Upcoming Events

Silent Tears: Disability, Violence and Resilience of Women Survivors Globally

April 24, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – May 16, 2018 @ 8:00 pm
Union Theological Seminary, James Chapel
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Benjamin Perry

“Without stories there is silence. Without our stories told, we are voiceless. Without our stories heard, we are invisible. It is even harder when the stories are hard to hear and impossible to imagine.”
– Belinda Mason, photographer

Silent Tears is a multi-media exhibition by internationally renowned photographer Belinda Mason, and emerging artists with disability, Dieter Knierim, Margherita Coppolino and Denise Beckwith. The exhibition will run from April 24 through May 16, 2018, in two locations at Union Theological Seminary. Visit the Knox Cloister from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday through Friday, and James Chapel from 9 to 11 am and 2 to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Groups may also book Saturday times by appointment, tmessenger@uts.columbia.edu.

Attend the April 24 “Silent Tears” Opening Reception
from 6-8PM Click to RSVP – Click to RSVP

Opening Reception and Panel
6:oo pm – Reception and exhibition viewing
6:30 pm – Panel presentation
8:30 pm – Exhibition viewing continues 

Belinda Mason
 – Director of Blur Projects and creator of Silent Tears
Rebecca McGinnis – Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Elizabeth Lockwood, Ph.D. – CBM Representative to the United Nations
Jules Perkel – LCSW, Program Director, Domestic Violence Counselor for The Secret Garden at Barrier Free Living
Naila Amin and Barrier Free participant (name to be confirmed)

ASL Interpretation will be available for the opening reception and panel discussion. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

About Silent Tears
Silent Tears fall at the moment when we feel the most alone, vulnerable and lost. They signal a turning point to look for hope, unity, and strength. The power of this exhibition lies within the stories shared by the participants who are women with disability who have been subjected to violence and women who have acquired their disability caused by violence.

Silent Tears includes the stories of 25 women with disability who come from five continents and 20 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, Germany, Mali, Pakistan, Samoa, USA, South Africa, West Africa, India, Korea, England, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.

Silent Tears is representative of violence against women globally and ensures that the lived-experiences and voices of women with disability who experience violence are included in conversations relating to violence perpetrated against all women. In doing so, Silent Tears adheres to the United Nations (UN) definition of violence against women, as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life (UN, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 1993, p.1)

Narratives are an important part of commencing the healing process and are a major component of policies designed to increase the prevention of violence against women and girls with disability. Silent Tears provides a platform to share the women’s narratives to empower and strengthen. This validates their experiences and enables them to reach out to the wider community in order to shift perceptions and raise awareness of the issue of violence against women with disability. The participants of Silent Tears are illustrative of the broadness of what constitutes a disability, the broadness of what constitutes violence as their experiences demonstrate the intersections of culture, gender, and identity.

The participants have collaborated as protagonists with the three artists, creating works based on the stories of women with a disability whose experiences include: psychological, physical, emotional, economic, and cultural violence. They have shared their stories that include: domestic violence, forced sterilization, psychological trauma, female genital mutilation, and neglect and sexual abuse within institutions or by family members. Audiences can expect to experience a deeper understanding of the diversity of violence, discrimination, and survival.

Silent Tears presents an opportunity for women with disability to voice their experience of violence in an unquestioned way. This unquestioning approach is unique, as often, the onus is on victims to provide evidence of their experience in order to obtain the various forms of support, which can be a barrier to actually obtaining support.

The Silent Tears exhibition will also feature an Accessibility App that includes audio descriptions, American Sign Language (ASL) and Auslan descriptions of select stories. For more information about the Accessibility App, please visit: Click Here

Trigger Warning

Silent Tears contains images and stories that include depictions and some graphic accounts of violence against women.