U.S. we estimate 4.8 million women experience assaults or rapes at the hand of an intimate partner each year.

James Mercy, acting director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, says the problem here is endemic and effects some 20-30% of women in the United States.

“It’s a public health issue because the consequences are so important for health. You could suffer severe physical injuries being exposed to this kind of violence, all the way to traumatic brain injuries. But also it gets under the skin. We found exposure to this kind of violence is also associated with heart disease, stroke, arthritis, common every day chronic diseases, as well as mental health problems.”

Nicole Lesser, executive director of the Georgia Coalition Against domestic violence, says we need to hold abusers accountable for violent behavior against women, instead of the victims.

“With domestic violence, what the research shows us is people are still blaming the victim for the abuse that has happened to her. So as long as we are looking at the victim as responsible, there’s always going to be less attention paid to the issue.”

Off the Beaten Path was organized by the California non-profit -Artworks for Change- which also created a virtual version of the exhibit on line.

The CDC exhibit will be on display until September 9.

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