The scribbles on the Mother’s Day card depict a monster, gaping mouth and dark eyes, towering over his victims.
Another picture, drawn by the same 4-year-old artist, is a testament to the abuse the girl survived. It’s a drawing of her father’s genitalia - the man she calls the monster.
A collage of drawings depicts this young girl’s journey from abuse to recovery. It’s part of a display at the Post Falls Art Commission titled “Art from the Heart and Other Places.”
Victims of sexual and domestic abuse created the drawings, poetry and paintings that hang in the cozy house at 419 Frederick St. in Post Falls. The art show is sponsored by the Post Falls City Art Commission and the Post Falls OASIS program.
“It’s real therapeutic for them,” said Sue Smith, a victims’ advocate who helped organize the event. “Some people can draw and write a poem better than they can talk about the abuse.”
From scenes of despair and triumph to photos of bruised bodies and bloodsplattered floors, 11 people turned their stories into art.
“Sometimes I’d have a hard time expressing what I was feeling,” said Charlotte Weaver, her drawings hanging on a wall behind her. “It’s actually a way of trying to make some sense of it all.”
In September 1992, Weaver’s husband held her and a friend hostage after she left him. A Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy shot Robert Weaver in the head to prevent the man from killing anyone.
In one of her drawings the words “shame,” “jealousy,” and “guilt” are heaped into one fire. Nearby a house is erected with the words “strength,” “determination,” “love,” and “courage.”
Elaine Pedersen created the collage of her young daughter’s work starting in 1993. Both were physically and sexually abused by Pedersen’s husband of four years.
“She had terrible nightmares. She’d just wake up screaming and crying,” Pedersen said, explaining how the abuse traumatized her daughter. “It’s been two years and she’s recovering. She’s just a normal kid now most of the time.”
Pedersen collected her daughter’s work over those two years since she left her husband.
Dark colors and sad faces dominate the drawings on one end of the girl’s display. But there is no monster at the other end, only happy faces and bright colors.
Pedersen said she hopes the art work will send a message to both the public and other victims of abuse.
“There’s nothing worth living that way,” she said. “I want people to know it can get better.”
The art work will remain at the Post Falls Arts Commission through February. The commission building is open free to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.