The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Of The Pixel Project’s Best Interview Articles

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For the past 8 years, The Pixel Project has worked at the intersection of social media, pop culture, the arts, journalism, activism, and new technologies to shine a light on the the many ways violence against women (VAW) affects the lives of women and girls in communities and cultures worldwide.

Blogging is one of the major pillars of our social media-driven awareness-raising and educational work. More than any other social media platforms that we use, blogging empowers us to present in-depth articles, op-eds and interviews that go beyond the soundbites. As we grew as an anti-VAW organisation, we have gradually focused our blogging efforts on interviews to help activists, allies and survivors tell their stories and share their ideas with others first-hand.

In 2016, we marched on with our annual interview-format blogging campaigns:

Together, these interviews form an inspirational tapestry of ideas, stories, and calls-to-action from remarkable individuals, communities and allies that are at the front lines of bringing the change that is so desperately needed to end VAW.

If you have missed any of our blog interview campaigns this year or are new to The Pixel Project’s work, this selection of this year’s 16 best Pixel Project blog interview articles of 2016 will be a great starting point. We hope that the stories we share motivate you to join the effort to end VAW.

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

Written and compiled by Regina Yau and Suloshini Jahanath. Introduction by Regina Yau.

All headshots courtesy of the interviewees.
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Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #1: Survivor Stories Interview – Becky Paroz, Australia

becky-paroz_headshotcWhile Becky had an award-winning career as a project manager in the construction industry, her alter ego Bekstar was the personality that learned to manage the outcomes of growing up in a domestic violence situation and being diagnosed with a crippling disease while still a teenager. Her published writings capture her insights, journey, horror and humour that encapsulates her life, including the solutions she found to live her life to the fullest. Speaking about how she went about rebuilding her life after escaping her situation, she says: My main thought for the aftermath is that while I could not choose what happened to me during [my father’s] controlling years, I could certainly choose my actions beyond that point. Making conscious choices about what I want as a person, instead of what I don’t want as a result of those experiences, is the most clear way I can phrase how I have become the successful person I am today.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #2: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Bernardo Rosa Rodriguez, Portugal

Bernardo Rodriguez is a public relations professional in Brussels who has lived in Rome, Jakarta and Washington DC. He has contributed to progressive political groups and campaigns (including women’s human rights causes) for many years. When talking about how dads can help stop VAW, he says: “The first step is to set the example and treat all girls and women respectfully and as equals. […]Young men need to be told that being a man is not about force or domination. It’s about respecting others and not being afraid to stand up and call out abusive language or behaviour, even (especially!) in your own circles. Because it’s time this stops being acceptable.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #3: Survivor Stories Interview – Elizabeth K. Switaj, USA and Marshall Islands

elizabeth-switaj_croppedElizabeth is a survivor of intimate relationship violence. She currently teaches literature, creative writing and composition at the College of the Marshall Islands on Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, where she lives with four formerly feral cats, including one with twisted back legs. She is the author of literary guide James Joyce’s Teaching Life and Methods and a collection of poems, Magdalene & the Mermaids. Speaking about ways to end VAW, she says: We need better education about what healthy relationships look like. When I say education, I’m not referring only to formal in-school lessons, but also to media narratives. As an academic, my specialisation is pedagogy in literature. If the experimental texts of High Modernism can teach readers how to understand them, then surely texts can show us how to have relationships without violence and how to recognise and escape toxic situations.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #4: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Evanson Njeru, Kenya

evanson-njeru_croppedEvanson Njeru is a community social worker and human rights activist who grew up on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Although he struggled a lot as a village boy who didn’t have many opportunities, he eventually attained a college education. Evanson is now the founder of Compassion CB – an organisation that advocates for the right of women and girls in Kenya through education and sustainable development, as well as anti-female genital mutilation campaigns in villages and schools. When talking about how fathers and how other male role models can help the younger generation step up to prevent VAW, he had this to say: Fathers and other male role models must take up the challenge of being men fighting for the rights of women. Men could help come up with policies that promote rights for women and girls. Young men and boys should be educated and made to understand that violence against women is a violation of human rights. They should also be made to understand some cultural beliefs undermine women and violate their rights.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #5: Inspirational Interview – Fraidy Reiss, United States of America

headshot Fraidy Reiss_croppedFraidy Reiss is a forced marriage survivor and the founder of Unchained At Last, a nonprofit organisation in the U.S. dedicated to helping women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives. Unchained provides free legal and social services and emotional support, while also raising awareness and pushing for relevant legislation. Fraidy says: “I wish I knew exactly how to end violence against women forever. I don’t, but I know that we move closer to that goal when we, women and men, are vigilant and outspoken – that is, when we identify and call attention to instances of institutionalised patriarchy and sexism. We must not overlook or accept; we must not become complacent.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #6: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – John Nolan, Australia.

john-nolan_croppedJohn Nolan is the Founder and Director of DadsUNI, a Christian ministry assisting in the development of strong families in modern society with a focus on the role of young fathers. DadsUNI teaches the elements of Understanding, Nurturing and Imparting to assist young dads in this all-important role. ’52 Tips For Fathers’ is their most popular course and available for free on their website. When talking about ways to prevent VAW, he says: I personally believe that the change required in our society to stop violence against women must be addressed by using many different approaches, and without doubt positive male role models do play an important part. Learned behaviours are passed down from generation to generation – violent fathers create violent sons. It is a behavioural cycle of abuse and/or violence, and it is our job to look for ways to break that cycle.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #7: Survivor Stories Interview – Leslie Ann Epperson, United States of America

leslie-epperson_croppedLeslie Ann Epperson is an Emmy Award winning cultural and natural history documentary filmmaker for PBS affiliates who endured sexism and misogyny in television and was in an abusive marriage for many years. Leslie is now dedicated to following her own path, and takes great joy in mentoring younger women artists and filmmakers. When talking about stopping VAW, she says: “Education is key. We must teach our children to respect all of life, human and otherwise, and learn to care for ourselves, each other, and our world in equal measure. It is a spiritual journey, and I think humanity is on the right path, even though it often seems too slow. Much has changed in my lifetime—and much remains to be transformed. We must teach children that love really is the answer, and that violence never works. Violence only begets more of the same.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #8: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Michael Cheang, Malaysia.

