Split Leaf is a collection of images that express what it was like to be raped. It requires some work on the viewer’s part, as some of the images need little explanation but others are less literal and may need help from accompanying text.
Rape is not a kinky sexual adventure. It is, rather, a profoundly disturbing event whose consequences can be felt throughout one’s lifetime. In giving visual definition to these emotions, Split Leaf aims to help bridge the gap between rape myths and rape’s reality.
To view the film:
Yes, I was raped in the spring of 1973. I did not report it as I believed that what had happened could not be called “rape” because I had known the man. Even though I was threatened with knives, I told no one about what had happened, save one friend, who didn’t understand my terror. She comforted me but offered no tangible explanation. Though I was radically changed in my feelings towards men from then on, I never discussed it with anyone else till many years later, when I began to understand that that event did indeed have a name.
Five years after I was raped, as a senior in art school, I made Split Leaf (first called Tricked, and then MythBreaker I). Conceived originally as an animated film, I made approximately 600 stills (images) on index cards. The cards were organized into series of varying lengths. With paint and oil pastels and motor oil transfers and other materials, I vented the anger and rage and despair that I never believed I deserved to own.
My intention with Split Leaf is twofold: to educate the public about rape and to alleviate the confusion and pain for those who have experienced rape themselves. If Split Leaf can be a healing and an educational agent - as it has in the past - I will be grateful.