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Socio-Political Context

Jill de Graaf

Jill de Graaf (1994) is an Antwerp-based illustrator and graphic designer / visual artist. She combines colorful and aesthetic art with educational projects, where positivity plays a very important role in her work. Therefore, she will always try to reach people through positive provocation to create a more sustainable, accepting environment. Jill also works under the pseudonym Jillostrations. Where bright and bold colors do not deter her, she goes for a positive body image and strives for self-acceptance.

Non Consensual Healing

Conversations about trauma are difficult for numerous reasons. How can you ease into such a delicate topic of conversation and how can I be of assistance as a visual artist?

A human being has many natural coping ways for traumatic events, but talking is one of the hardest and last steps of the healing process. So with this project, we try to find ways of communication in other languages than words. Starting from carefully conducted conversations with survivors, we collaborate and construct visual art to break the taboos about their healing process. By working together we try to open up the conversation about the mental and physical healings process after sexual trauma.

In our conversations we don’t focus on the trauma, we talk about what happens to a person after such trauma. There are many taboos and unanswered questions about the healing process after sexual trauma, which puts the survivor in an inferior position again. A lot of the things a survivor goes through make them feel very “abnormal”, whilst what they feel is only a normal part of the process. By doing a lot of self-reflection we focus on the mental and physical phases they went through in their healing process.

I found a psychologist willing to support me in this project. I have been working together with over 30 survivors of all ages, genders, and sexualities, and nationalities. Every person I work with is constructing their own image. This is such a delicate subject, which never even made me think of putting certain time pressure on creating the visuals. Everyone has their own pace in this process, with many survivors, we have only constructed a mood board yet and are still looking for their message.

From the beginning I realized that this was going to be a lot bigger than my master proof so the project "non-consensual healing " doesn't stop after I graduate.