michael-cheang_croppedMichael is a journalist with a daily newspaper in Malaysia, specialising in entertainment and beverage news. He has a strong interest in all things pop culture, like Star Wars, Transformers, and he is trying to share these interests with his 2-year-old daughter. When speaking about ways to educate the younger generation to step up and prevent VAW, he says: A father has to take a stand against this sort of thing and be more proactive in educating his kids about violence against women, and that it is NOT okay to hit women (or even other men, for that matter). If the son should come across incidents like that and tell the father, the father should not brush it off as someone else’s problem, and should instead educate the son properly on why it is wrong.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #9: 30 for 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Mike Toma, Iraq

mike-toma_croppedMike is from Iraq and is a progressive, freethinking individual with open ideologies on political and governmental reforms. He has a BA in Business Administration and currently working towards a master’s in project management. He is also a science and astronomy enthusiast with an interest in the betterment of education, an advocate for free college education, social democratic reforms and science literacy among common people. When talking about how fathers and how other male role models can help the younger generation step up to prevent VAW, he says: If my child views me as someone who values her/his mother, they will understand that this is the way to treat others. If my son sees me respecting his mother, he will have that attitude towards other women. If my daughter sees how I treat her mother with care and respect, she will understand that she has the right to defend herself and not take any kind of verbal and/or physical abuse and not allow others to take advantage of her.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #10: Survivor Stories Interview – Palesa Mompe, South Africa

palesa-mompei_croppedPalesa Mompe is a survivor of child rape and sexual abuse. Now an active member of CLIMB Against Sexual Abuse, she has retired from the corporate world and is actively involved in transforming young people to new thinking where they can explore a different view of themselves and their realities. She spends her time working as a facilitator and coach with NGOs that aim to promote health on a social and economic level. In her interview with The Pixel Project, she says: “I would like women to remember that no matter the circumstances of the abuse, we never ask nor do we deserve the violation and humiliation that comes with abuse. It is critical to find our voice because silence is a way of allowing the perpetrator to silence us. We give power to them and increase myths such as victim-blaming.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #11: Inspirational Interview – Rujuta Teredesai, India

rujuta-teredesai_croppedRujuta Teredesai Heron, co-founder of Equal Community Foundation, has been working in the development sector for around 10 years. She specialises in programme management, fundraising, and communications. Having studied English Literature and Print Journalism, she is a trained journalist. She joined the Equal Community Foundation because she has tremendous faith in the concept of engaging boys and men as a part of the solution. Rujuta says: “Men’s attitudes and behaviours towards women are the root cause of the problem of violence and discrimination against women and girls. If we are to solve this problem, then we must engage boys and men in the solution. Unfortunately, a majority of men do not have the opportunity to learn about equality and the role they play in it. We recognise that we need to provide boys and men with knowledge, skills, peer support and leadership/role models to prevent violence and discrimination against women.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #12: Inspirational Interview – Sahar Khan, India

sahar-khan_croppedSahar Khan is founder of the Stanford and Hyderabad-based tech platform Zariya that connects women who face VAW with help in a swift and safe manner. When talking to The Pixel Project about Zariya’s work at the intersection of anti-VAW activism and new technologies, she says: “Survivors do not have singular needs but a multitude of needs (legal, economic, medical etc.); hence there is a obligation for a coordination mechanism among providers on the ground. We aim to build the strong coordination mechanisms between the variety of services and expedite necessary knowledge and action between them to deliver the best outcome for survivors.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #13: Inspirational Interview – Sayydah Garrett, Canada and Kenya

sayydah-garrett_croppedBorn in Montreal, Canada, Sayydah Garrett is the Co-Founder & President of Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) which aims to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Samburu County, Kenya. Together with PCF’s Co-Founder, Samuel Leadismo, Sayydah runs PCF’s anti-FGM programmes which is built on helping Samburu’s families and communities have a stake in ending FGM while helping girls get an education for a brighter future. Sayydah says: “The Samburu community now prefers education as the Alternative Rite of Passage to replace FGM. By educating both girls and boys there is a greater chance that we will succeed in eradicating FGM and child marriage. Workshop attendees learn the great benefits of not mutilating girls. Our workshops are wildly popular! The youth understand that when girls are healthy, educated, happy and enjoying life, things are better for everyone.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #14: Inspirational Interview – Tania Rashid, Bangladesh

Tania Rashid_croppedTania Rashid, a freelance correspondent, multimedia journalist working in print and photography, and the producer of the short documentary, “A Crime Unpunished: Bangladeshi Gang Rape”.  She has covered human interest stories for Vice News in Bangladesh on gang rape and the lives of sex workers. Most recently Rashid hosted a piece for Al Jazeera’s 101 East on child marriage. When talking to The Pixel Project about how the mainstream media can do better with reporting on VAW, Tania recommended the following: “The media needs to give voices to journalists of colour – female journalists of colour, because we have access to worlds and terrains that a parachute reporter probably would never get. The first step is for the media to recognise and give a chance to reporters who can bring these very deep stories to light in a respectful way, and with understanding of a particular culture, where it is not just anthropological or half-assed. That is what I do, and I think more women should have that opportunity.”

