My Piece of Sky: Stories of Child Sexual Abuse

PhotographerMariella Furrer
Prize2nd Place in Book / Self Published
City/CountryNairobi, Kenya
Photo DateMay 2014
Technical InfoSelf published book
Story

When I was 5yrs old, I was sexually abused by a stranger. I don’t think at that age I really understood what it was that had happened to me, but somehow I knew it was wrong, and I felt I was to blame. My Piece of Sky is a personal journey, that has since led me to explore the world of child sexual abuse with a camera and a sound recorder. After 10 years of working on the project and another two years of crowd-funding, editing, designing and printing, the book was finally released in 2014. MPS is two books in one, a sort of encyclopedia of child sexual abuse – 676 pages long. The first section is the photo book and the second presents interviews, artwork, journals and poetry (and some photos). Together this MPS delivers an multi-sensory examination of child sexual abuse: how it impacts on the survivors and their families, the effect on child services professionals, police, prosecutors, & the community at large, and an insight into the perpetrators. Many times I have wanted to lock these photos up and walk away from them, pretend I had never seen them. Only a sense of obligation to those who allowed me into their lives at such a dark and desperate time, so that it DOES NOT happen again, has prevented me from doing so. MPS is testimony to the young children who have survived the experience of rape, and those who have lost their lives to it.

Entry Description

A schoolmate of 7yr old Sheldean, who was sexually abused & murdered, cries at her memorial service/ A young girl attempts to flee the examining room after being sexually abused by a 9-year-old relative/ Nomsa, a 2yr old girl who was sodomised, on the operating table after surgery. The scar is a daily reminder of what she endured/ Fargu, a police Search & Rescue Dog searches a river for 7yr old Kamogelo, last seen with an unknown man along a nearby highway. She was never found/ A suspect is arrested for molesting young girls in a children's home.

Story

When I was 5yrs old, I was sexually abused by a stranger. I don’t think at that age I really understood what it was that had happened to me, but somehow I knew it was wrong, and I felt I was to blame. My Piece of Sky is a personal journey, that has since led me to explore the world of child sexual abuse with a camera and a sound recorder. After 10 years of working on the project and another two years of crowd-funding, editing, designing and printing, the book was finally released in 2014. MPS is two books in one, a sort of encyclopedia of child sexual abuse – 676 pages long. The first section is the photo book and the second presents interviews, artwork, journals and poetry (and some photos). Together this MPS delivers an multi-sensory examination of child sexual abuse: how it impacts on the survivors and their families, the effect on child services professionals, police, prosecutors, & the community at large, and an insight into the perpetrators. Many times I have wanted to lock these photos up and walk away from them, pretend I had never seen them. Only a sense of obligation to those who allowed me into their lives at such a dark and desperate time, so that it DOES NOT happen again, has prevented me from doing so. MPS is testimony to the young children who have survived the experience of rape, and those who have lost their lives to it.