Mutual Ground reaches out to victims of domestic violence

By MARTHA QUETSCH - editorial@kcchronicle.com Published: Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 5:30 a.m. CDT
Alison Bettisworth (left) and Mary Ann Gee, both of Sugar Grove, browse art on display during the Mutual Ground Survivors’ Art Show at Mixology Salon in St. Charles on Aug. 11. — Sandy Bressner - sbressner@shawmedia.com

ST. CHARLES – Mutual Ground wants people to know that although the agency is based in Aurora, it welcomes victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse from the Tri-Cities and elsewhere who need help.

Survivors for whom Mutual Ground has provided a safe haven have produced therapeutic art at the agency. Pieces were on display for a fundraiser and awareness event called the “Survivors’ Art Show” on Aug. 11 at Mixology Salon in St. Charles.

Throughout the salon, works of art and poetry were displayed for visitors and contributors to view, and – hopefully – appreciate.

Mutual Ground, a shelter and therapeutic facility, views victims as survivors.

“Some people can better express themselves through art and get through tragedy,” Mutual Ground Executive Director Michelle Meyer said.

Art works that survivors produced at Mutual Ground are silent witnesses of what the victims have gone through, Meyer said.

Meyer said the survivors, during art therapy, are using their voices.

Those voices, Meyer hopes, will let other victims know that Mutual Ground is out here to help.

Meyer noted Mutual Ground has a Batavia office to serve the Tri-Cities – Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles.

Although the Tri-Cities are more moneyed communities than Aurora, Mutual Ground acknowledges that its services are just as necessary in those communities. Victims who feel hesitant to come forward and ask for help, should, Meyer said.

“This is not just a fundraiser,” said Kathy Melone of Mutual Ground.

“It’s an awareness event. We want you to know that if you are a victim of sexual or domestic abuse, we are here to help you, free of charge.”

If people are victims, then they should not have to pay for help, Melone added.

“We want to help you get to the other side,” Melone said. “We survive by finding that which inside ourselves no one can destroy.”

Mutual Ground relies on government funding and private donations. For information, call 630-897-3536.

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This poem by an anonymous victim who did art/writing therapy at Mutual Ground was displayed during the Survivors’ Art Show.

“Reclamation”

Tonight

I claim my feet

cracked, lined

parched, and brown,

ancient roots visible,

mine

yet unclaimed, until tonight,

My feet, my earth have weathered time

survived

cracked, lined, parched, and brown

they survive tonight

I claim my feet, ancient roots.