Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Fine Arts

First Advisor

Sonali Gulati, Associate Professor of Photography and Film

Second Advisor

Mary Beth Reed, Associate Professor of Photography and Film

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Canfield, Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies


My thesis explores the act of violation in the context of trauma and healing through the use of personal narratives and experimental film. My research allows personal storytelling to transform into a larger and more universal theme of generational trauma and dysfunction. Through a feminist lens, I challenge social norms of body autonomy for the sick and abused, capitalism’s social effects on the poor, and passed down maternal lessons from the women who are doing the best that they can with the lives and opportunities that they have been given.

This work is created in spite of the labels my mother, the women before her, and I may hold. It is an act of resistance to who and what is allowed to be seen or heard. It is my confession, but it is not my confession alone.


© Desiree Dawn Kapler

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission