The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Notable Anti-VAW Activists and Organisations You Should Follow on Twitter

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Since it was launched almost a decade ago, Twitter has quickly become a reliable news source for many individuals. Twitter offers a real-time view and perspective of what is occurring both elsewhere and within our own communities, enabling us to become more aware of social issues such as violence against women (VAW). Information is very often a weapon of power, a tool to help us better our world through understanding. In this way, we are also creating an atmosphere of solidarity worldwide, which is something to take notice of.

For many, Twitter is the social media platform through which resources are found, knowledge obtained, and discussions begun. Furthermore, organisations have taken notice and also use this new form of media to gain better outreach worldwide. Online volunteer charities and groups, such as The Pixel Project itself, are becoming a major force in this modern age of activism.

Being able to research and connect through a hashtag – #vaw for example – in order to find news sources, helplines, or other activists is a simple yet incredibly useful way to become involved. With that in mind, The Pixel Project presents our 2016 Twitter selection. We narrowed down the many incredible organisations and individuals involved in the cause to end violence against women to the 16 listed below. These are groups and people who will keep you informed simply because they share the passion to create a better tomorrow for girls and women everywhere.

Written and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

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Twitter Follow Recommendation #1: End Online Misogyny (@misogyny_online) – Worldwide

end-online-misogynyEnd Online Misogyny exposes misogynistic abuse women often face for speaking out online. This Twitter account retweets examples of misogynistic abuse, reports abusers to Twitter or to the police, and accepts anonymous submissions from readers regarding their experiences with online abuse. They also share news and articles about digital safety and abuse. Followers of the End Online Misogyny Twitter account can support the cause by reporting abusers, or stand in solidarity with women who have faced abuse through their #ShoutBack campaign.

Twitter Follow Recommendation #2: End Rape on Campus (@endrapeoncampus) – United States

endrapeoncampus

Through direct support of survivors, education, and policy reform, End Rape on Campus (EROC) works to end campus sexual assault in the United States. The EROC Twitter account is a resource for those passionate about the cause, as they share news and current events and programme updates.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #3: Equal Community Foundation (@ECFIndia) – India

equal-community-foundationECF India provides men in India with the opportunity to practice gender equality and end VAW, and to become leaders in their communities. Focusing on 14-to 17-year-old boys in low-income areas, ECF India graduated over 1600 young men as of May 2015. The ECF India Twitter page keeps followers up-to-date on its successes by sharing photos and updates of member training and other programmes.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #4: Erin Gibson (@gibblertron) – United States

eringibsonErin Gibson is a comedian, feminist and a co-host of the podcast Throwing Shade. Every week, Erin researches and uses satire to comment on political issues, current events and pieces of popular culture impacting women in the United States and around the world including VAW. Erin is also a writer and producer, and tours regularly.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #5: FAIR Girls (@FAIR_Girls) – United States

fairgirlsFAIR Girls prevents the exploitation of girls around the world through empowerment, education, compassionate care and survivor inclusive advocacy. The FAIR Girls Twitter account shares stories from survivors, programme accomplishments, including rescuing and reuniting girls with their families, and global human trafficking and exploitation news..

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #6: Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) – India

feminisminindiaFeminism in India is a digital platform used to educate youth in India about feminism. The website includes breaking feminist news, books, campaigns, videos, survivor stories and more. The Feminism in India Twitter account not only shares updates from the website, but a collection of news and media promoting gender equality and expressing its necessity.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 7: FEMNET – (@FemnetProg) – Kenya

femnetFEMNET is a pan-African feminist organisation that has been committed to advancing women’s rights for over 28 years. Since its foundation in 1988, FEMNET has played a leading role in amplifying the voices of African women and ensuring they are heard when national, regional and global decisions are being made. The organisation also spearheads many Twitter campaigns to draw attention to women’s rights issues, including #BringBackOurGirls and #FollowTheProtocol.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #8: Free Women Writers – (@FreeWomenWriter)  – Afghanistan

freewomenwritersFounded by writer and human rights advocate Noorjahan Akbar, Free Women Writer is a blog that publishes women’s writing and focuses on gender equality in Afghanistan. With a firm belief that the protection of women’s rights is essential for progress, Free Women Writers hopes to challenge the misrepresentation of women by sharing authentic Afghan voices.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 9: Jane Doe Inc. – (@JaneDoe) – United States

janedoeincJane Doe Inc., a coalition of 60 groups in Massachusetts, USA working to promote the safety, liberty and dignity for victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, is a useful resource for women’s rights advocates. The Jane Doe Inc. Twitter account has become a thought leader in discussions about gender equality, sharing news and live-tweeting relevant events for those unable to attend.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #10: Maiti Nepal (@MaitiNepal) –  Nepal

maitinepalMaiti Nepal protects, rescues and rehabilitates survivors of trafficking. Maiti Nepal also offers awareness and advocacy, transit homes, legal resources, training and job placements and more. The Maiti Nepal Twitter page shares photos of programme accomplishments and successes, advocacy updates, and educational resources.

 

Twitter Follower Recommendation #11: The GBV Prevention Network (@GBVnet) – Africa

the-gbv-prevention-networkThe GBV Prevention Network is committed to ending gender based violence in the Horn, East and Southern Africa, focusing on understanding violence against women, building connections and taking actions. The organisation, with over 500 members, maintains extensive resources on addressing VAW, provides tools to analyse and understand oppression, and hosts Thematic Action Groups for members to take specific action around a particular issue related to violence against women.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #12: The International Women’s Health Coalition (@IntlWomen) –  International

the-internationalwomenshealthcoalition

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWCH) works to advance the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls around the world, including Africa, Asian, Latin America and the Middle East. The IWCH’s Twitter account shares updates about reproductive rights and health from different organisations around the world, including photos, videos and news stories.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation 13: The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (@NAWOorg) – United Kingdom

the-national-alliance-of-womens-organizationsThe National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) works nationally and internationally to promote women’s rights and equality within society. The NAWO Twitter page is a hub for women’s rights activists passionate about a variety of issues facing women around the world, including the gender pay gap, access to clean water, education, VAW and more.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #14: The Panzi Hospital and Foundation (@PanziUSA) – Democratic Republic of Congo

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The Panzi Hospital, founded by 2014 Sakharov Prize Winner and gynaecological surgeon Denis Mukwege has a renowned reputation for its service to survivors of sexual violence and complex gynaecological injuries. The Hospital provides a holistic model of care, including physical and emotional support and community reintegration.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #15: WESNET Australia (@WESNETAustralia) –  Australia

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The Women’s Services Network (WESNET) is Australia’s national advocacy body working against domestic and family violence. WESNET offers educational resources, e-safety workshops and news about domestic violence in Australia. The WESNET Twitter account acts as a hub for international feminists looking for news and updates on politics issues.

 

Twitter Follow Recommendation #16: YWCA Game Changers (@YWCAGameChanger) – United States

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GameChangers teaches middle school boys about preventing violence against women and girls through a mentoring and workshop structure. In this programme, young boys work with adult male volunteers to understand gender equality, masculinity and preventing VAW. The YWCA GameChangers Twitter account shares news, updates and statistics through various forms of multimedia and is a resource for similar organisations.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 films about Violence Against Women

Film-Reel-225x300 (1)This is the fifth year that The Pixel Project has published a list of powerful and thought-provoking films, documentaries and television shows that depict violence against women and girls. Some of these films were made for the sole purpose of information and education while others have entertainment as their primary goal while addressing important themes such as violence, rape culture, the conflict between tradition and societal evolution, and gender equity.

While pop culture has been slowly moving away from sexist and overly sexualised portrayals of women following a trend of more awareness of feminism, there are still those who are pushing back against the change, showing that there is still a long way to go before proper gender equality is achieved.

In this case, film can be an effective medium for disseminating the message that equality is beneficial to all, whether it be the individual, society or economy. The 16 films in this list tell harrowing stories of violence but are also portraits of survivors, supporters and fighters. We hope that they inspire you to join us in our quest to end violence against women and to be a catalyst for change in your own community.

Written and compiled by Anushia Kandasivam

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Selection number 1: A Crime Unpunished: Bangladeshi Gang Rape

In this short documentary, VICE News explores how a deeply ingrained patriarchal culture, traditional practices and religious beliefs come together to create a tacit acceptance by individuals, communities, local leaders and the police of violence against women and girls. In the film, VICE News correspondent Tania Rashid interviews survivors, the police, activists, and even rapists to bring understanding to the phenomenon of pervasive physical and sexual violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. 

Selection number 2: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

This film directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy documents the story of 18-year-old Pakistani Saba who refused to marry the man picked out for her by her parents. She married for love instead and survived a subsequent attempted honour killing by her father and uncle. Unusual in that it depicts the issue of honour killing from the perspective of a survivor, this documentary is a scathing and eye-opening examination of the traditions that influence the law when it comes to issues of gender-based violence, as well as a look at how societal pressure influences women to ‘forgive’ their assailants.

Selection number 3: Be Relentless

This bilingual (English and Spanish) documentary follows single mother of two and ultramarathoner Norma Bastidas as she sets the record for the longest triathlon ever, swimming, running and biking 6,054km from Cancun, Mexico to Washington DC, USA.  In this triathlon, Bastidas followed a known route of human traffickers to raise awareness about human trafficking, aid child protection projects and raise funds for scholarships for survivors in the USA and Mexico. Be Relentless is also the story of a survivor – as a 19-year-old, Bastidas was deceived into travelling to Japan for a modelling job that did not exist and ended up being sold at an auction. Years after escaping and now with a family of her own, Bastidas decided to use her athleticism for a cause close to her heart.

Be Relentless Trailer from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

Selection number 4: Gulabi Gang

This film follows Sampat Pal Devi, an extraordinary woman who leads the group of Indian women activists called the Gulabi Gang in her native state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The women wear pink saris (gulabi means pink in Hindi); the group was formed as a response to widespread domestic and other forms of violence against women. Sampat herself was married as a young girl and abused by her in-laws. After escaping her situation, she became an advocate for and supporter of women in the same situation, especially lower caste women who do not have a voice in society. Gulabi Gang highlights Sampat’s passion and strength as a leader, showing her unique way of resolving disputes and how she and her team work to empower women to fight against gender violence, caste oppression and corruption. The film sheds light on the plight of rural women who have little or no social power in a society where violence against women is pervasive.

