“We Step Into the Light” Pilot Project



WE STEP INTO THE LIGHT is a continuous global art exhibition that encourages artists from all mediums of art to capture the beauty and strength of those who have survived the trauma of abuse and tragedy and have built thriving lives. The origin of the exhibition comes from the experiences and triumphs of a thriving sexual assault survivor Dr. Desmonette Hazly. Dr. Hazly wanted to have a life centered on her dreams, goals and aspirations and not allow the trauma of rape to be the defining moment of her identity. After writing a creative sensual cookbook to address issues of intimacy and body image, Dr. Hazly recognized the power of art to inspire those who have suffered emotional and physical trauma of abuse to see their beauty and find their strength to live the lives they have always wanted.

WE STEP INTO THE LIGHT partners volunteer artists with survivors who are thriving in their lives despite the pain they have suffered. The artists get to know and understand the thriving models and create an image that represents the growth and uniqueness of the people who triumph over tragedy. Each model that is immortalized in a piece of art writes a brief narrative celebrating their survival and highlighting their will to thrive and be successful in their lives.

On April 16The Rape Crisis Center of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles had their first annual Thriving Awards dinner. The event was inspired by Dr. Desmonette Hazly and celebrates thriving individuals who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence and have gone on to build incredible meaningful lives. The YWCA, as part of the evening’s celebration, hosted the first We Step Into the Light art exhibition.  Dr. Hazly volunteered with the YWCA’s Compton Rape Crisis Center when she began her social work career over 16 years ago and felt it was befitting to have the agency host the first art exhibition. A staggering one third of all women globally have been raped or abused in their lifetimes. Many women suffer in silence and do not have the opportunity to rebuild their lives after the trauma. WE STEP INTO THE LIGHT looks to use the power of Art, to shed light on the issue and gives hope by highlighting the lives and beauty of thriving survivors.

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