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #15: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Campaign Interview – Travis Greenley, Canada

travis-greenley_croppedA proud father to an 11 year old daughter, Travis joined Family Transition Place (FTP), which is the organisation in his community trying to promote gender equality and stop violence against women and girls. He helped start and volunteers for a men’s engagement committee (MENtors) and is also a Youth Educator with FTP. He travels to schools to promote, role model for and teach youth about healthy and unhealthy relationships and all its related topics (stereotypes, empathy, discrimination, self-esteem). Speaking about to educating the younger generation on ways to prevent VAW, he says: I believe that as a society we need to spend less time telling men and boys what not to do. Instead, we need to empower boys and men with what they can do to make a positive difference in our culture. We should encourage them to become educated on the issue of violence against women and gender inequality.

Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #16: Inspirational Interview – Yasi Safinya-Davies, United States of America

dr-yasi-safinya-davies_croppedDr. Yasi Safinya-Davies has been serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault since 2009. She completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology. Her professional focus is specific to issues concerning women, the impacts of trauma, and severe/chronic psychological conditions. In October 2015, she became the executive director of SAVE, a domestic violence nonprofit in Californa. When talking about how communities can mitigate the risks of VAW, she says: “As a community, we can mitigate these challenges by providing girls equal opportunities to education, by examining our permission of male dominance and aggression, by eliminating the purchasing of girls and women as commodities. We can keep score and publicise the equitable or inequitable practices toward women of corporations, education systems, politicians, and advertising agencies. We can make it safe to say, “I am a survivor.”  We can acknowledge that domestic violence affects all of us.”

16 Ideas and Actions To Avoid and Stop Victim Blaming

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One of the major factors that impede the eradication of violence against women (VAW) in communities and cultures worldwide is victim blaming. Victim-blaming norms place the blame for domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault squarely on the victim while absolving the perpetrator from guilt or fault. This toxic and insidious attitude is rooted in the patriarchy and is set in place long before any attack is carried out. For example: adults admonishing girls and young women not to drink when they go out, school policies that police what girls wear so that they do not distract boys at school, the slut shaming of women who have premarital sex in conservative cultures, and girls being taught to avoid public spaces after dark.

This culture of saddling women and girls with the sole responsibility for their own safety not only restricts and hinders their daily lives, but also has devastating consequences for victims in cases of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Judges in rape trials across the world have asked victims why they couldn’t “keep their knees together” or if they had tried “closing [their] legs”. In domestic violence cases, judges and lawyers use victim-blaming terms such as “volatile relationship” and “jealous anger” to minimise the accountability of men who abuse their wives and partners. And in high-profile cases like Amber Heard’s divorce from Johnny Depp for his abusive behaviour and in the Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic violence case, many fans (including female fans) rush to defend their male idols while shaming the victims despite indisputable evidence of abuse. As Rihanna noted in an interview: “The victim gets punished over and over.”

The challenge with dismantling victim-blaming attitudes lies in the fact that it is so pervasive that most people do it automatically. From refusing to believe a domestic violence victim by saying ‘I wasn’t there so I don’t know’ to teaching girls to avoid alcohol when they socialise, putting the onus on women to avoid abuse is a knee-jerk reaction for many people.

In this 16 For 16 article, we present 16 actionable ideas as a starting point to inspire you to to stop victim blaming, whether it’s adjusting your own behaviour, holding a perpetrator responsible for his behaviour, changing your community’s attitude towards victim blaming, or helping a victim or survivor.

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

Written, researched, and compiled by Regina Yau.

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Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #1: Begin by Believing 

Silence surrounds domestic and sexual violence in society because victim blaming and shaming makes it a taboo topic for discussion. When victims try to speak out, they encounter disbelief and dismissal from family and friends. So when a friend or family member tells you that she is being abused by her husband or partner or that she has been raped, believe her. Even if the perpetrator is your friend or another family member, believe her. And let her know that you believe her.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #2: Repeat After Me: “It Is Not Your Fault.”

Assure the victim that it is not her fault and reinforce this by listening to what she says about her experience. When telling their story, it is normal for some victims to sometimes attribute part of the blame to themselves because they too have internalised victim-blaming norms. If this is the case, continue listening but also consistently reassure her that it is not her fault. If other people blame the victim, speak up to remind them and emphasise that it is not her fault.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #3: Hold The Perpetrator Accountable

People who are abusive or violent towards others often try to explain away or rationalise their actions by blaming their victim. If you hear a perpetrator saying this, do not believe him. If you are in a position to push back, do so by verbally repeating his actions to him and reminding him that he alone decided to abuse, assault, or rape his victim when there were other choices of action available. Do not let him make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, circumstances or drugs for his behaviour. If you can, get help from a rape crisis centre, domestic violence charity or women’s rights organisation in your area to build a case for filing a report with the relevant authorities while providing support and care for the victim.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #4: Challenge The Enablers

Thanks to the pervasiveness of victim-blaming, there will be other people who will believe the perpetrator, especially friends and family members who either cannot reconcile the individual they know with the violent criminal action he took against another person. Oftentimes, they will defend him by lashing out at the victim. When you encounter this, check that the victim is all right (if she is present) and then remind the victim-blamers that it was the perpetrator who made the choice to abuse or rape and counter every victim blaming excuse they make for him.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #5: Mind Your Language

