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What is Bodymapping?

Display of Bodymaps at the “Hope Rising” Benefit Concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation; copyright Stephen Lewis Foundation/Cameron MacLennanBodymapping is a technique in which victim-survivors answer a series of questions about themselves, their scars (physical and psychological), and their sources of resilience and strength.  They do this by literally mapping areas of vulnerability and social support on a large map they draw of an outline of their bodies.  The process involves up to 10 survivors, building their sense of their embodied sense of how they see their bodies and how they see the community interacting with them as victim-survivors.  No one needs to do an artist to do this, and the materials we offer are basic: newsprint, collage, paint and the like.  Body-mappers report increased self-esteem and self-knowledge in the wake of the Bodymapping experience, which can build solidarity across the cohort of survivors. Not only are the resulting maps often beautiful and always compelling.  The maps we will garner from a Bodymapping initiative we shall undertake in collaboration with CAPS and the Center for Women Students, with the permission of their creators, will be used for facilitated discussions about the embodied suffering of survivors of sexual abuse and assault with a variety of campus groups, both male and female, from athletics teams to Greek life.

Bodymapping collaboration between REPPSI and CATIE with Tanzanian Women (see http://www.catie.ca/en/bodymaps-temp

Bodymap of Ottilia Charies (CATIE/REPPSI collaboration)

Left: Bodymap of Ottilia Charies (CATIE/REPPSI collaboration)

Right Above: Display of Bodymaps at the “Hope Rising” Benefit Concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation; copyright Stephen Lewis Foundation/Cameron MacLennan