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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

Friday, March 21, 2014

Art Exhibit Helps Sexual Assault Victims With Healing Process

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist

Outgoing SAHC Director announces “Art Heals” in Centre Market

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A unique art exhibit designed to help victims of sexual assault will be on display in Wheeling’s Centre Market for the rest of month.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, was joined today by officials from the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center (SAHC) to announce “Art Heals”, an exhibit that is made up of art work from current and former clients of the SAHC. Much of the display was created by victims of sexual assault ranging in age from 3 to 15 years who are also part of a SAHC support group. Adult survivors of sexual assault also submitted art work, and were given the opportunity to discuss their efforts in a counseling session as part of the healing process. “Art Heals” will be available for the public to view at no cost at Artworks Around Town inside the Upper Market House in Centre Market until March 31.

“The intent of the exhibit is to give our clients another means of expressing their feelings related to their abuse history and healing journey,” said Linda Reeves, outgoing director of the Sexual Assault Help Center. “Many times trauma survivors either don’t have words or can’t put into words what they are feeling or experiencing and using the arts is a wonderful medium to express these often hidden and sometimes overwhelming emotions.”

According to Reeves, clients of the SAHC are encouraged to submit their creative pieces
in the form of drawings, paintings, photos, sketches, and writings. Past displays have included a quilt made by teen survivors of sexual violence and a quilt made by a women’s survivors group. This year the exhibit includes glass etchings from an adult survivor.

Ihlenfeld and Reeves were accompanied by Helen Wilhelm, President of the SAHC’s Board of Directors, as well as Board member William “Bud” Dalrymple, in making the announcement.

“The art that has been submitted by survivors of sexual assault of all ages makes for a very powerful display,” said Ihlenfeld. “The exhibit portrays the struggles and challenges as well as the healing and growth of survivors of sexual violence. The process of creating the art provides an avenue for victims to express feelings and emotions that often are difficult to put into words.”

Reeves also took the opportunity to announce her departure from the SAHC and her new position at the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC). Reeves will serve as the early childhood specialist at the CCRC and be responsible for providing training and technical assistance to child care providers throughout the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia as well as North Central West Virginia. Lori Kinney, Director of the CCRC, was also on hand for today’s announcement.

Wilhelm is sad to see Reeves leave after two decades of service to the SAHC.

“Thanks to the efforts of Linda Reeves the response to sexual assault in the Ohio Valley has improved tremendously,” said Wilhelm. “She has shown great passion for helping victims to begin the road to recovery. Her departure is a big loss for our agency but I’m glad that she will continue to serve our community.”

“No one has been as dedicated as Linda Reeves in helping survivors of sexual assault to heal, and to begin to move on from the trauma that they’ve suffered,” said Dalrymple, who will serve as the Acting Director of the SAHC until a permanent director is named.

The Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to the community in dealing with the crime of sexual assault. Services include crisis intervention, advocacy, support services, individual and group counseling, and community education. The SAHC primarily serves Wetzel, Brooke, Marshall, Ohio and Hancock counties in West Virginia. In Ohio, Jefferson and Belmont counties are served. The SAHC does not refuse services to anyone regardless of where they reside. All victim services are provided free of charge. Anyone who needs the services of the Center may call 1-800-884-7242. Phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Updated January 7, 2015