One of the ways in which we perpetuate victim blaming is the way we talk about it. Typically, language surrounding domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault focuses our attention on the victim instead of the perpetrator. For example: it is common for many people to talk about the case as “Mary was raped” or “Mary is a rape victim”. This subtly cuts out the perpetrator from the discussion while putting the victim in the spotlight. So be mindful of the way you talk about VAW cases. Try using an active sentence such as “James raped Mary” to make sure the blame stays where it should stay – with the perpetrator.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #6: Ask The Right Questions

When there is news about domestic violence, rape, or sexual assault, the first question many people often ask is: “What was she wearing?”, “Was she drinking too much?” or “What did she do to provoke him?”. These questions generally go unchallenged because of victim-blaming culture and the belief that women are responsible for their own safety. Instead of going with the flow, ask the hard questions that get to the heart of the crime and puts the spotlight back on the perpetrator such as “Why did he rape her?” and “What is law enforcement/the judiciary doing to hold the perpetrator accountable?”.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #7: Turn It Into A Teachable Moment

There are a number of typical questions and assumptions that are expressed by people when they hear about a VAW case. These range from “Why was she out so late at night anyway?” to “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change”. Use these attempts to displace accountability onto the victim as an opportunity to school the people who say them about VAW and the importance of holding the perpetrator accountable for his actions. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a great starter resource which helps answer many typical accountability-interrupting questions.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #8: Hold The Media Accountable

The way the media reports about VAW is a major factor in upholding and perpetuating victim-blaming culture. A 2015 study into the international reporting of violence against women has found that media often sensationalises domestic violence against women and shifts the focus away from the perpetrator. If you see your local or national newspaper or news channel reporting on VAW cases in this way, call them out on it and challenge them to do better. Some of the ways you can do that include writing a public letter to the editor or starting an online petition asking them to rethink their approach.

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Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #9: Hold The Judiciary Accountable

One of the most damaging influences of victim blaming is the judges presiding over VAW cases who hold victim-blaming attitudes themselves. Such attitudes frequently result in abusers and rapists walking free or being handed extremely lightweight sentences. Such verdicts re-traumatise victims and legitimise victim blaming. Take action against this in various ways by protesting unfair verdicts and victim-blaming behaviour by judges through petitions and open letters, and taking action to get the judge to be recalled or disciplined as the residents of Palo Alto and Stanford University students did in the Brock Turner case.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #10: Call Out Rape Jokes

One of the ways in which victim-blaming attitudes are normalised is through rape jokes. By making light of rape and sexual assault, these jokes trivialise the trauma that survivors face by making rape and rape survivors a laughing stock for public amusement. The most basic way you can challenge rape jokes is by calling it out immediately – state that it makes you uncomfortable, state why it makes you uncomfortable, and ask the person making the joke to consider the negative effects of the joke. For example: “I know a few rape survivors. This joke isn’t funny. How would you feel if you were raped and someone made fun of your trauma?”.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #11: Vote With Your Wallet

Pop culture reflects the beliefs, moods, and norms of wider society. So it is no surprise that VAW appears in books, comics, music, movies, comedy, TV series, fashion, social media and even advertisements. Rape in particular is often treated as a convenient plot device, even going as far as to portray the rapist in a sympathetic light. In a number of very popular movies and TV series, rape and sexual assault are normalised and even used for comedic effect. And a number of advertising agencies still produce ads that use images and footage of VAW for their clients. The best way to push back? Vote with your wallet – simply refuse to by the products sold by companies, artists, designers, and creators who contribute to the narrative of rape culture and victim blaming or get advertisers to pull their ad spend or sponsorship of the product. And get your friends to join you in this boycott.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #12: Get Educated About Violence Against Women (VAW)

Many people fall back on victim blaming because they buy into the myths surrounding VAW. These include false assumptions such as “If she doesn’t fight back, then it isn’t rape” or “If he was violent, why doesn’t she have bruises?”. This leads to the victim being treated with suspicion or not being taken seriously if she isn’t the “perfect victim” who fought back against her rapist or who is visibly abused by her partner. Begin proactively addressing any victim-blaming tendencies you may have by learning about VAW, how to recognise signs of abuse, and why rapists rape. Check out the websites of anti-VAW organisations like The Pixel Project to get information and resources to start you off.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #13: Get Educated About Consent

Recognising the importance of sexual consent in relationships and learning how to check for consent before sex is a crucial part of preventing rape and sexual assault. However, this topic is still not widely taught as part of sex education in schools worldwide. As such, many people (even adults) still do not understand what consent looks like. One of the consequences of this lack of awareness about what consent is and looks like is that many people falsely assume that a victim consents to violence when she fails to fight back or to tell the perpetrator to stop. To avoid making this assumption that directly feeds into victim blaming, take the initiative to learn about consent – what it looks like, how to tell when consent is absent, and how to recognise situations when consent is impossible.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #14: Start With The Kids

No child is born knowing how to victim-blame. They learn to victim-blame from the adults around them – sometimes by observing and absorbing victim-blaming behaviour as the norm, sometimes by directly being taught to do so (and enabled) by their parents, teachers, coaches and other adults. If you have kids or if you work with kids, take action to teach them about the importance of consent, gender equality, and respecting women and girls. Talk to your sons and the boys you teach or mentor about why VAW is wrong and how to speak up when their peers make light of VAW. Acknowledge that you are a role model for the children around you whether you like it or not and make sure to set a good example of not victim blaming when discussing high profile VAW cases in your community and in the media.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #15: Get Your Community Educated

A good start to eradicating victim-blaming attitudes from your community or neighbourhood is to start educating as many people as possible about VAW and the importance of supporting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable regardless of their standing in the community. This can be done in collaboration with your local rape crisis centre, domestic violence nonprofit, women’s organisation or police community outreach officers who can work with the community, local schools and local companies to organise and implement talks, townhall meetings and other group sessions to talk about this issue.

