“Psychological trauma is the unique individual experience of an event or of enduring conditions in which the individual’s ability to integrate his or her emotional experience is overwhelmed (i.e.: his or her ability to stay present, understand what is happening, integrate the feelings, and make sense of the experience), or the individual experiences (subjectively) a threat to life, bodily integrity, or sanity” (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, p. 60).
Lutz’s work explores the trauma of sexual abuse and incest in childhood and the long-standing consequences of these experiences. Ultimately, she seeks to raise social awareness, help to eliminate victim stigma and bring the full impact of sexual trauma into open discussion.
“On a deep level, the bodies of incest victims have trouble distinguishing between danger and safety. This means that the imprint of past trauma does not consist only of distorted perceptions of information coming from the outside; the organism itself also has a problem knowing how to feel safe. The past is impressed not only on their minds, and in misinterpretations of innocuous events, but also on the very core of their beings: in the safety of their bodies” (Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma).
From 2009-2013 Child Protective Services substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that,
63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse in the United States.
34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under the age of 12.
90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way.
68% are abused by a family member.
After affects of sexual abuse and incest include eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive behaviors, self-destructiveness (like skin carving and other self-abuse), phobias, depression, gender issues, inability to trust, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, abandonment issues, trouble integrating sexuality and emotionally, and demanding to be loved (because love was taken, not given). Many survivors experience flashbacks and body memories which are often intrusive and debilitating.
Survivors can learn to accept and move on, but the damage is deep-rooted; consistently present on the victim’s body and in their behaviors, demeanors, attitudes, and feelings. The scars are real.
As a survivor of incest and emotional abuse the artist’s life experiences deeply influence her work.
“Over the past three years, through on-going psychotherapy, I have gained insight into my own behaviors, patterns and relationships. Several series of work have evolved throughout this time including Spaces of the Heart, Safe Spaces, Identity and Mountains to Climb. Mark-making, texture, and vibrant color have resonated inside of me at this time, resulting in raw, emotional paintings attempting to express the chaotic, quiet, fragmented memory left inside of me.”
Lutz continues to create works inspired by the love, light and healing she finds through art.