This exhibition WOUNDED BOYS - COURAGEOUS MEN is dedicated to the survivors of institutionalized child abuse.
Over one thousand former wards from two Catholic operated reform institutions for boys have come forward with stories of horrendous abuse. The abuses suffered by these children were at the hands of the Christian Brothers and other adults in position of authority entrusted in their care. Over thirty Brothers, former Brothers and lay staff have been charged and convicted with more than two hundred crimes. These crimes included physical, sexual, emotional, cultural and spiritual rape. This is the largest sexual abuse case known in Canadian history. Charges continue to be laid.
The students were from different cultural economic backgrounds. They were sent to the schools for a variety of reasons: delinquency, incorrigibility, abandonment, poverty and for protection from abusive homes.
This exhibition WOUNDED BOYS - COURAGEOUS MEN is a random sampling of the stories of these men. I had the privilege of meeting, interviewing and photographing each of these men and their families. As I shared the pain of my child sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy the climate of safety was created and their sharing stretched my levels of courage to its limits. The barriers between men and women dissolved as we moved past our fear and I found strength to listen to over forty men.
I have images of men next to the photographs of the little boys they once were. Some men have no photographs of themselves as children. The absence of this image speaks louder to me . . . . a childhood lost. Once they were all vulnerable children.