Statistics published by the Bureau of Justice indicate that the number of incarcerated women has been increasing. The specific reasons for this increase are the subject of several studies. However, it is clear that a high percentage of incarcerated women have experienced some form of abuse in their lives, whether emotional, physical or sexual. Their criminal behavior mistakenly seemed to be a way out of their circumstances.
As a national outreach, Dismas Ministry has encountered women inmates whose suffering was so great before going to prison that they regard their cell as a place of refuge.
As a result of their abuse, these women still live with the effects of their trauma as they serve their sentences. Some also are mothers separated from their children, others have experienced the loss of their child, or have children who also are incarcerated. Many women behind bars may have a poor self-image and feelings of worthlessness. The “I Am Beautiful” project is an attempt to support their inner beauty as they find their way back to self-esteem and recovery.
This special project invited incarcerated women to share their art, poems, stories and reflections, which are published in a book entitled “I Am Beautiful.” Their contributions make this book a work of their very own, and allows those who contribute to help other women in prisons across the country who also struggle with self-esteem and the trauma of abuse.
Additional art and writings from incarcerated women also continue to be shared in a periodic newsletter published by Dismas Ministry called, “You are Beautiful.”
Dismas Ministry is pleased to announce its publication of the book “I Am Beautiful” Volume 2. This book has taken over a year to create, and is the result of the “I Am Beautiful” Project which has collected the writings and art shared by women in prisons across the United States who responded to our open invitation to contribute.
The book speaks of the courage and survival of these women over the abuse they endured in their lives. It provides them with a unique opportunity to share with many other women who might benefit from what they have expressed. Free copies were sent to 73 women’s prisons across the United States. We hope that each woman who reads this book will come to value her own inner beauty–both in her own eyes and in the eyes of her Creator.
It has been our privilege to facilitate this project which is supported by a grant from a Catholic woman who is deeply committed to uplifting the lives of other women.
Dismas Ministry is pleased to announce its publication of the book “I Am Beautiful” Volume 3 – A Survival Resource, Created by and for Women Survivors of Abuse. With Gratitude – We are very grateful to all the women in prisons across the country who opened their hearts and shared their experiences of sadness and joy through their writing and art. Their willingness to share is truly courageous, given all that they have survived. This book represents their gift to the many other women across the country who are traveling with them on the unfolding journey of life.
Dismas Ministry is pleased to announce its publication of the book “I Am Beautiful” Volume 4 – A Survival Resource, Created by and for Women Survivors of Abuse. “Life is a journey and spiritual unfolding is its purpose.”
The 5th installment of “I Am Beautiful” – A Survival Resource, Created by and for Women Survivors of Abuse is now available.
I AM BEAUTIFUL – VOLUME 6
You are beautiful…First of all, we want to honor the women in prison who sent us their art and writings for Volume 6 of I Am Beautiful. We also admire, uphold and honor everyone who has felt the effects of abuse. Although we could publish all that you sent to us due to the book’s size, we are grateful to each one who shared from their hearts, and from their own, unforgettable experiences.
Every year we are moved by your strength, your courage and your survival. You have gone through so much emotionally, mentally and physically. We honor you as survivors! Thank you for sharing your experiences with the other women in prisons across the country. We hope that each one of you who reads this book will find encouragement and strength, and regard yourselves with the dignity and beauty that is yours.
Whatever your Higher Power, thank you to those of who shared your spiritual belief that this Power was within you during your struggles, calling you to light and freedom. We honor all of you for your courage, honesty and strength. You are examples for all of us – women and men alike because every human being deserves dignity and respect, and happiness.
Never forget, you are beautiful inside and out! With admiration and respect, The Dismas Team