Suggestion for Smashing Victim Blaming #16: And Finally – Always Support Victims and Survivors

At the heart of victim blaming is the goal of taking away support for victims and survivors in order to protect the perpetrator. Break that cycle by stepping up to unequivocally support VAW victims and survivors. There are many ways you can do so, including speaking up to intervene when victims and survivors are being shamed or attacked by victim-blamers, helping survivors find the resources that they need to heal and rebuild their lives, and accompanying them to court if they choose to try to bring their attacker to justice. And listen to victims and survivors – always listen and believe victims and survivors.

The Pixel Project Selection 2016: 16 Striking Anti-Violence Campaigns for the Cause to End Violence Against Women

Give Peace a ChanceEvery year, we at The Pixel Project come across a wide variety of innovative and powerful campaigns tackling Violence Against Women (VAW) by our fellow activists and non-profits from around the globe, and 2016 is no exception. From using tattoos to reclaiming public spaces through bike-riding, activists and campaigners all around the world have had an extraordinarily busy year.

We acknowledge that anti-VAW campaigners put themselves in perilous situations to advocate for the safety of others and we are immeasurably grateful for their bravery. From women marching the streets to women combating harassment online, each and every action, large or small, counts.

So today, in honour of all VAW activists, nonprofits and grassroots groups who toil in such thankless situations to bring about positive change to the lives of women and girls facing violence, we present 16 of the most striking campaigns/programmes we have come across in the last year of our work.

What these campaigns have in common are:

  • The built-in “water-cooler” factor that gets the community buzzing about the campaign and by extension, the issue of VAW.
  • A good sense of what works in and for the culture and community where the activist/nonprofit/grassroots group is trying to effect change.

We hope that these campaigns and initiatives inspire you to take action and get on board the cause to end VAW.

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

Written and compiled by Rubina Singh. Additional content by Regina Yau

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Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #1:  Brides do Good – Worldwide

Launched on International Day of the Girl Child this year by Chantal Khoueiry, Brides Do Good is a social enterprise and campaign with the aim of ending child marriage. In partnership with Plan International and Too Young to Wed, Brides Do Good provides a platform for women to sell their expensive bridal gowns and one-third of the profits are donated to charities working to end child marriage.

Brides Do Good from Brides Do Good on Vimeo.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #2: #Everywoman  – The Philippines

Using the hashtag #EveryWoman, women across the Philippines came together against slut-shaming and VAW in the country. An alleged sex tape of Senator Leila de Lima was made public leading to outrage against the video being used to shame her as a form of violence against women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #3: Fancy Women on Bikes – Turkey

“Fancy Women On Bikes” is a national women’s movement in Turkey that is moving to reclaim public spaces for women through bike rides in groups. Founder Sema Gur used social media to mobilise her friends to cycle with her so as to raise awareness about the issues women experience in the streets and traffic. And so the Fancy Women on Bikes movement was born with clear and precise message: “We should go wherever we want, dress however we like, be visible, yet not be disturbed.”

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Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #4:  Girls at DhabasPakistan

Girls at Dhabas started in 2015 as an Instagram post by Sadia Khatri and developed into a movement to reclaim public spaces in Pakistan this year. Dhabas are small, open air restaurants found in South Asia where women are rarely seen alone. In their effort to increase women’s public participation, the movement encourages women to reclaim public spaces like dhabas.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #5: Give The Red Card – Pacific Islands

Launched on 10 November 2016, the Give The Red Card campaign is an effort by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and UNICEF to engage with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup teams to galvanise sporting champions who will stand together and speak out against VAW. Under this campaign, participating countries and football teams will engage with a celebrity male football player in their home country to stand with the team and help to advocate against VAW in their communities.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #6: “I’ll Never Be Silent”  – Brazil

VAW is rampant across Latin America, with some of the worst cases taking place in Brazil. Triggered by the gang-rape of a 16 year old girl in April 2016, activist group Rio de Paz protested against VAW by showcasing photographs by photographer Marcio Freitas themed ‘I’ll Never Be Silent’ along with 420 pairs of underwear on Copacabana Beach. The number of underwear represents the number of women who are raped every 72 hours in Brazil.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #7: “Men wear Mini-skirts” March – The Netherlands

To protest against the violence against women in Cologne, Germany in January 2016, men gathered in Amsterdam wearing miniskirts. The protest was in response to comments blaming the assault on the women’s attire rather than addressing the behavior of the perpetrators.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #8:  #MoreThanMean – United States of America

#MoreThanMean is a video and podcast to raise awareness about the harassment faced by women in sports. The video shows men reading some of the ‘mean tweets’ targeted at female sports journalists including rape and death threats. The men cringe as they read out these tweets to the journalists sitting in front of them. The underlying theme of the video is to showcase how these tweets are more than just ‘mean tweets’ and are actually abuse.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #9: #NeinHeisstNein (No Means No)  – Germany

This year, a ‘No means No’ law was passed by Germany to address gaps in the law regarding violence against women in the country. Along with many protests and campaigns for years, the move was preceded by a campaign by UN Women Germany and activist Kristina Lunz using the hashtag #NeinHeisstNein (No means no).