Selection number 5: He Named Me Malala (2015)

This film about Malala Yousafzai, now 19, the young Pakistani peace activist and 2014 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, reveals the events leading up to her being shot by the Taliban. It depicts her recovery and continuing journey to speak out and work against opposition to the education of girls, especially opposition through violence. While it highlights the reasons behind Malala’s unwavering fight for gender equality, the film is also a portrait of a teenager who is both inspired and inspiring. The film shows her father playing an important role as supporter and a strong male advocate for her cause – he named her after a folk hero – but it also makes clear that Malala’s choices are her own.

Selection number 6: I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced (2014)

This Yemeni drama (Ana Noojoom Bent Alasherah Wamotalagah) tells the story of 10-year-old Nojoom whose father marries her to a 30-year-old man and who asks a judge in Sana’a to grant her a divorce. Based on the autobiography of Nujood Ali, now 18, who was forced into marriage with a much older man when she was nine years old and directed by Yemen’s first female producer Khadija al-Salami (herself a survivor of forced child marriage), this film depicts the struggles of the young protagonist to obtain a divorce in the absence of laws against child marriage. I am Nojoom has received positive reviews from international press and is one of the entries for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Selection number 7: Jessica Jones

One of several current television series that is based on comics, Jessica Jones stands out for having a female superhero (the eponymous Jones) and for effectively portraying trauma and its psychological effects. The series addresses issues of rape, abuse, coercion, consent and post traumatic stress disorder with realism, with the stories’ noir quality letting the viewer get a visceral feel of the damage that assault can do. The writers have consciously avoided fetishising rape, and the viewer does not see it on screen. While the series does see Jones trying to use her abilities to help others, it also sees her struggle to deal with the aftermath of a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship, a journey that any victim of abuse can identify with.

Selection number 8: Mad Max: Fury Road

This blockbuster has a lot of things going for it, not least the heart pounding action that is phenomenally choreographed and executed. The focal point of this film is its female protagonist who never wavers from her cause and is strong enough to both take care of business by herself and ask for help. With its rallying cry of “We are not things!”, the film sends a clear message that women are not and should not be treated as property. The basic plot of the film revolves around five women escaping sexual slavery aided by another woman, Furiosa. This film has generated a slew of articles and Internet discussions on feminism, rape culture in film – it is interesting to note that though rape is a strong underlying theme in this film, it is never shown – and gender equity in pop culture.

Selection number 9: The Uncondemned

“In every single conflict, if you start asking questions, you will find that sexual violence is used. Why? Because it is an extremely effective tool of conflict.” Though rape was classified as a war crime in 1919, it was only in 1997 when it was first prosecuted by two tribunals attempting to offer justice for war crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This documentary recounts the trial of a former Rwandan politician for his knowledge of the rapes and involvement in other war crimes through the stories of the Rwandan women who came forward to testify and the group of young lawyers and activists who fought to have the systematic and targeted rape perpetrated during the war prosecuted as a war crime by the tribunals.

Selection number 10: Murdered by My Boyfriend

This BBC3 film centres on a little-covered topic – teenage intimate violence. Closely based on real events, it follows bright 17-year-old student Ashley who meets and falls in love with charming and seductive Reece, a young man a little older than her. Ashley’s idealistic dreams of love, marriage, motherhood and her career are slowly torn down by Reece’s increasingly controlling and abusive behaviour, paranoia and violence. The title tells the viewer how it ends, but the BAFTA-winning film still conveys a sense of building tension and tragedy as it portrays the gradations of abuse, such as teasing becoming bullying and love becoming control and how difficult it is for outsiders to understand what goes on in such a relationship.

Selection number 11: Murdered by My Father

The online-only follow-up to 2014 film Murdered by my Boyfriend, this BBC3 docudrama follows the story of 16-year-old British girl Salma who is torn between her father’s conservative values – he wants her to marry the man chosen for her so that he can ‘die happy’ – and her Western life, which includes a secret relationship.  Based on true events, the film examines forced marriage and honour killings among Asian communities in Britain – issues that many are unaware exist in this developed nation. Its portrayal of traditional values in conflict with ‘modern’ living will hit a cord with many viewers.

Selection number 12: North Country

Inspired by real-life events that led to a class action sexual harassment law suit in the United States, this film chronicles the life of Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) as she returns to her hometown after escaping an abusive husband and starts work at the local mine in the late 1980s. The female employees at the mine endure a constant stream of sexual harassment, intimidation, abusive language and other forms of assault from the male employees while their employer turns a blind eye. Aimes files a lawsuit against the company and eventually persuades her co-workers to join in a class-action suit. This film accurately portrays the ingrained gender bias and misogyny that dogged (and still dogs) the industrial employment sector, and how aversion to change and a pack mentality can lead to violence against the minority party. It also shows how standing up to what is right – in this case, a gender-equal and safe workplace – is fraught with difficulty.

Selection number 13: Palwasha – Rays of the Rising Sun

The first commercial television serial in Afghanistan, Palwasha – Rays of the Rising Sun is a soap opera style series that follows the life of a young woman called Palwasha, a rare female judge in her traditional and religious Afghan community. Created by Indian filmmakers, this Afghan serial uses the dramatic style of Indian soap operas that is incredibly popular in Afghanistan to bring social propaganda into Afghan homes, showing women in powerful leadership positions, addressing issues of domestic violence, and attempting to educate the public that they should trust the official legal system and not resort to serving justice themselves.

Selection number 14: Private Violence

This feature-length documentary seeks to bring awareness to the plague of domestic violence that women in the USA face every day. Told through the eyes of two survivors, one of whom is now an advocate for abused women, this film is takes a look at the intimate partner violence as an entrenched problem in a society that does not truly understand it and is meant to serve as a call for better and more urgent responses to it. The film basically uses the experiences of the two survivors as case studies to explore flaws in police and judicial responses, the obstacles women face when wanting to leave an abuser and misconceptions of domestic abuse.

Selection number 15: Room

This Oscar-nominated film tells the story of a young woman held captive in a small room for seven years and her five-year-old son, how they cope with their captivity, finally gain freedom and learn to live in the outside world. Though the woman, known only as Ma throughout most of the film, was abducted as a teenager and is systematically raped, the film does not show any of this. Told mostly from the perspective of the boy Jack, the film instead focuses on how he and his mother slowly learn to live in the outside world again and deal with their trauma, how other people react to them, and the complex feelings of happiness and grief that they and their family go through.

Selection number 16: What’s the Point?

Part of the At Stake documentary series by Project Change!, What’s the Point takes a close look at the practice of female circumcision in Indonesia. Although different from the practices in African countries – it does not remove the whole clitoris and labia – it is still an invasive and painful procedure that poses serious risks to the girls’ health. It is a widely accepted practice in Indonesia and believed to ‘clean’ the girl and keep evil spirits away from her. The film showcases the beliefs behind the often chaotic rituals of circumcision and the beliefs that inform and propagate this practice.

Watch the full documentary here.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Songs About Violence Against Women (and Staying Strong and Positive)

Girl Playing Piano 1Music empowers, entertains, and helps listeners transcend pain. One song can bring its listeners together by expressing feelings and emotions that many are unable to articulate. The Pixel Project believes in the power of music to heal, inspire, and send a strong message about violence against women. This is reflected in our Music For Pixels campaign through which we collaborate with various artistes around the world.

For 2016, our selection spans different genres and decades to ensure that everyone can find a track to be inspired by. And if our list fails to inspire, it is our sincere hope that you find the soundtrack to your life nonetheless, as everyone needs a set of songs they can relate to in times of adversity.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

Written and compiled by Rebecca Dean

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Song Number 1: Church Bells – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood’s “Church Bells” follows the story of a woman, Jenny, who fights her way out of an abusive relationship. Jenny starts as a free spirit, who meets and marries a wealthy man, who turns out to be abusive. By the end of the song, Jenny fights back, escaping the relationship in any way she can. 

 

Song Number 2: Control – Janet Jackson

In “Control”, Janet Jackson solidifies her control over her words, actions and life. Control is an anthem for the independent woman. “Got my own mind / I wanna make my own decisions / When it has to do with my life / I wanna be the one in control.” 

 

Song Number 3: Family Portrait – P!nk

In “Family Portrait”, P!nk is a child growing up in an abusive household. She pleads with her parents “I’ll be so much better, I’ll do everything right / I’ll be your little girl forever / I’ll go to sleep at night,” believing the anger and fighting is her fault.  

 

Song Number 4: Fight Like a Girl – Kalie Shorr

Kalie Shorr’s “Fight Like a Girl” is a female empowerment anthem taking back what it means to do things “like a girl.” Whereas in modern society “like a girl” is used as an insult, Shorr shows that being a girl is what makes her unstoppable. “You say I canʼt, well darling watch me / You canʼt stop me / Cause I fight like a girl”  

 

Song Number 5: Follow your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow your Arrow” is an anthem for women to be true to themselves – despite what limits society puts on them. Musgraves begins the song by criticising society’s stereotypes of women, with lyrics like “If you save yourself for marriage / you’re a bore / If you don’t save yourself for marriage / you’re a whore-able person.” Musgraves then encourages women to follow their heart and make themselves happy, no matter which path it takes them down. 

 

Song Number 6: How Come, How Long – Baby Face and Stevie Wonder

 In “How Come, How Long”, Baby Face and Stevie Wonder speak to bystanders of abusive relationships. The protagonist of this story “tried to give a cry for help”, but those around her made excuses – “nothing was wrong as far as we could tell / That’s what we’d like to tell ourselves.” In the end, the woman was killed by her abuser. The song ends with the singers encouraging everybody to “look for the signs” in order to potentially save a life.  

 

Song Number 7: I Get Out – Lauryn Hill

 In “I Get Out,” singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill sings about breaking free of the chains of an abusive relationship. Once forced to compromise, Hill recognises the cycle of abuse and is determined to be free. “You say “love” then abuse me / You never thought you’d lose me / … / Cause now I’m choosin’ life, yo / … / That’s how I choose to live.” 

 

Song Number 8: I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

In “I’m Coming Out”, Diana Ross sings about being unapologetically true to herself. She encourages the listener to be confident in their personalities and be proud of the person they are. 

 

Song Number 9: Just a Girl – No Doubt

Inspired by her family’s overprotective nature because she is a woman, “Just a Girl” was written by Gwen Stefani in 1995. “Just a Girl” is a satirical take on the limitations placed on women and girls because of their genders. Stefani uses lyrics such as “‘Well don’t let me out of your sight / Oh, I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite” to exemplify the negative stereotypes placed on women in today’s society.  

 

Song Number 10: Love Me – Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s “Love Me” is an empowering song for those struggling with insecurities, especially when in a romantic relationship. Here, Perry realises that loving herself is necessary in order to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. “So now, I don’t negotiate with insecurities / They’re gonna have to take a back seat / I know I have to love myself, the way I want you to love me”  

 

Song Number 11: Not To Blame – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s “Not to Blame” tells a story of a man who abuses his partner, driving her to suicide, and people’s reactions to the abuse. With powerful lyrics such as “Your buddies all stood by/ They bet their / Fortunes and their fame /That she was out of line /And you were not to blame” Mitchell highlights the victim blaming that still occurs in today’s society. 

 

Song Number 12: Q.U.E.E.N – Janelle Monae

Q.U.E.E.N was described as a “declaration of independence” by Paste Magazine in 2013. With lyrics including “They call us dirty ‘cause we break all your rules down / And we just come to act a fool, is that all right / They be like, ‘Ohh, let them eat cake,” / But we eat wings and throw them bones on the ground” Monae’s Q.U.E.E.N is designed to question society’s stereotypes and expectations of women. 

 

Song Number 13: Remedy – Adele

While Adele’s “Remedy” was written for her son, it is a powerful ballad reminding women to be there for themselves, and for those they care about. The lyrics, including “When the pain cuts you deep / When the night keeps you from sleeping / Just look and you will see / That I will be your remedy” empower women to look inside themselves to find the strength to survive even the harshest of situations.  

 

Song Number 14: Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya

In this female empowerment anthem about women with their own dreams and goals, Daya sings lyrics such as “This queen don’t need a king” and “this gal right here’s gonna rule the world” After releasing Sit Still, Look Pretty, Daya told Entertainment Weekly “It’s important for young girls to know that they don’t have to act a certain way or depend on someone for happiness. They can find all of that within themselves.”  

 

Song Number 15: The Voice Within – Christina Aguilera

In this empowerment anthem, Christina Aguilera encourages girls to trust themselves in the face of challenges and adversity, just “like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within / Then you’ll find the strength that will guide your way.”  

 

Song Number 16: Where is the Love? – Black Eyed Peas

Where is the Love” confronts the anger, hatred and violence in the world, including topics such as discrimination, gang violence and more. Though written in 2003, the lyrics were rewritten in 2016 to reflect the current state of the world.  

The Pixel Project Selection 2015: 16 Of The Pixel Project’s Best Interview Articles

Blog-and-Pen-300x237At The Pixel Project, we combine technology, social media, pop culture, the Arts, journalism and activism to draw attention to and highlight the many ways violence against women (VAW) affects the lives of all people in all communities all around the world.

A major component of our awareness-raising and educational work is blogging. As with other social media platforms that we use, blogging empowers us to raise awareness about VAW, generate conversation by giving people a safe space to talk about VAW, and inspire activism. In addition, blogs are a push-button publishing platform that enables us to present in-depth articles, op-eds, and interviews that go beyond the soundbites.

In 2015, our writing and editorial team focused on 3 major interview-driven blogging campaigns: our monthly Inspirational Interview series on anti-VAW activists, our 30 for 30 Father’s Day campaign interviews, and our Survivors Stories series. All 3 blogging campaigns feature a series of interviews with people from around the world whose lives have been affected by VAW and who are fighting back against VAW using a range of methods and approaches. These interviews form an inspirational tapestry of ideas, stories, and calls-to-action

As our selection of this year’s 16 best Pixel Project blog interview articles show, we succeeded in fulfilling our mission this year. We hope that the stories we shared motivate you to join the effort to end VAW.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

Written and compiled by Carol Olson, with additional selection and content by Regina Yau. Introduction by Carol Olson and Regina Yau.

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Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #1: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Bala Sasetu, Nigeria 

Bala SasetuBala Sasetu is a lawyer by training and a public servant by profession. He describes himself as a family-focused person, a servant to his community and is the father of two children. In his “30 For 30” Father’s Day interview, Bala talks about why dads need to be mindful of being good male role models. He stated: “Fathers owe it to society to treat their wives with respect so that their children do not carry on the trend of violence. Fatherhood is not just being a father, but also teaching boys to be gentlemen and responsible fathers.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #2: Inspirational Interview: Brooke Axtell, United States of America

Brooke AxtellBrooke Axtell is the Director of Communications and Engagement for Allies Against Slavery, a non-profit devoted to ending human trafficking. She also founded Survivor Healing and Empowerment (S.H.E.), a healing community for survivors of rape, abuse and sex-trafficking. Brooke performed with Katy Perry and spoke on domestic violence at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Her speech has been shared around the world. In her interview with The Pixel Project, she points out: “We also need to engage boys in conversations about how masculinity is constructed in our culture and discuss the ways violence and domination is tied to ideas of manhood. They need alternatives to oppressive masculinity and a path where they can express their power by being of service and creating justice in their communities. We can encourage them to build, not destroy. We can affirm the expression of a full range of emotions and model life-giving intimacy.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #3: Survivor Stories Interview: Bukola Oriola – Nigeria and the USA.

Bukola OriolaBukola Oriola is an award winning journalist and a survivor of labour trafficking. She has put her experiences together in form of a book – Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim. She was awarded Change Maker 2009 by the Minnesota Women’s Press for her courage. Oriola is the producer of Imprisoned Show, a TV talk show dedicated to educating the public about human trafficking and founder of The Enitan Story, a nonprofit organisation in Minnesota with a mission to advocate for victims and empower survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse. She says: “One way that we can end violence against women is through education. We cannot spend enough or too much money creating awareness because education is empowering. I believe that the more we talk about this issue, the more we will be able to prevent it from occurring and recurring.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #4: Inspirational Interview: Charlotte Farhan, United Kingdom

Head shot of Charlotte Farhan - photography by Lisa ReeveCharlotte Farhan is the Managing Director and co-founder of Art Saves Lives International (ASLI), an international visual artist, a published illustrator, feature writer, the Editor and chief of ASLI Magazine. Charlotte is an active campaigner and activist for many issues, such as mental health awareness, women’s rights, and fighting against rape culture. Charlotte talked to The Pixel Project about the role of art in helping survivors recover, saying: “I know from studying psychology that when we experience trauma we dissociate and this can mean basic language is lacking from our ability to speak of what happened to us. Art tends to be visual or sound based which helps survivor’s access traumatic events which are stored in our implicit memory which is our sensory memory rather than our narrative memory. So when suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this kind of approach and art based therapy can allow a safer place to express emotions and thoughts which one has no vocal language for.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #5: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Craig Wilkinson, South Africa

Craig WilkinsonCraig Wilkinson lives in Cape Town with his wife and 2 children, Luke (21) and Blythe (18). He is a TEDx speaker and author of the book, “DAD – The Power and Beauty of Authentic Fatherhood” which he wrote after receiving a letter from his 18 year old son thanking him for all he had done and meant to him as a father. Craig runs a non-profit organisation called Father A Nation (FAN) and gives keynote talks and workshops on masculinity and fatherhood. In his interview with The Pixel Project, he says: ” The first and most important thing that fathers and role models need to do is demonstrate by their lives the value of women and how to treat them with honour and respect. […] Secondly he needs to teach younger men in words and actions how to be a gentleman and treat women. Real men use their strength to love, serve, protect and provide, never to abuse or dominate or take what is not his to take.  This is a message that men need to give to the younger generation by what they say and what they do.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #6: Inspirational Interview – Hera Hussain, Pakistan and the United Kingdom

Hera HusseinHera Hussain is the founder of Chayn, a UK-based open source gender and tech project that builds platforms, toolkits and runs hackathons to empower women facing violence & the organisations supporting them. Raised in Pakistan and living in London, Hera knew from early on she wanted to empower women and found herself drawn to tech start-ups and the ways technology can be utilised to solve social issues. When talking to The Pixel Project about Chayn and the power of technology to stop VAW, she says: “Tech gives us the chance to reach a wide audience on shoe-string budget and enable those women who are looking to understand what is happening to them and what to do about. From finding sources of help to escape abuse, tackle mental health issues, find refuge to educate themselves and finding ways to earn money – there is no limit to how we can use the appropriate technology to enable women to become creators of their own fate.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #7: Inspirational Interview: Joe Samalin, India and the United States of America

Joe SamalinJoe Samalin is currently Senior Programme Manager for Community Mobilisation & Community Development with Breakthrough, a global human rights organisation that works to challenge the culture of violence against women and girls. He has been working to address VAW since he was an undergraduate student, and as an activist and organiser addresses domestic violence, sexual violence, and anti-stalking, through training and programming with hundreds of people and communities on these issues. Joe talked to The Pixel Project about how college students and alumni can help stop VAW on campus: “If just 10% of college alums reached out to their alma maters and asked questions about sexual violence on campus and what their school is doing about it and how they can help what a difference that might make. If first year students learned about this issue and came into that first year already knowing what questions to ask, what consent is, how to create a culture free from sexual violence, then that would be huge. If faculty included information about the issue in their syllabi; if parents got involved in tackling this issue — there’s so much potential.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #8: Inspirational Interview: Kit Gruelle, United States of America

Kit Gruelle 1Our first Inspirational Interview of 2015 was with Kit Gruelle, activist, community educator and subject of “Private Violence”, an intimate and compelling documentary on domestic violence which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and on HBO in October 2014. Private Violence is described as shedding “light on the cycles of abuse and the shortcomings of law enforcement and the justice system with extraordinary courage.” Executive Producer Gloria Steinem partnered on Private Violence because she felt it “exemplified domestic abuse better than any film [she] had ever seen.” When talking about ending VAW for good, Kit says: “It will take more men taking a stand, too. If men begin to realise that any man’s violence against any woman reflects badly on all men, perhaps we’ll start to get somewhere. But it will take us working together. I believe we can do it.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #9: Survivor Stories Interview: Kristen Paruginog – United States of America 

Kristen Paruginog_croppedcomKristen Paruginog is a domestic violence survivor, speaker, advocate, social media guru, blogger, former national and local pageant titleholder, and international spokesperson for the non-profit organisation,Break the Silence against Domestic Violence. In her interview with The Pixel Project, Kristen talks about the importance of sharing stories as part of the survivor’s journey towards healing and helping others heal: “I began sharing my story which helped me gain my confidence back, and it gave me my purpose in life. When I share my story, I know at least one person will relate to it – by that one connection that person then learns they are not alone and that we can do this together.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #10: Inspirational Interview – Lara Tabet, Lebanon and the United Kingdom

Lara TabetLara is a civil engineer in the UK who has always been passionate about bridges and also gender equality and women’s rights. Originally from Lebanon, Lara is a board member and head of the UK chapter of CLIMB and believes that the the fight for women’s rights and specifically that against sexual abuse is not an easy one but it is not one to give up either. Through the years Lara has mentored young girls through their teenage years to become strong and confident women who challenge the status quo and pursue their dreams. When talking about  how climbing and being physically active can help survivors heal, she says: “After a trauma, physical self-care is as important as and drastically linked to emotional self-care, and even more so when the trauma is a physical one. Carrying out activities, such as climbing, that would make one regain energy is a good way to feel healthy and in control. From another perspective, physical activity is the best known way to release the feelings of anger and hate that eat at you after being sexually assaulted.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #11: Survivor Stories Interview – Lauren Reid, Canada

Lauren ReidLauren Reid is the founder of the When You’re Ready Project, an online community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories and connect with one another. Since launching the project in December 2014, she has discovered a new passion for activism and a source for healing in her connections with other survivors. Lauren’s advice to other VAW survivors is this: “Talk about it, write about it – find a way to get it out. Our brains process trauma in mysterious ways – so many that science doesn’t even yet understand – but many survivors report feeling alone, scared, blaming themselves, or distorting or suppressing the memories. I did all of those things; and still suffer from many symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even if you’re not ready to report to law enforcement, find someone to talk to. You will be astonished by how many women who have experienced the same thing.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #12: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview: Pau Almuni – Spain

Pau AlmuniPau Almuni is the father of two and an entrepreneur in many places, and also in business. He manages and pushed to create fatherhood groups in Barcelona. In 2015, after taking part in The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30” campaign, he decided to organise the Spanish version of the campaign in order to encourage more Spanish dads to raise their voices against VAW. He tells The Pixel Project: “Men can raise their voices when they see any act of violence, even micro-violence. They can publicly show their feelings. They can organise and attend fatherhood groups, where fathers can talk about fatherhood and be conscious of how it can affect their kids’ lives. They can support men’s roles as caregivers, and empower women as a way to shift the balance between genders.”

Pixel Project Blog Article Selection #13: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview: Samuel Leadismo, Kenya

Samuel Leadismo 1Samuel Leadismo is the founder of Pastoralist Child Foundation whose mission is to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced childhood marriages of girls in the Samburu and Maasai communities in Kenya. When talking about getting men and boys on board the cause to end violence against women, he says: “I believe men and boys can play a role in preventing and stopping violence against women. Men can join women and girls in challenging violence and oppression globally and help create a place where people of different backgrounds, lifestyles, and communities can learn and feel safe by listening and caring for each other.”

Pixel Project Blog Article Selection #14: Survivor Stories Interview – Sandra Pickens, USA

Sandra PickensSandra D. Pickens, M.S. is the author of “Summer Internship,”  her debut publication. Sandra is a huge proponent with working with the Native American community in creating awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault issues. Her dream is to open her own transitional women’s facility for survivors of domestic violence and mentally ill single women. In her interview, she talks about the important of education in breaking the cycle of violence: “If it is generational violence, we need to deal with the abusers to get them out of that mindset that it is okay to hit women. We need to educate our young girls and women that they do not have depend on another person to take care of them and that if someone says they are pretty, that does not necessarily mean that he likes them.”

Pixel Project Blog Article Selection #15: Inspirational Interview – Tim Matsui, United States of America

Tim Matsui is an Emmy-nominated visual journalist and filmmaker focusing on human trafficking, alternative energy, and the environment. Tim’s clients have included Newsweek, Stern, Der Spiegel, GEO, Wired and many other domestic and international publications.  Tim seeks to inform and engage viewers through his projects, using media for social change. His most recent project is the feature documentary film “The Long Night”  and the accompanying audience engagement project “Leaving the Life“.  “The Long Night” has recently won First Prize for Long Feature from World Press Photo. During his interview with The Pixel Project, he says: “[We can stop VAW] by respecting women and girls. It’s as simple as that. Men and women need to create an environment where girls and women are empowered and valued. We must be a compassionate society. And a line I use from a spoken word poet is this: It’s not what we tell our daughters, it’s what are we going to teach our sons.”

Pixel Project Blog Article Selection #16: Inspirational Interview: Tony Porter, United States of America

Tony Porter Action 2Tony Porter  is an educator, activist, lecturer and author who has been working in the social justice arena for over twenty years. He is both nationally and internationally recognized for his effort to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, while promoting healthy and respectful manhood. Tony is the co-founder of A CALL TO MEN: The Next Generation of Manhood. He is the author of “Well Meaning Men… Breaking Out of the Man Box – Ending Violence Against Women” and visionary for the book, “NFL. When talking about the importance of engaging men in the anti-VAW cause, Tony says: “One of the ways to engage men effectively is to meet them where they are at and speak about the women they love and care about. We have to find ways to reach in and grab the hearts of men. This is not an academic experience, this needs to be a transformative experience. We need to engage men to engage men; to seek out men whom other men look up to and engage them in being part of the solution.”

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Photo credits:

  • Bala Sasetu – Photo courtesy of Bala Sasetu
  • Brooke Axtell – Photo courtesy of Brooke Axtell
  • Bukola Oriola – Photo courtesy of Bukola Oriola
  • Charlotte Farhan – Photo courtesy of Charlotte Farhan; Photographer: Lisa Reeve
  • Craig Wilkinson – Photo courtesy of Craig Wilkinson
  • Hera Hussain – Photo courtesy of Hera Hussain
  • Joe Samalin – Photo courtesy of Joe Samalin
  • Kit Gruelle – Photo courtesy of Kit Gruelle
  • Kristen Paruginog – Photo courtesy of Kristen Paruginog
  • Lara Tabet – Photo courtesy of Lara Tabet
  • Lauren Reid – Photo courtesy of Lauren Reid
  • Pau Almuni – Photo courtesy of Pau Almuni
  • Samuel Leadismo – Photo courtesy of Samuel Leadismo
  • Sandra Pickens – Photo courtesy of Sandra Pickens
  • Tim Matsui – Photo courtesy of Tim Matsui
  • Tony Porter – Photo courtesy of Tony Porter

The Pixel Project Selection 2015: 16 Authors Saying NO To Violence Against Women

header-authors-2015_final

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labelled: “This could change your life.” – Helen Exley

With VAW being a taboo topic in many cultures and communities, pop culture media (including film, books and gaming) have become invaluable awareness-raising, advocacy and educational tools through which the anti-Violence Against Women (VAW) movement can reach out to educate communities and raise their awareness about VAW, to break the silence surrounding the violence and to inspire people to take action to stop this human rights atrocity.

The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign was first launched in September 2014 in recognition of the longstanding power of books to shape cultural ideas and influence the direction of history. From Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird to to J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, popular authors and their stories have been instrumental in planting ideas, triggering thoughtful water-cooler discussions, and providing food for thought for communities. And in the age of Geek culture and social media, bestselling authors wield influence beyond just their books as they are able to directly communicate their readers and fans via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media channels.

Since then, the campaign has gone from strength to strength. To date, 41 award-winning bestselling authors have participated in various Read For Pixels campaigns and initiatives, raising over $21,000 for the cause to end VAW to date. In this article, we honour 16 of this year’s bestselling authors from our 2015 Read For Pixels campaigns.* They hail from genres as diverse as Comics, Horror, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Many of them are global celebrities with strong fan followings, others are well-respected in their countries or genres. Still others are up-and-coming stars who have decided to use their talents for good. It is the movement to end VAW that unites and inspires them and we hope that all of them will continue to work with the movement in years to come.

To learn more about each author and their books, click on the author’s name.

To learn more about what each author has to say about violence against women, click on their quote in their write-up below to be taken to the YouTube video of their Read For Pixels Google Hangout or their blog articles.

NOTE: The Pixel Project is thrilled to note that we had our best ever author participation yet in 2015 with 25 authors taking part in Read For Pixels campagins throughout the year. Those not featured in this year’s list will be featured in next year’s list.

Written and compiled by Regina Yau. Google Hangout transcriptions by Anushia Kandasivam, Shreya Gupta, and Regina Yau.

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 

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Author Against VAW 1: Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris Headshot_croppedCharlaine Harris is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse fantasy/mystery series, the Aurora Teagarden, Harper Connelly, and Lily Bard mystery series, and Midnight Crossroad, the first Midnight, Texas, novel. She has lived in the South her entire life. During her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Charlaine talked about being a rape survivor, supporting other survivors in their journey, and tackling the issue of VAW in her stories. She said: “Women should be able to live their lives and say what they think without fearing physical retaliation . . . it is that simple! I just do not see how a society can miss that.”

Author Against VAW 2: Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain Headshot_compressedDiane Chamberlain is the international best-selling author of 23 novels published in more than twenty-five languages. Her most recent novel, THE SILENT SISTER, made the USA Today Bestseller List. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker and a psychotherapist in private practice. During her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Diane talked about stopping VAW and the importance of including men and boys in the movement: “I really get upset over the idea of this ‘us versus them’ thing – that if women have more rights, then men have fewer rights. I really don’t think it’s a win-lose kind of situation, but I fear that is what happens most of the time. I consider myself a feminist but I also consider myself a ‘masculist’, where I just think we need to be as concerned about our boys and the messages we give our boys as we do our girls.”

