Making The Case:
While each culture and community has their own unique ways of coping with trauma, it is a fact that Asian American women are especially silent about stigma, sexuality, trauma, and pain, especially their own and those of their families. These silencing traditions stem from the centuries-old historic position of inferiority of women in Asian societies where a woman’s rights and autonomy were subordinated. On the other hand, this silence also comes from collectivism – concern for family and their reputation within the community and, by extension, how it may reflect poorly on their ethnicity and racial group. Furthermore, this trait is often misunderstood within an American culture that instead values individualism and speaking out even if it is to the detriment of others. So when it comes to trauma and abuse, Asian American women are in a constant cultural quandary about what to do, not only about acknowledging their difficult experience but also healing from it.
Fortunately, the PLACE creative workshop process model breaks through this silence and transform its users. Rather than challenging the “Asian-ness” of Asian American women, in an assimilationist fashion, PLACE works from within the Asian cultural paradigm itself by setting the creative exercises and shared thought processes in a group setting of other Asian American women. Sharing food and culture in the safety of others who understand the language of silence allows a broader range of communication styles. But, most especially, rather than “talk about” their issues in any explicit way, the women can let the art they create speak about and for them, instead. We already know this is possible from the work with 80+ Asian American and other women artists who have been part of A PLACE OF HER OWN™.
Based on our experience, we have every reason to believe that Asian American women, or any woman who is not a trained artist, can also – with the guidance of PLACE artist facilitators – experience the same self-realization, creativity, and transformation as an experienced artist.
There are already well-established social services organizations in the Asian American community addressing the problems of domestic violence, rape and assault, elder abuse and addiction, but there is no one coming at the problem for the angle that PLACE does. PLACE trains and implements an organic, self-propelling collaboration with other individuals and organizations to bring healing through art to the Asian American community and to Asian American women in particular.