Jen Kiaba's Profile

About

So you're interested in hearing a little bit more about me?
Well grab yourself a cuppa and let's chat:

I was born into the Unification Church, which achieved notoriety in the 1970's and 80's during the height of the cult hysteria in the United States.

I'm the eldest of five children who are considered "Second Generation," and were believed to be born without original sin.

Many parents believed that this meant we were going to be sinless, perfect children.

No pressure.

I left the organization in my very early twenties after fighting for several years to leave an arranged marriage.

For many years afterwards I did not share my background out of shame and fear of…

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  • Female
  • Born on October 30
  • Joined February 1, 2009

Favorite materials

Camera, Film, Ink, Paper and Wonder

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Jenkiabaphotography
Dark Surreal Fine Art Photography

About

So you're interested in hearing a little bit more about me?
Well grab yourself a cuppa and let's chat:

I was born into the Unification Church, which achieved notoriety in the 1970's and 80's during the height of the cult hysteria in the United States.

I'm the eldest of five children who are considered "Second Generation," and were believed to be born without original sin.

Many parents believed that this meant we were going to be sinless, perfect children.

No pressure.

I left the organization in my very early twenties after fighting for several years to leave an arranged marriage.

For many years afterwards I did not share my background out of shame and fear of judgement.

Slowly and selectively I began to trust the "outside world," which I had always been taught to fear.

In safe, supportive spaces and relationships I began to share my story.

It was through this process that I learned we need to share our stories.
There is an inherent healing process that takes place when we acknowledge our history; we move out of shame and into a space of resilience and healing.

I believe that when we share our stories, it gives others permission and a safe space to share their own.

Sometimes in our sharing, others find the words they needed in order to begin articulating their stories and begin their own course of healing.

So in 2012, when Rev. Moon passed, I published my first personal essay on The Hairpin that detailed some of my experience growing up in the church and my ultimate decision to leave.

From there I began working on fine art images that expressed my personal experience in leaving a repressive religious environment and embarking on my own healing path.

Then I began to reach out to others with similar stories.

I also began mentoring others with similar backgrounds through a program with Unchained at Last, which assists women financially, legally and emotionally while they are leaving forced arranged marriages. To learn more about their services, check out their website here: http://www.unchainedatlast.org/

Today my mission remains rooted in sharing my stories as a means of healing and for others to discover their own inner authentic voice, and permission to use it. My artwork, my writing and my mentoring all focus on helping others tell their stories and heal through their own creative practices.

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