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #10:  #NotOkay  – Worldwide

Following disturbing comments made by Donald Trump, President-Elect of the USA, Canadian author Kelly Oxford decided it was #NotOkay. She started tweeting stories about her own experiences with sexual assault and invited her followers to share more using the hashtag #NotOkay. 27 million tweets later, the hashtag has translated into a symbol for the unacceptability of sexual assault within and outside USA.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #11:  Pinjra Tod (Break the Hostel Locks) – India

Women’s hostels and rental accommodations in India are known for stringent curfews and sexist rules like forbidding women from coming in late or staying out at night. Pinjra Tod, literally translates to ‘break the cage’, and that is precisely what this collective of women students, alumni and allies in New Delhi is trying to do. Their tactics range from open discussions to online petitions to graffiti. Along with trying to end sexism in educational institutions, they are also trying to ensure that anti-sexual harassment committees in colleges and universities are active.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #12: Silent Anti-Rape Protests Against President Zuma – South Africa

Four women came together for a silent protest against President Jacob Zuma during his address at the Independent Electoral Commission in Tshwane, South Africa. President Zuma was accused of raping his friend’s daughter, known in the media as Khwezi, in 2005. The charge was dismissed in 2006 amidst protests. The demonstration brought to light the sad state of the South African judicial system when it comes to addressing issues of violence against women.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #13:  Stop it at the Start – Australia

Developed by the Australian government, Stop it at the Start is an ad campaign to highlight the need to address violence against women and violent behavior from the beginning. The campaign shows disrespectful behavior between a boy and girl which eventually converts into violent behavior as they age.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #14: Temporary Tattoos  –  Germany

Sexual assault against young girls in Germany is on the rise. To raise awareness about the issue, Veronika Wascher-Goggerle, the Women’s and Family Representative from Bodensee district in Baden-Wurttemberg has started an awareness campaign with temporary tattoos. Temporary tattoos were distributed to young girls to talk to young girls at swimming pools about sexual assault.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #15: The Pink Ladoo Project – United Kingdom and South Asia

In South Asian communities, ladoos (a traditional sweet) are traditionally distributed on the birth of a male child. Taking into account the sexism and violence against women that starts at birth, Raj Khaira initiated the Pink Ladoo Project to encourage South Asian families to celebrate the birth of a girl child by distributing pink ladoos and to address the gender bias from the start.

Striking Anti-VAW Campaign #16: The Unacceptable Acceptance LetterUnited States of America

To address the issue of campus sexual assault in USA, a campaign was developed by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in collaboration with the production company PRETTYBIRD and the women’s rights advocacy group Ultraviolet. The campaign includes a print ad and six videos of high school students reading out their college acceptance letters, with a twist at the end highlighting the plight of campus sexual assault survivors.

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Photo credits:

  1. Photo from Thousands of ‘Fancy Women on Bikes’ defy intimidation to claim the streets of Turkey” (Didem Tali/Women Of The World/New York Times)
  2. Photo from “Activists Launch No More Rape Campaign” (Filipe Dana/The Daily Beast)

The Pixel Project VAW e-News Digest — ’16 for 16′ 2016 Edition

news-coffee9-150x150Welcome to our annual “16 for 16” Special Edition of The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest. In this edition, we bring you the top 16 news headlines in each category related to violence against women over 2016.

2016 is remembered by many for its significant cultural and world events, and this is no exception for the news and developments about violence against women. While there have been distressing news such as violent acts going viral and politicians identified with rape culture, there has also been growing awareness, bolder acts of resistance and progress in legislation.

Here are the 16 biggest trending VAW headlines of 2016:

Every contribution matters. If you have any news you’d like to share about violence against women, please email The Pixel Project at info@thepixelproject.net. If you prefer to receive up-to-the-minute news concerning violence against women, follow us on Twitter .

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

With all good wishes,
The Pixel Project Team


General Violence Against Women


 Domestic Violence


Rape and Sexual Assault


 Human/Sex Trafficking


 Female Genital Mutilation


 Forced Marriage and Honour Killing


Activism

16 Games to Help Stop Violence Against Women

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Video games have long been demonised as promoting and contributing to sexism, misogyny, and violence against women (VAW). Popular games like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption have VAW (including rape and sexual assault) built into their gameplay and game worlds, leading critics to observe that they are rewarding players for acting out their fantasies of VAW which may translate into real-world behaviour.  Indeed, the violently misogynist Gamergate movement which attacked women in the gaming community and industry, including Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu, reinforces this perception of gaming and gamers.

What critics may have overlooked is that games can also be used to help prevent VAW and promote gender equality. Some experts have even put forth the case that violent video games may, in fact, help to reduce violence in general. In recent years, a growing number of game designers, women’s organisations, and anti-violence nonprofits have started using the potential impact of ICT and gaming, with many new games being developed to increase awareness about the impact of VAW, bystander intervention, consent in relationships among young people in particular. The games that these people create range from PC games and Facebook games to mobile applications and even board games. These games seek to educate players about VAW and simulate the experience of VAW for players or sometimes just start the conversation around VAW.

In this article, we present a list of 16 games that are designed to help stop VAW. This is just a starting point which we hope will encourage and inspire more people to start seeing games as tools and gaming communities as potential allies with enormous potential for creating positive consequences in the battle against VAW.

Written and compiled by Rubina Singh; Additional content and research by Regina Yau.

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Game Against VAW #1: A Casual ChatSphere 9 – USA

A Casual Chat was the winner of the 2016 Life.Love.Game Design Challenge produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group and aims to increase awareness about teen dating violence. The game invites players to interact with Katie, a high school senior and follow her story about her relationship with her boyfriend.

 

Game Against VAW #2: After Party – Sonder Games, Abertay University – United Kingdom

Students from Abertay University have developed After Party – a game on the importance of consent in relationships. After Party recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Games4Health competition at Utah University, USA.

