Colleen D. Gjefle

Smyrna, United States

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

This is part of the series of paintings I did while coming to terms with childhood sexual abuse.

Betrayal is the core of the legacy of childhood sexual abuse. My abuse was perpetrated by my grandfather at his house while he was supposed to be watching me after school until my parents could pick me up. The feelings I felt at the time were horrible and unspeakable, and now as an adult, I know them to be an ugly confusion of fear, helplessness, repulsion, guilt, and a myriad of other emotions. Perhaps the most atrocious aspect of the abuse comes down to a horrible betrayal – of my childhood, my innocence, the trust my parents put in him, and the fact that he was supposed to be protecting me, instead of injuring me. Thus BETRAYAL shows a granite stone that represents my core self – eternal and strong but which has become hard and petrified. The heart has been cut out of it, though it still feels since it is bleeding. There are lovely green trees in the background, reaching up like spires towards heaven. But the one on the end has caught fire – will the others follow? Those trees represent my relationships with other people, always going up in flames because I can no longer trust.

If interested, you can see the entire abuse series at

Featured in:
Light in the Darkness – Feb. 2009

Artwork Comments

  • DVEN
  • helene ruiz
  • Bernadette Burke
  • Ashley Hanna
  • sonjas
  • AmySplash
  • cyclops
  • Kaz Rhoads
  • Colleen D. Gjefle
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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