Trauma inspires creative work
Virginia Rodriguez Jimenez uses video to address child sexual abuse
A victim of child sexual abuse (CSA) has used the medium of film to address her harrowing tale.
For her BA (Hons) Fine Art degree show, Virginia Rodriguez Jimenez has created a three-piece video that addresses CSA, child exploitation and familial trafficking after she suffered 14 years of trauma.
The 42-year-old, from Gran Canaria but who has lived in the UK for the last 10 years, said: “We live in a modern society that promotes conversations of understanding and acceptance of mental illness and its causes, yet CSA especially in the family setting, remains a taboo subject often shunned and silenced.
“In this work I share my story of CSA that lasted from childhood to adulthood. Even though I tried to ask for help during adolescence, I was shut down and had to deal with that situation for years.”
In previous works, Virginia has reflected on how her childhood trauma affected her in her daily life as an adult, but now she wanted to focus on the root of the problem.
"In this work I share my story of CSA that lasted from childhood to adulthood. Even though I tried to ask for help during adolescence, I was shut down and had to deal with that situation for years"— Fine art student Virginia Rodriguez Jimenez
The former I.F.P. Polytechnic Las Palmas student commented: “I have thought many times about the reasons of why an adult that knows that a child is being abused will not report or take action. I can only think it is shame, fear of confronting the abuser, how to deal with the abused child, or because they are benefiting from it.”
Her I Killed Yaiza and La Naval 152/Bazar Rosymar clips put into context her family situation and the location in which the events took place.
She said: “For these pieces I used personal photographic material and remotely recorded the actual locations in Gran Canaria, with the intention of showing the normality that surrounds the places where abuse is perpetrated and how people are oblivious to what goes on within the walls of the buildings around them.
“Isami Daehn's collaboration in this project aims to inform and encourage victims of abuse as well as their families and acquaintances to report, act and take responsibility for the safety of children, as well as sharing her story of CSA and trafficking.”
Virginia’s films have been processed and edited to resemble VHS as her trauma occurred during the 1980s and 90s. The installation is equipped with analogue monitors and headphones so the viewer has a private experience due to the sensitive content of the films.
Virginia was working full-time as a support worker for learning disabilities when she started at UCLan as a foundation student.
"For these pieces I used personal photographic material and remotely recorded the actual locations in Gran Canaria, with the intention of showing the normality that surrounds the places where abuse is perpetrated"— Virginia Rodriguez Jimenez
She said: “I did a foundation year because I wanted to explore different mediums and career paths. Having a background in photography and film, I was inclined to do a degree in animation, but ultimately choose fine art as it would allow me to work with any type of media and the course offered a wide variety of workshops that could help me to gain the skills necessaries to achieve the best results in my projects.”
Virginia has also had to deal with mental and physical health while studying. She added: “My mental and physical health was deteriorating fast when the pandemic started and with lockdown my access to health services and support was very slow and difficult, having an impact in my overall health and my motivation. I thought many times about stopping the course, but I had great support from the well-being team in the University that helped me through the duration of the course.”
She is hoping to continue her education by enrolling on to a master’s programme after taking a year off to receive mental health treatment.
Her work is on public display at UCLan’s free Degree Show 2023, which runs until 26 June.
Taking place across three buildings on the Preston Campus, design, fashion and media undergraduates’ work will be exhibited in Victoria Building. In Hanover Building the creations from fine art, photography and foundation level art, design and media students will be displayed while the final year projects of architecture students can be seen in the Engineering Innovation Centre.