- Nonprofit Spotlight: Shattered Canvas, Inc
- 2/19/15 Interview with Blog Talk Radio
- Recent Interview with Blog Talk Radio
- RAACE.com Interview
Everyone needs a voice.
Shattered Canvas, Inc., based in Havre de Grace, is a nonprofit organization aimed at supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and promoting education and awareness.
Patch recently talked to JoAnn Kerschner, executive director of Shattered Canvas and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
About the organization
Shattered Canvas is dedicated to the prevention of childhood sexual abuse and erasing the stigma of mental health by supporting survivors and promoting community education and awareness. Kerschner, a professional nurse with over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, decided to devote her life to the mission of Shattered Canvas in October of 2014.
How is the organization making a difference?
Shattered Canvas provides survivors with access to support and education in a safe environment. The organization hosts numerous programs, including support groups, education seminars, counseling and art therapy sessions to support survivors.
Based on reports, it is believed that in today’s society 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually molested before they are 18 years old.
Kerschner is still battling the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, calling it “a continuous vicious cycle.”
As a survivor, she still suffers with depression, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, insurance coverage, medications, and the overall stigma of mental health in our society. She hopes Shattered Canvas will act as a safe haven for the many others who are battling similar issues, but have yet to seek help.
“Everyone knows someone,” she said. “It could be their child, their next door neighbor, someone in their family.”
The power of the voice
Kerschner works closely with survivors from nearby and across the country. Many have reached out to Kerschner for help after hearing about the organization or listening to her radio podcasts associated with the National Association Adult Survivors of Child Abuse or NAASCA. She hopes more people will learn to feel comfortable to reach out and look for help if they need it.
“People can’t see the pain. We teach people how to find a voice.”
The organization is working on forming their first survivors’ group, a very personal experience for her, referring to the members as “like family.” Kerschner also hopes to hold journal drives throughout the community to collect journals that will be given to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
“The journal is great”, she said, explaining how a journal acts as an open canvas for survivors to release their private feelings through words or drawings.
How can the community get involved?
Read the original article at: http://patch.com/maryland/havre-de-grace/nonprofit-spotlight-shattered-canvas-inc
Tonight’s special guest is JoAnn Kerschner from Baltimore, Maryland, a child abuse survivor, RN, and returning NAASCA family member who has really changed her life a great deal since we last had her as a “special guest.” Formerly the Nursing Director and a Mental Health worker at her local Medical Center, JoAnn’s still in the early stages of her recovery, and describes herself as a wife, mother, friend and nurse .. but never a daughter! She was sexually abused by her father. Now she’s changed career paths and last year developed an impressive advocacy as a big part of her healing. JoAnn is the Executive Director of Shattered Canvas, which offers survivors classes that combine education, community experts, and a support group option. Family members, friends of survivors, or any individual desiring education can attend these classes in a safe and comfortable setting. Shattered Canvas is available for professional education or speaking engagements for businesses and community venues. Professional Mental Health experts provide resources for participants that are available in the community. Support groups are available to participants to engage in a shared vision for healing. JoAnn provides an adjunct resource for Mental Health Clinicians, Therapists, Providers, looking for education/support for clients, families and individuals. Shattered Canvas seeks invitations to schools, colleges, community events and businesses to provide local residents with education and a message of hope. JoAnn is also seeking other professionals in the community who desire the opportunity to be an integral part of Shattered Canvas by providing expertise and modalities of care in education sessions or in a support group setting.
Tonight’s special guest is JoAnn Kerschner from Baltimore, Maryland, a child abuse survivor, RN, Nursing Director and Mental Health worker who’s still in the early stages of her recovery.
“My father died in 2011 from melanoma. I took care of him in his last few days of life (on home hospice) with the exception of his urinary catheter,” JoAnn writes. “I could not look under the covers at the catheter; it brought back too many memories. I had little emotion and actually prolonged his life. You see, I am a Registered Nurse and have witnessed deaths of patients that I cared deeply for in my 30 year career.
I never had a relationship with my mother, it was always distant, no bonding, no mother daughter moments, only continual narcissism, but yet somehow I found the strength to care for her for the next year. I hoped that I would always be chosen, good enough, but I never was.”
After her father’s passing, JoAnn began her recovery in earnest, reporting she had a lifetime of memories. “I never forgot the details and I know my mother knew because I saw the sickness, the love of little girls and yes the picture of my mom wearing my pajamas, holding my stuffed animal, posing as a little girl for Daddy.”
