Judith Jones

Fractured Lives.

Fractured Lives was made in response to facing the sexual abuse that I endured forty years ago. Utilising original photographs of myself as a child and my family to create unique prints I have attempted to visually express the destruction and feelings of loss that face those abused. Survivors of abuse may become a wreckage of our past. The process of informing the police eighteen months ago culminated in the perpetrator being sent to prison has forced me to attempt to deal with the devastation the abuse has had and continues to have on my family. The impact of such crimes often fractures the very existence of our close relations and our ability to maintain any relationship successfully. My mother still wants nothing to do with me; with no sign of sensitivity or comfort; the lack of love and care which probably made me vulnerable to the teacher who my parents trusted to give me extra lessons after school can never be revived or restored. As a victim of child sexual abuse, you always remain a victim. That is one thing I know I have to accept and only other victims can understand that concept. Sexual abuse is unique in the devastation it has on a child; as it halts everything that was normal or even remotely normal; distancing the victims from all those around them, creating a barrier from those the child once thought loved them. Not allowing their normal sexual development to grow. Pushing them further into the hands of their abusers as the circle of confusion leaves them no option but to delude themselves that their persecutors are really their confidantes. The often intense grooming process makes the child feel ‘special’ so that all other relations are destroyed and fractured into many pieces making the victims dependent on their abusers power as the only ones that will be there for them, the only ones that make them feel needed. Even on ‘coming out’ and ‘going public’ with sexual abuse trials and convictions of such abuse rife in the media this will not heal these fractured lives. Often parents have passed away never wanting to listen to the cruel lies their children were trying to tell them. The impact of the performance by the abuser; and I call it a performance as the often long process of grooming culminating in the actual physical deed of sexual abuse is a pre-meditated, orchestrated series of acts on behalf of the perpetrator and is one that literally halts the victims life and distances the victim from all those they had once relied on. These images created from the only family photographs I possess visually illustrate the way my life and my relationship with siblings, grandparents, parents and other family members dissolved and fractured into many pieces in the late summer of 1972. Most of those in the images have long since departed from this earth and will never know my story. Others who I only felt brave enough to explain what had happened to me when I could actually prove it with newspaper cuttings describing the teacher’s eventual confession of guilt, may well now believe me but they will never understand and I will always feel it was my fault…I just have to learn to live with this crime I still feel a partner in and try to learn forty years too late how to relate to others without a continued, enormous sense of guilt and shame…

Judith Jones

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