Authors Against VAW 3: Jane Green

Jane Green headshotJane Green is the author of fifteen New York Times bestselling novels, including TEMPTING FATE. Initially known for writing about single thirty-somethings, Green has graduated to more complex novels that explore the concerns of real women’s lives, from marriage to motherhood to, most recently, midlife crises. During Jane’s Read For Pixels Google Hangout, she talked about the importance of having role models and relationship models as part of helping stop VAW and what authors can do through their work. She said: “As a woman myself, and having witnessed a couple of friends in abusive relationships, we don’t know what a healthy relationship is, we don’t know what to look for. I don’t know what to look for. I consider myself enormously blessed being married for the second time and … having an incredibly loving, supportive, healthy and functional partnership. […] I’m trying very hard in my books to model something that I’ve now been lucky enough to experience. I would like to think that somebody somewhere would read it and might perhaps question … the situation that they’re in.”

Authors Against VAW 4: Jaye Wells

Jaye Wells_highres_croppedJaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young age. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When discussing solutions for stopping VAW, Jaye said: “I think fostering empathy is important on every level of this issue. It is just trying to be more kind to people and understanding where they are coming from and understanding what motivates them and looking for common ground. That is how solutions happen. But shouting at people builds walls and we do not need more walls. We need to break the walls down and come together as a society and say, ‘You know what, no violence! That is not who we want to be.’”

Author Against VAW 5: Jennifer L. Armentrout

JLA_Author-photo_Cropped#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. Her book OBSIDIAN has been optioned for a major motion picture and her COVENANT series has been optioned for TV. When discussing how authors can support the movement to end VAW, she said: “One of the ways authors can support it is representing it in their books. I don’t know how many times I’ve received emails from people saying that they’ve read something in my book that honestly I never thought about…but they connected with that situation or that character and it gave them the opportunity to say to me ‘this is what happened to me’. And since they said it to me, they now feel empowered to say it to somebody else. So I think that sometimes by having those types of representations in their novels, you have no idea who you’re reaching and it could be that one thing that finally shows a woman or a child that ‘I need to get out of this situation’ or ‘I need to help get this person out of this situation’.”

Authors Against VAW 6: Jim C. Hines

Jim Hines_compressedJim C. Hines is the author of eleven fantasy novels, including the MAGIC EX LIBRIS series, the PRINCESS series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous GOBLIN QUEST trilogy, and the FABLE LEGENDS tie-in BLOOD OF HEROES. He’s an active blogger and has  won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Jim was a sexual assault counsellor and has written extensively about issues of violence against women, sexism, and misogyny in geek culture on his blog and is the only author who has a section dedicated to resources for rape survivors on website. He wrote this about VAW in the geek community: “People don’t choose to be raped.  People choose to commit rape.  If you make that choice, I don’t want you in my community. Can you imagine what would happen if, every time someone raped, assaulted, or harassed another person, the rest of us actually spoke out?  If we as a community let them know — clearly and loudly — that this would not be tolerated?  If we told those who had been assaulted that we would listen, and we would support them?” Check out Jim’s Read For Pixels Google Hangout here.

Authors Against VAW 7: Jonathan Maberry

FullSizeRender_croppedJonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestseller, a five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and a comic book writer for IDW, Marvel and Dark Horse. He is the author of PATIENT ZERO, ROT & RUIN, THE NIGHTSIDERS, DEAD OF NIGHT and many novels; and his comics include MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, V-WARS and BAD BLOOD. Several of his books are in development for TV and film. Jonathan survived his father’s domestic abuse and went on to spend twenty years teaching women, kids, and other at-risk groups self-defence. His message to men and boys everywhere: “We all talk about how to be tough, how to be strong. But being tough also means being fair and being tough means having the courage to do the right thing. And I want to speak to my fellow men out there – the tough guys out there – you wanna be tough? Stand side by side with women. Don’t be part of the conspiracy of abuse; don’t be part of its culture; don’t hit, don’t hurt, and don’t turn a blind eye.” Check out Jonathan’s Read For Pixels Google Hangout here.

Authors Against VAW 8: Kami Garcia

KamiGarcia_croppedKami Garcia is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and DANGEROUS CREATURES novels & the author of the instant New York Times bestseller and Bram Stoker Award nominated novel UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, in the LEGION series. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages. The film adaptation of Beautiful Creatures released in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. When asked why she supports stopping VAW, she said: “Violence against women in the world, the fact that it is so acceptable, is so terrifying. […] I think that every single woman, every single girl, every single person has the right to feel safe.”

Authors Against VAW 9: Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old. Her twenty-four science fiction and fantasy books include COLD MAGIC, SPIRIT GATE, KING’S DRAGON, JARAN, and her YA debut COURT OF FIVES. A new epic fantasy, BLACK WOLVES, which was published in November 2015. When speaking to The Pixel Project about how authors can help stop VAW, she said: “I think that [authors] can support organisations that are doing the work on the ground, we can think about these things when we write fiction. […] As writers, we can think about how that influences the kind of story we want to tell and how we want to portray society. Often [rape] is portrayed in a way that [the reader] is taking the perspective of the person inflicting violence […] We can choose what perspective we take. I think that is a really crucial part of fighting violence against women – bringing about a change in perspective so that we can hope to end it.”

Authors Against VAW 10: Kimberly Derting

Kimberly Derting_compressedKimberly Derting is the author of the award-winning THE BODY FINDER series, THE PLEDGE trilogy, and THE TAKING and THE REPLACED (the first two books in THE TAKING trilogy). Her books have been translated into 15 languages, and both THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selections. Kimberly is a survivor of childhood sexual assault and she said: “As an author […] I think it’s important to write unhealthy people and unhealthy relationships in the sense that I think it makes conversations start. I think if everyone just wrote happy stories that were pure and fun and everybody was healthy then there wouldn’t be a lot of conversation. I think talking about things…is what makes people start to come forward. I think a lot of issue books…are what make conversations start and actually a lot of kids will step forward because of those books. And those are not healthy relationships.”

Authors Against VAW 11: Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo credit Taili Song Roth_croppedLeigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the GRISHA Trilogy: SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM, and RUIN AND RISING. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. When chatting to The Pixel Project about solutions for stopping VAW, Leigh said: “For me, the most effective thing you can do is take what you are seeing or feeling online and actually go out and do something. It’s actually not that hard to be involved in something […] I think sometimes one of the problems with social media is that if we want to tune out an uncomfortable message, we can. But we need to be uncomfortable. So if you have a platform to give other people it may be the best thing you can do.”

Authors Against VAW 12: Marie Lu

Marie Lu_compressedMarie Lu writes young adult novels such as the LEGEND series and has a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, she was born in 1984. Before she became a full-time writer, she was an artist in the video game industry. She graduated from the University of Southern California in ’06 and currently lives in Los Angeles. During her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Marie talked to The Pixel Project about everything from role models to #Gamergate. She said: “We all are either women, or we know, we have mothers, and daughters, and sisters. We all know someone who has been affected by violence against women. So, this is a very personal issue. I can’t imagine not being affected by this message and not being a part of it.”

Authors Against VAW 13: Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey_croppedRick Yancey is the author of fifteen novels and a memoir. His books have been published in over thirty languages and have earned numerous accolades and awards from around the world. In 2010, Rick received a Michael L. Printz Honour for THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST. His latest novel, THE 5th WAVE, the first in an epic sci-fi trilogy, made its worldwide debut in 2013, and will soon be a major motion picture for GK Films and Sony Pictures.On the subject of role modelling healthy relationships for his 3 sons, he said: “It’s one of those obvious truths that probably should be said again – that a young male’s first exposure to a male-female relationship and how that looks is obviously between their parents. […] You better be careful how you’re treating each other because your sons are watching and you might not think you’re having an effect but you are.”

Authors Against VAW 14: Scott Sigler

New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the creator of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. In 2005, Scott built a large online following by releasing his audiobooks as serialised podcasts. Scott is the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League YA series. When asked why he supports The Pixel Project, he said: “I don’t commit violence on women or children, and there’s a natural default in your head that says everybody is like that, that it’s just a few outliers who aren’t like that. But the more you look around the more you realise that’s not really the case. […] A group like yours, [is] able to contribute to somebody who trying to get their voice out there and make people aware of what’s going on – like the crisis hotlines that you always tweet out – before I saw those tweets it never even crossed my mind that people would not know where to go for help. So that’s why I’ve been supportive of it. Making people more aware of what’s going on is a good thing.”

Authors Against VAW 15: Tad Williams

Tad Williams 2012_croppedTad Williams is an international best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction. Since 1985, he has written 20 novels and 3 story collections, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Tad’s stories have earned critical acclaim and are immensely popular with both fantasy and science fiction readers worldwide. Tad’s first novel, TAILCHASER’S SONG, is soon to be a CG-animated feature film from Animetropolis and IDA.  When discussing how he role models healthy relationships and respect for women and girls to his son, Tad said: “I have always done my conscious best to treat my wife […] as my equal partner […] and I have always tried to model that for my kids as much as possible. My son […] has the culture around him and a family and community that says ‘women and men – there is no difference in terms of value.’”

Authors Against VAW 16: Yasmine Galenorn

yg12-2014a_webYasmine Galenorn is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of the Otherworld series, , the upcoming spin-off series in the Otherworld altaverse–the Fly By Night series, and the upcoming Whisper Hollow paranormal romance/suspense series. In April 2012, she won a Career Achievement Award in Urban Fantasy at the Romantic Times Convention. During her Read For Pixels Google Hangout, Yasmine, who is a rape and abuse survivor, told The Pixel Project that authors can help the effort to stop VAW  “by not being afraid to speak out. […] violence against women is something that is so inherent, so much a part of my background in terms of being a survivors of it, how can I not speak out about it? And if some people get upset about it – too bad.”

