Esther Veerman: ‘I would like to help the compassionate with art’ | Compass slide right

SLIEDRIGHT Esther Veerman’s (53) life is marked by sexual violence and grief. After many years of therapy, she has converted her past to share her experiences through art. May 19 the book ‘Strength from Violence. Trauma in pictures of compassion, combined with an exhibition at the library, “I can never fully recover from this trauma, but I can try to help other compassionate.”

by Marjanne Dijkstra

“I come from a ‘just’, church family. From the outside, nothing seemed wrong with us, but inside it was different. My childhood was marked by sexual violence in the family. In my youth, the world around me was empty. I was not allowed to meet other children, so I did not see what it was like in other families. When I was eighteen, I went to Theology in Struggle, and I did my best to make everything seem ‘normal’. When I started living alone, the world around me was white and empty, but of course I discovered more and more. I tried to live my life and forget the trauma. During that period I met my husband Alexander, he is my first and only love. I have been so lucky to have him and that he has always stayed with me no matter how hard it was. I used to tell him bits and pieces, but it was too abstract and too big for him to keep asking. One of my friends also noticed that something was wrong, one moment I was happy and the next moment very gloomy. During my pregnancy with our son, I felt very good. I was allowed to carry a baby and it was so special. It was only at the birth of our son that everything came out for the first time. Birth gave so many memories of past traumas that I could not keep it all to myself. After a few months, I was hospitalized with my baby. That’s how the trauma rolled out. It was still very difficult for me to talk about it, but it helped me draw and paint. After that admission, things went better, but I really had not found the right help yet. I then tried for a long time to pretend there was nothing wrong. I even worked as a priest for a while and put away all the grief and trauma I just wanted to live. ”

SOCIAL PROBLEMS ,, After the first recording, I wrote something, but I also became physically ill. I fainted sometimes, had relapses, my eyes and lungs began to hurt: my body also indicated that there were bad memories. In 2011, I was allowed to participate in an exhibition in New York about sexual violence and domestic violence. It was so special that I wanted to do it in Holland too. I have now had thirty exhibitions with the Art Out of Violence Foundation, and the thirty-one is at the library in Sliedrecht. I wanted to put together the ten years of exhibitions in one book. Fifteen artists have written something about their experiences, and this is enhanced by images of their work in the book. With the book, I want to encourage compassion, but also draw attention to the care in the Netherlands. There is often still too much to do. Sexual violence and domestic violence are still too little seen as a social problem and this really needs to change. It’s hard for spectators to intervene, and you really do not have to call Safe at Home right away, but asking if everything is going well can sometimes help or give you a better idea of ​​what’s hiding behind doors. . “

I have to accept that I was unlucky to be born into a family where I could not get the love I longed for.

MOTHER LOVE “I’m fine now. I have only had good therapy for the last ten years, after many years of searching for it. I always thought I was crazy, completely crazy. With proper trauma therapy, I learned that was not the case. I’m not crazy, but an external injury has touched my psyche and my body is reacting to it again. I have asked for a second opinion before during an admission. I had to get better. I could not give up, I have a child, a family. My family has always been my driving force to keep going, no matter how dark it was. It’s really unfortunate that my body has also been harmed by everything, but I have to learn to deal with it. The beginning of my therapy was difficult. but the end was the most difficult. I know I can not fully recover and it is also a grieving process. I have to accept that I was unlucky to be born into a family where I could not get the love I longed for. I learned from a therapist that I can give myself the maternal love I have longed for. Can I be a good mother through my experiences? There have been times when Alexander had to take care of everything and I could not be there for my son. I am sorry. He has seen and experienced more than he should. But our son grew up to be a nice young man with a good job and a good relationship. He just thanked me for being his mother. Then I did well. ”

The book ‘Strength from violence. Trauma in the picture of the compassionate will be presented on Thursday, May 19 from 6 p.m. 14.00 in Voorhof on Middeldiepstraat 6 in Sliedrecht. Lectures will be given by Esther Veerman (artist and experiential expert), Ineke Boerefijn (College for Human Rights) and Andrea Walraven-Thissen (International expert in psychosocial assistance). Dieke de Jong provides the music. From 16.45 there is a walk to the AanZet Library where the associated exhibition can be seen. You can sign up for the afternoon program via The exhibition is free to visit during the library’s opening hours.

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