I could understand what Melanie was experiencing because of my own reactions to childhood sexual and emotional abuse. Her trauma had been greater; so I just listened to her most of the time. Her paintings of the Church were colorfully emotional because of her “love-hate” relationship with the people of the Church. They knew that her Father was raping her almost daily, but did nothing, said nothing. The priest would give her a cross, some beads and a little statue and place his hand on her head, but that was it. She would read her small New Testament before the afternoon spankings and sex. Her Mother was frequently spanked also, but then would go outdoors ; so she wouldn’t hear her screams.

Now Melanie showed her artwork in this same old abandoned Church, but no one came except her sisters now and then to bring her food and other supplies. They were relieved there was someplace for Melanie to live, out of the way; so she wouldn’t embarrass them in front of other people.

She frequently walked around the Church on the old dirt roads naked, who cared anyway? The one young man that lived in the house with the blue roof had problems of his own and seldom talked to her, although he did watch her. (There are so many types of beauty.) Melanie was beautiful in her honest reactions and her artistic expressions, which she “hung” on the interior walls of the Church with paintings of Christ “hanging” naked on the cross. He understood about painful abuse, humiliation and embarrassment.


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