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Photo credits

  • Charlaine Harris – Photo courtesy of Charlaine Harris and Ace/Roc/DAW Books. Photographer: Sigrid Estrada.
  • Diane Chamberlain – Photo courtesy of Diane Chamberlain
  • Jane Green – Photo courtesy of Jane Green. 
  • Jaye Wells – Photo courtesy of Jaye Wells
  • Jennifer L. Armentrout – Photo courtesy of Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Jim C. Hines – Photo courtesy of Jim C. Hines
  • Jonathan Maberry – Photo courtesy of Jonathan Maberry
  • Kami Garcia – Photo courtesy of Kami Garcia. Photographer: Vanya Stoyanova
  • Kate Elliott – Photo courtesy of Kate Elliott
  • Kimberly Derting – Photo courtesy of Kimberly Derting
  • Leigh Bardugo – Photo courtesy of Leigh Bardugo. Photographer: Taili Song Roth
  • Marie Lu – Photo courtesy of Marie Lu
  • Rick Yancey – Photo courtesy of Rick Yancey
  • Scott Sigler – Photo courtesy of Scott Sigler and A Kovacs. Photographer: Joan Allen
  • Tad Williams – Photo courtesy of Tad Williams and Ace/Roc/DAW Books. Photographer: Deborah Beale
  • Yasmine Galenorn – Photo courtesy of Yasmine Galenorn

The Pixel Project Selection 2015: 16 Notable Facebook Pages by Anti-Violence Against Women Organisations

Foto-FacebookIn the last 11 years, Facebook has become a social media powerhouse, with over 1.44 billion monthly active users as of March 2015. Facebook has grown from a basic social connection website to a life platform. It is used to find, connect, and catch up with friends, to read the news, to conduct business, to shop, and to learn.

Facebook is also used to find causes, organisations, and events that are important to us and to advocate for various issues. Now Facebook users can learn about and support global issues from their own homes. Violence against women (VAW) is one of the global human rights issues finding supporters on Facebook. Now a story about VAW can be read, watched, or heard via Facebook by millions of people around the globe. They can follow organisational news, participate in grassroots campaigns, and donate right from their mobile phone or computer.

This is our fourth annual list of recommended Facebook pages and we have selected them because they make an effort to temper humour with information, offer a significant way for their readers to help, and make those in the fight feel more powerful and part of something greater. They present a unique perspective on a global issue.

In this article, we highlight 16 Facebook pages fighting violence against women that are unique in their messages and their delivery. So choose a couple to ‘like’, or better yet ‘like’ them all, get informed, and take action.

Written and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 


Recommended Facebook Page #1: Battered Women’s Justice Project – United Kingdom

Battered Womens Justice ProjectThe Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP) has been a national UK resource on the criminal and civil justice systems’ responses to domestic violence since 1994. The organisation provides technical assistance to victims of domestic violence, civil justice practitioners, and to the general public to promote systemic change. The BWJP’s Facebook page includes news, opinion pieces, and is also an information resource for other anti-VAW activists.

Recommended Facebook Page #2: Break the Cycle – United States

Break The CycleBreak the Cycle was founded in 1996 and provides preventative dating and domestic violence education for teens and young adults. By ‘liking’ the organisations’ Facebook page, fans will stay up-to-date on laws and bills passed to support the cause and statistics and research for activists. Though an American organisation, Break the Cycle also shares workshops and educational information to create global leaders in dating abuse prevention.

Recommended Facebook Page #3: Canadian Women’s Foundation – Canada

Canadian Womens FoundationThe Canadian Women’s Foundation’s mission is to empower women and girls to move out of poverty, out of violence and into confidence. Founded in 1991, the Foundation addresses the root causes of inequality to help women create safer families and communities. Now in its 24th year, the Foundation has invested in over 1,300 community programs in the world. Updates from these organisations, including photos, videos, and events, are all visible on the organisation’s Facebook page.

Recommended Facebook Page #4: Domestic Abuse Intervention Program (DAIP) – United States

DAIP LogoThe Domestic Abuse Intervention Program (DAIP) fights to end violence against women. Founded in 1980, the organisation offers domestic violence training and resources based on The Duluth Model, which continues to evolve and innovate around working together as a community to end domestic violence.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #5: Engender – Scotland

Engender LogoEngender has been working towards creating a safer Scotland for more than 20 years. The organisation aims to increase women’s power and influence and demonstrate the impact sexism has on women and on Scotland. When ‘liking’ Engender on Facebook, fans will be exposed to local events and workshops, updates on various partnerships including “Write to End Violence Against Women Awards”, and statistics to use in their own activism projects.

Recommended Facebook Page #6: FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture – United States

FORCEFORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture was founded by creative educators, organisers and activists Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle. The group utilises imaginative tactics to have honest, public conversations about sexual violence. Some of their more well-known tactics include projecting “Rape is Rape” onto the US Capitol Building and releasing a parody Playboy anti-rape party guide. The FORCE Facebook page is a starting point for sexual assault activists, as they partner with major campaigns including The Monument Quilt. Though located in the United States, they share virtual events for Facebook fans worldwide.

Recommended Facebook Page #7: Futures without Violence – United States

Futures Without ViolenceFounded in 1980, Futures without Violence works to end domestic and dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault and more. They were monumental in developing the Violence Against Women Act passed by the US Congress, and continue to advocate for the safety of women and girls. Beyond activism, Futures without Violence trains professionals to improve responses to violence and abuse.

Recommended Facebook Page #8: Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention Network – Africa

GBV LogoThe Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention Network is a network of activists and organisations working together to stop violence against women. With over 500 members in 18 different countries, the GBV Prevention Network represents the Horn and East and Southern Africa. The Network’s Facebook Page welcomes discussion and promotes advancement, innovation, and sharing expertise.

Recommended Facebook Page #9: Guttmacher Institute – International

Guttmacher LogoThe Guttmacher Institute uses research, policy analysis and public education to advance women’s reproductive rights and sexual health worldwide. For over 50 years, the Institute has used their work to advance discussion, policy, and program development. Activists may use the organisation’s Facebook page as a resource for statistics, laws, and more when developing their own programs.

Recommended Facebook Page #10: Ilitha Labantu – Africa

Ilitha LabantuIlitha Labantu is active in women’s issues, focusing on the genocide in Rwanda, female mutilations in Ivory Coast, refugee women of South Sudan, and more. The organisation’s vision is to eliminate all kinds of domestic violence, especially those that occur in domains where the ideology of privacy is strong. Founded in 1989, Ilitha Labantu’s walk in centre provides vast services free of charge, including counselling, support groups, domestic violence shelter, legal services, and more.

Recommended Facebook Page #11: Jewish Women International – Worldwide

JWI LogoJewish Women International’s mission is to break the cycle of violence against women and girls. The organisation fights to ensure all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their finances, and grow as leaders. JWI develops programming to protect constituents, provide resources and training to other organisations, and work at the grassroots levels to lobby for bill changes. When ‘liking’ JWI on Facebook, fans will be able to follow events and conferences through photos and updates, read opinion pieces, and see news updates.

Recommended Facebook Page #12: Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD) – India

MARD LogoMen against Rape and Discrimination (MARD) is a social initiative creating awareness about gender equality and respect towards women. Launched by Bollywood actor and director Farhan Akhtar, MARD uses music to convey their messages and inspires listeners to create a better society. The MARD Facebook page shares news, campaign updates, music, and videos with their fans as a way to support and encourage its mission.

Recommended Facebook Page #13: Mending the Sacred Hoop – United States

Mending the Sacred HoopMending the Sacred Hoop is an organisation focused on restoring the leadership of Native women. Through the Technical Assistance Project, they provide training to support community efforts to end violence against women. Their Facebook page shares information about various campaigns activists can get involved in, both local and global.

 

Recommended Facebook Page #14: Promundo – Brazil

Promundo LogoPromundo has been engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and to end violence against women since 1997. Founded in Brazil, the organisation promotes non-violence masculinities and gender relations. Connecting with activists in Brazil, the United States, and Rwanda, Promundo uses various campaigns, including the International Men and Gender Equality Survey, conflict and security, economic justice, and more.

Recommended Facebook Page #15: YWCA – United States

YWCA LogoYWCA is dedicated to empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Though founded and located in the United States, YWCA serves more than 25 million women and girls in 125 different countries. The organisation shares legal information and legal updates on their Facebook page, which is useful for other activists to use in their programming. Also, the YWCA holds a yearly conference and gala, and shares live updates for those who cannot attend.

Recommended Facebook Page #16: Zonta International – Worldwide

Zonta International LogoZonta International is a global organisation empowering women through service and advocacy. Founded in 1919, members, also known as ‘Zontians,’ volunteer their time, talents, and support all over the world. Zonta envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognised as human rights and a world where no woman lives in fear of violence. They focus on improving the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women, prompting justice and universal respect, and more. On the organisation’s Facebook Page, fans will find news about international events Zontians are participating in, webcasts, conferences and workshops fans can attend remotely.

Transforming Personal Pain Into Positive Action: The Pixel Project’s 16 Female Role Models 2015

header-female-rolemodels-2015

Today is the first day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2015 and The Pixel Project is kicking off our 16 For 16 campaign with our 6th annual list of 16 female role models fighting to end violence against women in their communities. The intent of this list is simple: to highlight the good work of the heroines of the movement to end violence against women wherever they are in the world. The women and girls in this year’s list hail from 18 countries and 4 continents.

Many of these outstanding women and girls have shown that it is possible to transform personal pain that came out of facing gender-based violence, into positive action to stop violence against women, empower themselves and to show other survivors that it is possible to move forward with dignity and happiness. They have refused to let bitterness and pain get the better of them, opting to stand up for themselves and for other women and girls instead. This year, we’re very proud to include a number of teenage activists who are campaigning against child marriage and acid attacks.

Others on this list may not have experienced gender-based violence inflicted on themselves but they have stepped up to do what is right: to speak up for women and girls who cannot do it for themselves, sometimes at great personal risk. All this requires immense courage, generosity of spirit and a strong enduring heart.

Without further ado, here in alphabetical order by first name is our 2015 list of 16 female role models. We hope that these women would be an inspiration to others to get involved with the global movement to end violence against women. To that end, we hope you will generously share this list via Facebook and Twitter to give these extraordinary 16 women and their work a moment in the sun.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

Written and compiled by Regina Yau

Information for all role model profiles is sourced via online research and is based on one or more news sources, articles and/or The Pixel Project’s own interviews with them. The main articles/reports from which these profiles have been sourced can be directly accessed via the hyperlinked titles. Please do click through to learn more about these remarkable women.

Picture credits are listed at the bottom of the article.

