DENVER — Too many times, it’s hard to picture what domestic abuse really looks like. In the Latino community, the rise in and intensity of cases over the last year has been astronomical.
"This last year, we've seen a 780% rise in domestic violence cases [and] over a 2,000% rise in the need for financial assistance and basic needs," said Angela Ceseña, the executive director of Latina Safe House.
For that reason, she decided to partner with Museo de las Americas to put a face to these women’s journeys.
"We hope to destigmatize having this conversation," said Ceseña.
Survivors Ceseña has worked with collaborated with artists to create pieces displayed in this exhibit. For one such artist, part of her artwork reminds her of her mother.
The artist, who did not wish to be identified for this story, says she experienced domestic abuse firsthand, but says it was a psychological abuse. She says she was never hit, but the emotional abuse she suffered was very strong.
As part of her artwork, the artist she collaborated with made a box that illustrates how trapped she felt. Across the room is a tree of life that is decorated with roses in honor of her mother.
"'You or someone that you know will relate to any of these stories,' is one of those conversations that doesn't happen or is hard. When the family is going through any of these conversations or situations, then art is a piece of healing too," said Claudia Moran, the executive director of Museo de las Americas.
Similar stories are found throughout the exhibit. Some display anger, pain and isolation, but most importantly, strength.
"It is overwhelming, it is a bittersweet feeling because you can really see the resiliency of survivors, their families, this sunshine, this life that they have. And then it is disheartening because you know that these cases are still going up and that it is really difficult to talk about it," the artist said.
It is a pain no one should ever endure but many continue to suffer. Through this exhibit, the organizers hope those tough conversations are easier to have and understand.