 

Game Against VAW #3: Angry Brides – Shaadi.com – India

Angry Brides is a Facebook Game developed by a matrimonial website Shaadi.com. The game is an interactive way to raise awareness about dowry and the impact it has on women in India.

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Game Against VAW #4: Another Chance – Jean Hehn, Another Kind – Belgium

Another Chance was the winner of the 2015 Life.Love.Game Design challenge produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group, a non-profit working to prevent teen dating violence. The game explores the theme of violence in relationships.

 

Game Against VAW #5: Breakaway – Champlain College Emergent Media Centre – USA

Breakaway is an interactive online video game that uses soccer as a tool to educate players about VAW and gender equality. The game was designed by the Champlain College Emergent Media Centre in Vermont, USA for the United Nations Population Fund as part of the UNiTE Campaign to End Violence against Women.


BREAKAWAY Video from Champlain College Emergent Media on Vimeo.

 

Game Against VAW #6: Bystander – Game Changer Chicago, University of Chicago – USA

As part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago, Game Changer Design Lab developed Bystander, an interactive video game to encourage young people to become active bystanders and prevent incidents of VAW.

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Game Against VAW #7: Cool-Not Cool Quiz – Futures without Violence – USA

As part of the ‘That’s Not Cool’ initiative of Futures Without Violence, the Cool-Not Cool quiz addresses the issue of teen dating violence. The game is available on mobile and online and uses an interactive quiz format to help users understand the signs of teen dating violence and dating abuse.

 

Game Against VAW #8: Decisions that Matter – Carnegie Mellon University – USA

Decisions that Matter is an interactive online game developed by students at Carnegie Mellon University as an attempt to prevent situations of sexual assault on college campuses. The game invites the player to respond to varied scenarios of sexual harassment and violence in order to be an effective bystander.

 

Game Against VAW #9: Elite Sharp CCT – Institute of Creative Technologies, University of Southern California – USA

The Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Command Team Trainer (ELITE SHARP CTT) is a training game made for the American military to address issues of sexual harassment. The games showcases scenarios that train command teams to respond to incidents of sexual harassment.

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Game Against VAW #10: Ending the Cycle – Peter Wonica and the Galerstein Women’s Center at the University of Texas at Dallas – USA

Developed initially with the Galerstein Women’s Center at the University of Texas at Dallas, Ending the Cycle is a board game designed to simulate experiences of a person in an abusive relationship. Players walk through the different phases that a survivor of domestic violence may go through while leaving an abusive relationship.

 

Game Against VAW #11: Green Acres High School – CAVA (Changing Attitudes to dating Violence in Adolescents) Project – Sweden

Green Acres High School aims to raise awareness about violence in adolescent relationships through modeled scenarios of different stages in relationships. Targeted at 12-16 year old players, the game is accompanied with resource material for teachers as well.

Game Against VAW #12: Half the Sky Movement: The Game – Frima Studio – Worldwide

The founders of the Half the Sky Movement launched a Facebook game to raise awareness and funds for empowering women and girls across the world. Players see multiple situations faced every day by women in different countries and learn about the issues faced by them.

 

Game Against VAW #13: Hannah – Lotus Media Studios – Australia

Hannah is a text-based video game that aims to raise awareness about domestic violence. The gamer is asked to use different tools to assist Hannah, who is a victim of domestic violence and help her to become a survivor. The game will be officially released at the end of this year.

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Game Against VAW #14: In Tune – Tweed Couch Games – Canada

In Tune is an interactive game where players learn about consent in physical relationships. Players make teams of two and re-create scenes of physical touch that they view on screen. They wear ‘consent bracelets’ which registers their level of comfort during the interaction through skin contact.

 

Game Against VAW #15: Mission Hazaar – Blue Ant Digital Intelligence for Breakthrough – India

As a part of their campaign to address the declining child sex ratio in India, Breakthrough developed an HTML5 game to increase awareness about the issue and engage more people in the conversation. The point-and-click game takes users across five States in India with the worst sex ratio to find hidden girls and women.

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Game Against VAW #16: PS Be Brave – Damian Hadyi (99UNO Designer) and Dario Gimenez – Argentina

With the aim of increasing awareness about relationship abuse and teen dating violence, PS Be Brave invites users to share advice and experiences around violence in relationship. The game also has useful resources to address abuse in relationships.

16 Ideas for Supporting your Local and National Rape Crisis Centres

 

When faced with a crisis, many victims feel they have nowhere to turn. Rape Crisis Centres offer a refuge and a beacon of hope to survivors, ensuring that they receive the best quality medical, mental and emotional care. Rape Crisis Centres are community-based organisations that work to help victims of rape, sexual abuse and sexual violence. These centres may serve a state, city, a college or any other community.

Rape Crisis Centres are integral to a person when in need. They offer emergency support, individual counselling, medical attention, legal advocacy, community and professional education, emergency shelter and more. Some Centres extend their programming and partnerships to offer childcare, pet care and other assistance.

Many Rape Crisis Centres are certified non-profit organisations, meaning they are supported in large parts by the generosity of their community. This support can be financial or voluntary. As part of The Pixel Project’s “16 for 16” campaign, we present 16 ideas for supporting your local and national rape crisis centres. These recommendations range from digital to in-person and from voluntary to monetary. They are simply a starting point for the many unique ways you can support rape crisis centres around the world, ensuring they can continue their missions of serving those in need.

Written, researched, and compiled by Rebecca DeLuca

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Idea recommendation #1: Support the centre’s social media efforts

Rape crisis centres and other nonprofit organisations across the world are turning to social media to reach supporters and those in need. They offer educational tools along with resources such as crisis hotline phone numbers and live chats. By supporting your local rape crisis centre on social media – through liking their page, following them on Twitter and engaging with their posts – you help to share that life-saving information to a lot more people, and help them reach those in need of their services.

