The Secret Keeper
This is the story of Catherine Daniel’s childhood trauma and sexual abuse kept secret for years. It wasn’t until she was nearly 50 that she realised her secrets made her unwell. After her mother died, she decided to learn to write. That first meeting with author, Joan Rosier-Jones, changed her life forever. She started to unfold the layers of her history through words, many of them in metaphorical form. She joined a writers’ group which supported her in her journey through the complexities of understanding her own mental-health issues.
One day she couldn’t write, so decided to make a sculpture to portray what she couldn’t say in words. That day The Secret Keeper was born. By creating these sculptures and metaphors, she slowly unfolded her past in a way she was able to control. Each of the forty sculptures tells their own story.
Through her works, Catherine Daniels hopes to start the important conversations needed to help others navigate their own journeys of healing through childhood trauma, parental neglect, sexual abuse and mental health issues.
The Bristlecone Project exhibition
As part of the annual photography festival fotofest 23 and in association with Male Survivors Aotearoa and Dove Hawkes Bay, STAROS is proud to have played a part in bringing the Bristlecone Project to the Hawkes Bay. An exhibition that shares the stories of male survivors of sexual abuse is hoped to help other men open up about their own trauma.
The exhibition, believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, features black and white portraits and stories of New Zealand men, each a survivor of sexual abuse, and has been shown across the country since first exhibited in 2017 in Canterbury. It opens at 5:30pm Friday 15th September and runs through to Saturday 23rd September at the Tama Tūranga Huata Room down the lane next to the Toitoi Arts and Events Centre, 101 Hastings St South, Hastings.
STAROS is pleased to have special guest Paul Davenport speaking on Friday 22nd at 5:30 pm and Saturday 23rd at 3pm at the Tama Tūranga Huata Room. Paul features in the exhibition and will share his story about being the angry man prone to emotional outbursts, depression, low self-esteem and living with daily thoughts of suicide to a man who understands himself, where he comes from, and how he helps others through his role as a Social Worker.
see what else is on offer at fotofest from the image below
read more about the origins of Bristlecone from the button below
For many years Paul lived with the misplaced burden that he was somehow responsible for abuse that derailed him. Confronting the abuse has freed him from that burden.
“His mother’s sudden death at the age of six shattered what had been an idyllic rural New Zealand childhood. Paul’s father was loving and attentive, but he was faced with raising his son alone, and dealing with his own grief. So on weekends, Paul went to a neighbor to give his father some time to recoup. The neighbor, who took care of a number of children, gave Paul some desperately needed attention. But it was a setup for betrayal. He groomed Paul, and then he sexually abused him. The abuse ended when Paul disclosed to his father, but the end of the abuse also meant the end of the attention, of the special relationship. It was another loss.
The abuse intensified Paul’s already developed sense of being different and isolated. He was bullied at school, and he did what all children do: he internalized his experience. He came to believe that, somehow, he was responsible for his mother’s death, for the sexual abuse that was inflicted on him, for the bullying and the isolation. It was an impossible burden for a child to carry.
For years, Paul worked a variety of jobs. They paid the rent, but they were not his passion. He volunteered and for years worked with both civil defense and the Red Cross. In the aftermath of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes he searched buildings and helped Christchurch residents in need.
Then, a medical crisis changed the course of Paul’s life. He enrolled in a Bachelor’s social work program, and one of his classes triggered a reaction in him that led to revelations. He had been in counseling, but for the first time he focused on the sexual abuse. And he joined a peer support group of fellow male survivors, an experience that has yielded more insights. Now he looks forward to a career working with fellow survivors. “I’m no longer a victim. I’m a survivor. I’ve come a really long way.”
It was great to have Liz Fry deliver this workshop for us recently, yes it was hastily arranged but it was well received by those that managed to come along.
Liz came over to the Bay from Taranaki for a couple of weeks as she wanted to offer support and help out wherever she could and she has seen the impact on the community, both on the ground and on an emotional level.
Liz is keen to come back to deliver her workshops and listening ear so we'll bring her back and help to arrange those, keep an eye out for when this happens.
Grassroots Speaker Series - November 2022
Our third Grassroots Speaker Series days for the year took place on Saturday 19th November in the Lantern Gallery at the Havelock North Function Centre.
Thank you to all that came along to hear three amazing speakers tell their stories and share the positive messages that all contribute to the wellbeing of our community. For those who couldn't make it the speaker bios are still available from the button below.
Planning is already underway for our next day in the series in the new year, we'll keep you updated on progress.
The Lantern Gallery
Shot Bro - Confessions of a Depressed Bullet
Thank you to everyone who was able to make the two shows recently and thank you to Rob, ably assisted by cousin Clint, for once again opening this space to talk and for providing some very necessary tools to take away.
We will be bringing Rob and Shot Bro back to the Bay next year to continue the spread and availability of this incredibly important kaupapa for our community.