Founder – Linda Austin
In June 2017, while driving up to the mountains for a few nights of respite, I expected to feel what I usually felt on this drive; an unfolding peace and calm that slowly enveloped me. This day was different. I was reeling from the news that someone I cared deeply about was asked to revisit her sexual assault experience after already winning her case during a campus court hearing. Because the perpetrator appealed the decision, she was expected to again detail in writing her entire experience, including the lingering trauma she was experiencing. While I understand the perpetrator had a right to appeal, I worried how rehashing the experience was going to affect my loved one.
“It’s not enough,” I said to myself repeatedly. We are failing survivors of sexual abuse at every turn. We need change. We need a culture shift. We need a place where one can connect with others to heal, contemplate, and educate.
As I looked up into the sky, I envisioned a giant mirror. An odd sight, I thought at first. But, since I was very young, the mirror as always been a grounding tool for me. In that context, my vision made sense. I pondered the effects of a looking in a mirror. Did it have the same effect on other survivors of sexual abuse as it did on me? Could a large-scale mirror connect all of us somehow? Could we create a community where people came to celebrate the journey of survivorship?
During my mountain retreat, I spent time writing concepts and drawing pictures of what I imagined an interactive public art piece for sexual abuse survivors could be. I wanted a place where conversation was safely sparked. I wanted a place where contemplation was honored. I wanted a place that educated and gave a voice to the community. And I wanted a place where the power was taken back.