JoAnn is grateful she has found a dedicated therapist (who still spends four hours a week with her), and the support of her husband and sons. “Is it over?” she muses. “No, it will never be over!”
She says she’s grateful to have the opportunity to share my story and join the NAASCA family. “I really need one! I am hopeful that some of your listeners will find strength in the fact that I am still in the beginning stages of my journey, I still go to counseling 4 hours a week, hold down a 60+hour/week job, and I am beginning to start my business HHOPE (Healing Hearts of People Everywhere) and make a difference.”
JoAnn Kerschner, survivor and founder of Hopes4Healing, an organization that provides group education, clinical expertise, and support for survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as public speaking/education for the community, shared her story with RAACE.
Throughout my childhood, I was sexually abused by my father. That abuse created a pattern of abusive, negative relationships that repeated through my life. I didn’t really think of myself as a survivor. I knew I was different from other people, but I didn’t know why. I used to hope that I would find out I was adopted. You get kind of brainwashed. The relationship with my father was all I really knew of love. I found solace in the outdoors, nature, it was my safe place.
Although my abuse led to depressive episodes throughout my life, I knew I had to keep the secret. I graduated from college majoring in nursing, married, had two sons, worked as the Director of Nursing Operations at a large community hospital, providing coverage 24/7, and working 12-16 hour days.
When my father was dying of melanoma a few years ago, I made sure he received excellent care and set up home hospice for him. I cared for him around the clock during the four days he had on hospice so that he could die in his own bed. We were frequently alone together during his hospitalization, and once at home, and I kept hoping he would apologize for what he did to me, but he never did.
I supported and cared for my mother during this time and for the next year after my father’s death. We never had a close mother-daughter relationship and I hoped that would change. We talked about my Dad’s manipulative ways and she was shocked to hear what I knew about my father. My Dad told me everything and would always say, “Remember this is just between us.” He lied to other family members about me, always making me look like the crazy one. Nothing changed between my mother and me. I was still not chosen.
Things really began unravelling right before my Dad became ill. After his death I thought I could just move on, but I became severely depressed and realized that I needed to get help or I would die. I laid in bed for a week and on that Sunday I decided to search for a local therapist on my cell phone. I did this for hours and picked a therapist that spoke to me in his bio and I knew he was the right one. I emailed him immediately before I changed my mind. He responded right away and gave me an appointment the next morning. It took me months to actually tell him about the abuse. I needed to trust him with my secret. I had not ever told anyone, not even my husband.
I battled multiple episodes of severe clinical depression, PTSD, anxiety disorder, suicide attempts and was diagnosed with ADHD. No one who knew me would have guessed that I was battling all these problems. I’ve been working with my therapist for two and half years. He is an art therapist and art has given me a voice. I still receive four hours of therapy every week. His support and the art therapy allow me to confront and express the pain from the abuse and share my thoughts when there are no words to tell my story. I still suffer with depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety, but now I have help.
I’ve “divorced” my mother and my family. Some people ask, “How can you do something like that?” but it’s been such a relief from the pain for me. I have no regrets. I wanted to be loved, valued, and chosen by my family for whom I am, but that was never going to happen.
I resigned my position as the Director of Nursing Operations on July 22, 2014; it was my gift to myself on the 2nd anniversary of when I reached out for help. I knew that losing my income would be a hardship. After all, who does that? But I have faith. I started Hopes4Healing, initiated a mental health scholarship at Harford Community College, and am working on writing a book. This is my passion. If I can make a difference in the life of one person, that would mean more to me than anything in the world.
When I resigned my nursing position, I shared my resignation letter with all 147 of my staff and shared my story in that letter. I wanted people I worked with in the health care field to hear how behind the smile, mentoring, and outcomes I produced every day, I was the face of mental health. Twenty associates came to me to share their stories of abuse; some had never told anyone before. You can never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. We all try to hide these experiences because the pain is so great and there’s a huge stigma attached to sexual abuse and mental health problems. I want to change that and bring these issues into the light so people can get the help and support they need.
If you’ve been sexually abused, know that there is hope. Believe in the fairy tale! You should trust yourself and find someone you can reach out to. There are people who understand you and what you’re going through. You will realize that other people don’t see you as you see yourself—as someone who is damaged. It can be hard, but reach out and get help. No one can do it for you. You need to do this yourself. It is hard and unfair, but worth it. You will learn so much about yourself. Your life will change.