My Story - Founder Joanne Ewald
One in four girls will experience child sexual abuse. These broken, abused children, if not given the opportunity to heal, grow into broken adults who are vulnerable to many of society’s injustices. This is the common story of the women we serve through Mend on the Move.
It is also my story and why I was inspired to start Mend on the Move. I, too, am a survivor of child sexual abuse. But I was one of the fortunate ones. My abuse did not lead to trafficking, addiction, homelessness or domestic abuse. I have been able to heal.
My heart aches for those women who are still trying to find their way. Through Mend on the Move, I hope to help break the silence of abuse and trafficking, empower survivors, and be their voice until they become strong enough to find their own.
Interview with Hour Detroit -
Beginning at age 4, Ewald was sexually assaulted by a family member. This abuse continued for nine years. While she says she was always drawn to the creative process, it wasn’t until later in life that she realized art could help her discover herself. She took classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, and by 2007, at age 45, she was designing jewelry and selling her pieces to local art fairs and galleries. She began donating some of her proceeds to nonprofits that work with children and the homeless, and eventually, helping others offered more gratification than making the jewelry itself. By 2015, Mend on the Move launched with a fundraising event, during which Ewald publicly shared her story for the first time. “I had a lot of difficulties growing up and made a lot of poor decisions because of it. I didn’t become an addict, but I had issues that I didn’t deal with until I was an adult,” she says. “You can’t heal unless you start talking about it.”
“I can’t think of anything that’s more important,” she says. “How to use what has happened to me, something so ugly, and turn it into something so beautiful that can lift other women — that’s the ultimate goal.”