The Other Side of the Rainbow provides an interactive forum that documents the experiences of contemporary women and men. This growing archive, that can be viewed and read by the public, presents the lives of individuals in their own words, on their own terms. This provides a context for experience that does not alter its expression or shape to fit prescribed meaning: it simply reveals. More than a gathering of separate testimonials, it is an expanding collective memory of our ongoing lives. The stories are written on yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green and white index cards placed in clear plastic boxes. Providing visible evidence that documents and makes real the first person stories behind the statistics.

The topic is sexual abuse: which includes verbal and physical harassment and rape, covering the spectrum from being treated in a condescending manner to physical violation. This project reaches out to include people from, diverse racial, class and cultural backgrounds., living and working in universities, prisons, homes, streets, institutions et al. During the solicitation of testimonies on-site presentations, participants select and write on the color coded index card that relates to the age they were at the time they were sexually abused.

Hope Sandrow with Robin Tewes

The Other Side of the Rainbow: Sexual Abuse

Color Cards, Boxes  1992  size variable

The public has access to the archives when the project is presented or in art exhibitions., where one can sit, write and read the collected testimonies. Newspaper clippings relevant to the topic of sexual abuse accompany the archive. Eventually we hope the testimonies will be published in order to reach a larger audience, as an effort to raise public awareness.

Vivid and poetic, spontaneously written as if these words were on the tips of the writers tongues during the art exhibitions (Note 1): “The Subject of Rape” Whitney Museum of Art (1993), “On the Way Home” Henry Street Settlement (1993); Sawtooth Center for the Arts North Carolina (1993), Warren Street Gallery (1992); WAC Art at the Anchorage Creative Time (1992). And Artist &n Homeless Collaborative participants at the Park Avenue Shelter for Women (1992). This made us realize the cathartic need for releasing these memories, since most of us, in keeping silent, have suffered alone.

Hope Sandrow and Robin Tewes, 1993

Note 1: 420 histories of sexual abuse documented: 101 yellow; 23 orange; 85 red; 11purple; 33 green; 151 blue. 16 whiteThe Subject of Rape Whitney Museum Independent Study exhibition curated by Monica Chau, Hannah J.L. Feldman, Jennifer Kabat, and Hannah Kruse  June 23-August 29, 1993 Collection Whitney Museum of Art Publication Archives; On the Way Home Artist & Homeless Collaborative Henry Street Settlement curated by Hope Sandrow Feb 26 - April 4, 1993; WAC Art at the Anchorage Creative Time curated by Anne Pasternak Summer 1992

ABOUT (2020) Robin Tewes: I'm interested in how much a single narrative moment can tell us about more.

copyright © 2021 Hope Sandrow all rights reserved


Update September 2020: According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in four girls and one in 13 boys experience sexual abuse sometime in childhood - a minority of those abuses are committed by other children.  91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone, overwhelmingly men -  the child or child’s family knows. Acquaintances or family friends, or family members. Not strangers or traffickers (or national Democratic politicians alleged by QAnon supporters ).

“Another outcome commonly associated with child sexual abuse is an increased risk of re-victimization throughout a person’s life. For example, recent studies have found: Females exposed to child sexual abuse are at a 2-13 times increased risk of sexual victimization in adulthood; Individuals who experienced child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence; The odds of attempting suicide are six times higher for men and nine times higher for women with a history of child sexual abuse than those without a history of child sexual abuse.”