Content warning: the below text references sexual violence.

Hell and Hope is traveling with A Better World Exhibition 2019-2021. The intention of the exhibit is to honor someone to create a better world for all of us. My hero is Alice Sebold and my hope is to create the space for those who have been affected by rape, incest or abuse to rise above the ordeal they have endured.

Alice Sebold was brutally raped at knifepoint in 1981 as a freshman in college. In the midst of writing what became the bestseller The Lovely Bones, she wrote Lucky — her memoir published 18 years after the horrific events of that night. In Lucky she laid out her soul, sharing her intimate thoughts and feelings in each meaningful interaction in the subsequent days, months, and years. Just knowing her struggle has created the atmosphere for rape victims like myself to acknowledge, heal and grow. Her self-described journey left her “in a world where two truths coexist; where both hell and hope lie in the palm of” her hand.

Just prior to making this quilt read Lucky, nearly 40 years after I was assaulted by a serial rapist. Alice Sebold told her story with candor and questions and emotion, never being afraid to say the hard truth. RAPE. It’s the typically unspoken four-letter word that she is not afraid to say. Fear, anger and a range of emotions surround the word. We can’t understand the people involved or heal without acknowledging our truth. Alice Sebold has opened the door for me and countless others to be in communion with ourselves and those closest to us.

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