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 

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Female Role Model 1: Andrea Medina Rosas – Mexico

Andrea Medina Rosas_croppedAndréa Medina Rosas is a feminist human rights lawyer and independent consultant who works towards defending murdered and disappeared women, many who come from Ciudad Juárez, the city on the border of Mexico and the United States notoriously nicknamed the ‘capital of murdered women’. When Andréa was a teenager her feminist mother created an organisation for advancing women’s rights. Their first case involved helping a rape victim. Fifteen years later, Andréa is devoted to working with survivors of sexual violence and legally advocating for an end to violence against women. Andréa believes that women from different cultures need to come together to talk about gender violence and to work together on solutions.

Female Role Model 2: Charlotte Campbell-Stephen – Australia and Kenya

Charlotte Campbell Stephen_croppedIn 2006, Australian aid Charlotte Campbell-Stephen was brutally attacked and gang raped for 8 hours by a violent Nairobi gang. Campbell-Stephen courageously reported her rape in a roomful of male police. She took her rapists to court even though she was told by the police that no one won rape cases in Kenya (the Australian embassy in Kenya even advised her to go home). She was supported throughout her gruelling years-long court ordeal by the women from Nairobi’s slums, and Geoff Kinuya, the detective to whom she first reported her case in 2006. In May 2015, the documentary about her fight for justice, I Will Not Be Silenced, was launched at the 2015 Human Rights Arts and Film festival in Melbourne.

Female Role Model 3: Chieftainess Mwenda (Sophia Thomas Chibaye) – Zambia

Cheiftainee Mwanda_croppedChieftainess Mwenda (Sophia Thomas Chibaye) rules over 111 villagers is on a mission to stop child marriage – a mission which began when, four years ago, she learned about the dangers of teen pregnancies. She told the Thompson Reuters Foundation: “”No one should allow a child in school (to marry)”. Mwenda believes that educating her communities is the key to ending the practice of child marriage: “Children can only be safe in a school environment. As long as they remain in school they are safe from marriage.”

Female Role Model 4: Flavia Carvalho – Brazil

Flavia Carvalho_CroppedFlavia Carvalho is a tattoo artist who decided to use her skills to help survivors via her project A Pele da Flor (The Skin of the Flower) through which she tattoos over scars women had suffered from acts of violence free of charge. Carvalho was inspired to do so after she met a client who wanted to cover up a scar on her abdomen that was the result of a violent attack by a man whom she had turned down. She told The Huffington Post: “Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster… The project’s name refers to the Portuguese expression “A flor da pele” (deeper than skin), which speaks of how strongly we feel when facing an extremely difficult or challenging situation.”

Female Role Model 5: Fraidy Reiss – United States of America

headshot Fraidy Reiss_croppedFraidy Reiss’s marriage to an abusive husband was arranged by the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community she came from when she was just 19 years old.  Reuss told NPR that she knew her husband for only three months before they were married, and that as she tried to raise her two daughters, she began to fear for their lives because her husband would lunge at her and describe in graphic detail how he was going to kill her. After courageously escaping her abuser and leaving the community, she founded Unchained At Last – a nonprofit dedicated to helping other American women escape arranged and forced marriages. Unchained At Last also offers women free legal assistance and representation, as well as assistance with the social services they need to rebuild their lives.

Female Role Model 6: Hadiqa Bashir – Pakistan

Hadiqa Bashir_CroppedWhen Hadiqa Bashir was 10 years old, her grandmother tried to pressure her into a marriage but she saw how one of her classmates who got married in the sixth grade suffered from severe domestic violence and, with the support of her uncle, fought her grandmother’s decision and won. Today, Hadiqa is a 13-year-old activist working to end child marriage in her culture while calling for families to send girls to school. She goes from door to door in her community to talk to parents of girls about the benefits of educating daughters. She said: “I realised that many other girls would suffer like my classmate, and that’s when I decided to start this campaign. Educate your children, don’t make them marry early, give them freedom. That is my message.”

Female Role Model 7: Inkosi Kachindamoto – Malawi

According to the UN Population Fund, Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. The country is ranked 8th out of 20 countries considered to have the highest rates, and in 2012 one in every two girls was married before the age of 18. In June 2015, Senior Chief Inkosi Kachindamoto created a major stir when she annulled 330 customary marriages in Dedza district in the Central Region of Malawi, sent the children back to school, and fired the village heads who sanctioned the marriages. She told the Nyasa Times: “I don’t want youthful marriages, they must go to school … no child should be found loitering at home or doing household chores during school time.”

Female Role Model 8: Madeleine Rees – United Kingdom

Madeleine_Rees_(cropped)_compressedBritish human rights lawyer Madeleine Rees has worked on ending violence against women in the various roles and capacities she has taken on over her career. She was a United Nations official in Bosnia during which she blew the whistle on the role of UN peacekeepers in sex-trafficking. She has also helped shape the protocol for the investigation and documentation of sexual violence in war zones. Currently the secretary general of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Rees said: “Stopping rape in war is never going to be entirely possible but there are ways to create more accountability.”

Female Role Model 9: Malika Saada Saar – United States of America

MALIKA headshot_CroppedMalika Saada Saar is a formidable activist and human rights lawyer who has devoted her life to advocating for the rights of women and girls. While at Georgetown University, Saada Saar founded Crossing the River, a written and spoken word workshop for mothers in recovery from substance abuse. The group eventually became the Rebecca Project, a policy and advocacy group which advocates for  women and families. The Rebecca Project’s notable successes include effectively lobbying for a ban on the practice of restraining incarcerated women during childbirth. Saar is currently the Executive Director of Rights4Girls, a human rights organisation that focuses on curbing violence against women through public policy and awareness.

Female Role Model 10: Massarat Misbah – Pakistan

Mussarat Misbah_croppedRenowned Pakistani beautician and entrepreneur Massarat Misbah was closing up one of her many beauty salons when she was approached by a young acid attack victim who begged her to help restore her face. Misbah was shocked at the disfigurement suffered by the young woman and decided to start a nonprofit arm of her beauty business called the Depilex Smile Again Foundation. To date, Misbah and her team have helped over 500 victims of acid attacks to restore their appearance through reconstructive surgery, apply for jobs, and rebuild their lives. Misbah told Women’s Agenda: “To me, Depilex Smile Again Foundation is a platform for survivors of acid and kerosene oil. It exists for them to come out of terrible situations and try to change their lives for the better.”

Female Role Model 11: Monica Singh – India and United States of America

Monica Singh_croppedA decade ago in Lucknow, India, Monica Singh suffered a brutal acid attack orchestrated by a man whose marriage proposal she turned down. Sixty-five percent of her body was burned severely and she had to undergo over 40 rounds of reconstructive surgery. Aside from rebuilding her own life as she works on her fashion career, she founded the Mahendra Foundation which provides support for other acid attack survivors. In her interview with The New York Times, she had this message for acid attack survivors: “Keep on living. Keep fighting. And be something that you always wanted to be. Forget that you lost your face, your soul is still intact, your mind is still intact. Keep on doing.”

Female Role Model 12: Muzoon Almellehan – Syria

Muzoon_Cropped16-year-old Muzoon Almellehan has been dubbed “the Malala of Syria” by her community of war survivors thanks to her tireless work to end child marriage over the past two years. Muzoon’s inspiration for her campaign began when she arrived in Jordan among an influx of Syrian refugees in 2013 and noticed that the rates of child marriage were rampant in the Za’atari refugee camp where she lives. UNICEF and Save the Children enlisted young activists to talk with parents about the importance of girls’ education. Muzoon joined up and quickly became an adept campaigner. She told the Daily Beast: “Lots people were listening [to me], even fathers… because I wouldn’t tell them in a forceful way, or say, ‘You have to send her to school.’ I’d initiate the debate and say girls’ education helps them the most.

Female Role Model 13: Sonita Alizadeh – Afghanistan

18-year-old Afghan music artiste Sonita Alizadeth uses rap music to push back against child marriage, including her own. When she was told that she would be married off as a teenage bride to a man she had never met, she wrote the song “Brides for Sale.” The song’s lyrics include: “Let me whisper, so no one hears that I speak of selling girls. My voice shouldn’t be heard since it’s against Sharia.” Sonita’s music video for the song features her wearing a wedding dress… and a barcode on her forehead as she pleads with her family not sell her off. Her parents loved the video and called off the wedding. Today, she uses her music to help other girls in danger of being sold off for marriage and to continue pushing against the tradition of child brides.

Female Role Model 14: Tania Rashid – Bangladesh and United States of America

Tania Rashid_croppedJournalist Tania Rashid has tackled the issue of violence against women through a story on gang rape in Bangladesh (which she had to pitch repeatedly for almost a year before it was accepted by Vice News), followed by her latest documentary production with Vice News, “Sex, Slavery, and Drugs in Bangladesh,“ gives appalling insight the daily happenings of Daulita which is the largest Bangladeshi brothel and the largest bordello in the world with more than 1,300 sex workers who serve over 3,000 men daily. Born in Saudi Arabia to a Bangladeshi father and Pathan mother before moving to the USA, Rashid was inspired by CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour to become a journalist dedicated to telling human rights stories.

Female Role Model 15: Peninnah Tombo – Kenya

Peninnah Tombo_croppedPenninah Tombo is a female genital mutilation survivor who has been harassed, threatened, and attacked by her tribe because of her dedication to helping Maasai girls escape female genital mutilation, forced early marriage, as well as helping them complete their schooling. In 1992, she founded Nasuru Ntoiye (Let’s Save the Girls) to advance her work. According to Tombo, her activism and advocacy on behalf of women and girls has met with stiff opposition because Masai men do not want their daughters to be educated and to learn they have rights. However, she continues to persevere and told the Los Angeles Times: “We are trying to change our way of living. We are trying to change the boys and girls, so that they can change our community.”

Female Role Model 16: Sima Basnet – Nepal

Sima Basnet - Sanjog Mandhar_CroppedSima Basnet and her friend Sangita Magar were studying at a tution center in Jhochhen, Nepal, when four masked men broke into the center, barged into the room, and splashed acid on them. Today, Sima speaks out against acid attacks. She told The Baltic Review: “I’ve always wanted to become a singer and I will not live in fear.” She adds: “I want some kind of justice, but I will go on with my life no matter what. This is my message to all girls and women out there; don’t give up.”

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Photo credits:

  1. Andréa Medina Rosas – From www.nobelwomensinitiative.org
  2. Charlotte Campbell-Stephen – From “I Will Not Be Silenced” trailer (YouTube)
  3. Chieftainess Mwenda (Sophia Thomas Chibaye) – From www.trust.org
  4. Flavia Carvalho – From ‘This Tattoo Artist is Covering the Scars of Domestic Violence Victims Free of Charge’ (Buzzfeed)
  5. Fraidy Reiss – Courtesy of Fraidy Reiss (www.unchainedatlast.org)
  6. Hadiqa Bashia – From Hadiqa Bashir’s Facebook page
  7. Inkosi Kachindamoto – Courtesy of UN Women
  8. Madeleine Rees – From “Madeleine Rees (cropped)” by Foreign and Commonwealth Office – http://www.flickr.com/photos/foreignoffice/8650982041/in/photostream/. Licensed under OGL via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madeleine_Rees_(cropped).jpg#/media/File:Madeleine_Rees_(cropped).jpg
  9. Malika Saada Saar – Courtesy of Malika Saada Saar (www.Rights4Girls.org)
  10. Massarat Misbah – From ‘Meet The Woman Changing The Face Of Domestic Violence In Pakistan’ (Women’s Agenda)
  11. Monica Singh – Courtesy of Monica Singh (The Mahendra Singh Foundation)
  12. Muzoon Almellehan – From ‘Meet The Malala of Syria’ (Nina Strochlic/The Daily Beast)
  13. Sonita Alizadeh – From Instagram – @sonitaalizadeh
  14. Tania Rashid – Courtesy of Tania Rashid
  15. Sima Basnet – From ‘Nepalese Attack Survivors: “I Won’t Live In Fear”‘ (Sanjog Manandhar/Baltic-Review.com)
  16. Penninah Tombo – From The Los Angeles Times.

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up Against Street Harassment 2013

BraveHeartHawaii group - Anti-Street Harassment Week 4.7.13We are proud today to share the third annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. Holly receives many stories of women fighting back against street harassment by themselves or with the help of friends, family and bystanders which is shared on the Stop Street Harassment website and Facebook page to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe ones for women.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

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Empowering Response #1:  When a man began openly staring at EM’s friend’s breasts, she said really loudly to him as they passed him on the New Jersey street, “You should look where you’re going or you might fall.” He looked at her and she repeated, “Look where you’re walking.” Her friend laughed and he looked embarrassed.

HannahPrice-Story2-ImageViaBuzzFeedEmpowering Response #2: Photographer and Yale School of Art MFA student Hannah Price made international news this year with her series of stunning photos of the men who harassed her on the streets of Philadelphia, turning the lens and attention on them instead of her.

Empowering Response #3: Phillip in San Francisco, California, observed a man harassing every woman in the area. A few construction workers suggested the man stop, but he didn’t. So Philip got in his space and began making remarks about that man’s body and returned his misogyny. He said the harasser took off, almost running, while the construction workers high-fived Philip!

Empowering Response #4: Penelope lives in Sydney, Australia, and when construction for a new apartment building began next to where she lived, the constant harassment by the workers made her feel ill. She tried lots of tactics to avoid harassment but finally, she wrote a letter to the development company. It worked. She said, “I was stopped by the foreman and he politely let me know that he spoke to the men and have them stop the harassment and that if it happens again to seek him out or contact the company again.”

Empowering Response #5: Nayana was walking down a very busy road in Delhi, India. Suddenly, she felt a man “feeling up her front” with his hand. She said she was shocked! When she saw him smirking because he felt he was going to get away it, she grabbed hold of his collar and screamed at the top of her voice, “Police! Police! Help!” People gathered around her to help. The police arrived and she reported him. He ended up spending the night in jail.

Empowering Response #6: A woman was at the Metro in Virginia when she saw two guards harassing another woman. That woman cringed and walked quickly away. One of the guards then told the woman who observed it, “Let me see a SMILE on that pretty face.” She made eye contact and told him firmly, “Mind your business.” He giggled nervously and shut up.

Empowering Response #7: One day Irem was riding a city bus with her sister in Izmir, Turkey. A man would not stop staring at them. She stared back to try to make him feel uncomfortable and stop, but he just kept staring. So then Irem stood up and said to him, “Do you know us from somewhere else because you’ve been looking at us for ten minutes.” She said he was very embarrassed and that the other passengers, especially the women, laughed at him. He looked down at the floor for the rest of the ride.

Empowering Response #8: Emily pulled up beside a pickup truck at a traffic light in Sarasota, Florida. Her windows were rolled down and the two men in the truck whistled at her, laughing. She turned off her radio, turned to them and said, “You know, it’s really offensive when men whistle at a woman like she’s an animal. I don’t appreciate that. What you’re doing is called street harassment and it is unacceptable.” The driver apologized saying, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’ll stop tonight.”

Empowering Response #9: A woman was harassed by a man in an SUV while she wanted to cross the street in Minnesota, and then he drove away before she could respond, she wrote an open letter to him in the “Missed Connections” section of Craigstlist.com. Her amazing letter was shared all over the Internet and it ended with this good advice:If you really find a woman beautiful, don’t choose the juvenile selfish route that makes her feel weird and you look like an asshole. Just take a deep breath, commit the image to memory, and get on with your life. Or, if it’s really that great of an ass that you can’t possibly survive without commenting on it, post about it on CL missed connections after the fact and let her decide what to do about it.”

SarahStoryEmpowering Response #10: Sarah was visiting a friend in Buffalo, New York. As she walked through a parking garage to meet her friend, two men sitting in a truck rolled down their windows and shouted inappropriate sexual remarks at her. She turned around and walked up to the window, looked them both in the eye and calmly said, “I just wanted to let you know it is really rude to shout at someone like that, and most women do not appreciate it.” They apologized to her and said they were just trying to be nice and say hi. She told them how that behavior can be perceived as threatening. She says she “walked away feeling so positive and empowered, and I hope what I said had some impact on those men and their future behavior.”

Empowering Response #11: Robyn lives in Portland, Oregon. She was walking home from the grocery store with her seven-year-old stepson and her infant daughter when a man slowed down in his car to talk to her through his window. She felt hesitant to confront him with her kids there.  Instead of driving away, the man followed and then paced his car alongside her and her kids. “How are you doing?” he asked. She stopped and said, “I’d be a whole lot better if you weren’t doing this.” He said, “I understand,” and drove away.

Empowering Response #12: A woman in Harrogate, UK, was harassed in the morning by a fundraiser. It bothered her all day that he’d done this and when she went home that evening, she confronted him. She wrote, “He turned out to be a very nice guy who was very apologetic- he hadn’t realised how intimidating his behaviour was and was glad that I had gone back to speak to him. Being the older brother of 4 sisters he was keen to express his abhorrence of men that harass women. I was pleasantly surprised at his attitude- he was happy to listen and learn. It gave me hope!

Empowering Response #13: Each time Maria’s sister walked from the bus stop to her home in Colombia, a man across the street yelled sexual comments at her. His harassment upset her a lot. Maria was worried that since the man knew where she and her sister lived, it could be unsafe for her to talk to him, so she talked to her sister’s boyfriend and he said we would talk to him. The boyfriend asked the man to please show respect for the women walking on the streets and to consider their safety. His admonition worked and the man never harassed Maria’s sister again.

EndSH_Flier4 photo credit Julie and Amy MastrineEmpowering Response #14:  Christine was at a nightclub with a friend in Maynooth, Ireland, when a man groped her friend’s breast, then smiled as he walked away. Her friend froze in shock, but Christine “saw red.” She ran after him, matched his pace, and then reached around and grabbed his balls. She said, “He doubled over and I held on as I leaned in and spoke directly into his ear: ‘It’s not so nice when someone touches you without your permission, is it?’” She said she walked away and when she turned back, he looked very confused and uncomfortable.

Empowering Response #15: When D was street harassed by two different men in a short distance, she said, “No!” loudly to them each. A woman nearby saw both interactions and said, “Thank god for you!” and said something about how more people need to speak up against this. “I have to,” I said. “It [street harassment] is ridiculous.” D wrote, “I didn’t get a chance to thank her for supporting me in standing up against harassment. Usually when people see me standing up to harassers they either ignore it, think it’s funny, or tell me that I bring this stuff upon myself for taking harassment too seriously. So when I do encounter people who support standing up against street harassment, it feels great to know that there are people who think that this is a problem.”

Empowering Response #16: Fern was dressed up for an interview when two men on the street commented about her looks. She ignored them and one of them yelled, “What, you can say thank you?” She felt angry that a man expected her to thank him for his unsolicited and unwanted comments and asked him, “Why do I need to thank you? Did you do me a favor? Did you help me?” He was surprised and told her not to be uptight. She said, “I didn’t ask you to look at me. In fact, I wish you wouldn’t.” She then left.

The Pixel Project Selection 2012: 16 Songs About Violence Against Women (and Staying Strong and Positive)

One of the most powerful and creative methods of raising awareness about taboo subjects like Violence Against Women (VAW) is through music and song. From medieval bards to protest folk singers of the 1960s to today’s Pop, Rock and Country songwriters, musicians, singers and songwriters continue to play a vital role in spreading the message about social issues via heartfelt lyrics and musical hooks that ensure that the song stays with the listener until the message sinks in.

As part of championing the power of music to educate, enlighten and help with social change, The Pixel Project presents our 2012 selection of 16 songs about or related to VAW and women’s empowerment. While there have always been songs that are very explicit about domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of VAW, we have, like last year, select a mix of songs about VAW and songs that empower women because it is crucial to get a balance between the reality of violence and the message of hope for survival and healing. Continue reading

16 Striking Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

While we at The Pixel Project always seek to emphasise the positive, the fact remains that, in many places in the world, activists working to end Violence Against Women (VAW) face considerable obstacles:  denial of the problem; cultural taboos that prevent open and honest discussion; viewing VAW as a “women’s issue instead of a human issue; and hostility from men’s rights activists and extremists who seek to keep women “in their place.”  The latter was tragically and recently seen in the early October shooting of Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

Given the hostility they often face,  many VAW activists recognise that they have to be more creative than activists working in more popular causes (e.g. cancer, children’s issues, animal rights and the green movement). A sense of humour and a penchant for effecting change from within also does not go amiss. Continue reading