Idea recommendation #2: Volunteer

Working with a limited budget, most rape crisis centres only have the operating budget to support a small number of staff. Thus, volunteering with your local rape crisis centre ensures they are able to serve more people in need. Volunteer positions vary from administrative tasks, outreach programming, and managing phones. Furthermore, many rape crisis centres will provide its volunteers with detailed training.

Idea recommendation #3: Offer pro bono resources

Your technological skills may be valuable to your local rape crisis centre, more so than simply volunteering. These skills include design, legal, accounting, computer science and more. Many rape crisis centres are in need of these skills, and offering your services for free allows the centre to spend their small budget in other areas.

Idea recommendation #4: Invite them to speak at your events

When planning an event for your school, business or community, consider the ways you can include your local rape crisis centre. When appropriate, your local rape crisis centre can set up a table to recruit volunteers, handout business cards and other information, or provide a short introduction before or after the event.

Idea recommendation #5: Become an advocate

An important way to support a rape crisis centre is ensuring that those in need are aware of their services. Becoming aware of the programmes your local centre provides, understanding the process, knowing the hours and having emergency phone numbers handy will ensure people can connect with the services they need. Asking your rape crisis centre for business cards with important information, or making your own, is an easy way to ensure you have the most accurate information with you at all times.

Idea recommendation #6: Support fundraising campaigns

In the majority of cases, rape crisis centres are certified nonprofit organisations, meaning much of their operating budget comes from the financial support of their donors. Rape crisis centres may fundraise year round, or for specific campaigns supporting special programmes. Financially supporting your rape crisis centre ensures they can acquire resources necessary to provide services to those in need. If you are unable to support the fundraiser financially, you may consider becoming a leadership volunteer for the campaign, where you will help plan events and connect with potential donors.

Idea recommendation #7: Purchase and wear swag

Promoting a rape crisis centre will connect it with those in need and potential volunteers and donors. An easy way to do this is by using the products you receive in giveaways, or purchase from the crisis centre. T-shirts, water bottles, pens, and other swag items will promote the centre’s name and programmes, encouraging other likeminded individuals to donate or volunteer.

Idea recommendation #8: Attend Events

To fundraise for their programmes, many rape crisis centres host local events within the community. These events may vary from evening galas where tables are sold, to concerts, BBQs, and smaller events. Purchasing tickets to these events and participating in fundraising activities such as silent auctions will help the rape crisis centre continue their programmeming.

Idea recommendation #9: Support them in a walk or marathon

If you enjoy running, walking or biking, consider supporting a rape crisis centre in your upcoming marathon. Marathons and walkathons are perfect opportunities to reach out to your community of peers for small donations. Crowdfunding for a rape crisis centre will not only help alleviate stress on the centre’s financial budget, but it will introduce the centre to potential donors and volunteers.

Idea recommendation #10: Tell your story

If you have been helped by a rape crisis centre, consider telling your story anonymously or publicly. You can share it on your blog, or the centre’s blog if they have one, on social media, at an event, or allow the centre to share your story on your behalf. By sharing your story you will encourage others in need to seek out refuge, and you will help potential donors and volunteers understand the benefits of the centre, encouraging them to support the cause.

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Idea recommendation #11: Graphics and Banners

During Sexual Violence Awareness Month in April, Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October or at any other time throughout the year, consider “donating” your social media profiles to the rape crisis centre of your choice. Donating your profiles are easy – you simply need to change your profile and cover photos to a specifically designed image which would include the name of the centre and emergency phone numbers. By donating your profile, you not only stand in solidarity with victims and survivors, but you provide life-saving information to your online network, some of which you may not know are in need.

Idea recommendation #12: Clothing and other in-kind gifts

Rape victims often have to turn over their clothes for evidence after a rape or assault has occurred, forcing them to wear hospital robes. Many rape crisis centres accept clothing and other in-kind gifts to give to survivors in their time in need. This simple action plays a small part in reducing the stress of the situation, and helps to give dignity back t the survivor.

Idea recommendation #13: Become a language advocate

Rape crisis centres serve clients who speak various languages. When in crisis, speaking to someone in your native language relieves some of the stress. If you are fluent in more than one language, working with your local rape crisis centre allows the organisation to reach more people and has the potential of making a troubling time easier.

Idea recommendation #14: Use your business

If you are a business owner, manager, or sell your own products, consider setting up a period of giving to support a rape crisis centre. During this period, a percent of your sales will be donated to the centre you have selected. You may also consider sponsoring an event. Both options not only benefit the rape crisis centre, but will be a source of promotion for your company.

Idea recommendation #15: Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile offers a unique way to support a rape crisis centre of your choosing. Setting up Amazon Smile is as simple as selecting the charity of your choice. At no additional cost to you, when shopping on Amazon via Amazon Smile, 0.5% of the purchase price will support the charity of your choosing.

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Idea recommendation #16: Donate your cellphone

Many rape crisis centres collect old cellphones that are still in usable conditions. Traditionally, the crisis centre will receive funds from the cellphones you donate, and that money will have a direct impact on the centre’s programmes and services. In some cases, your cellphone may even be provided to somebody in need. Donating your cellphone or organizing a cell phone drive in your community not only benefits the environment but the rape crisis centre as well.

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up to Street Harassment 2016

holly1-200x300The Pixel Project is pleased to share the sixth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment, which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of our partner Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Through Facebook and her Stop Street Harassment website, Holly receives and shares stories of women fighting back against street harassment. She shares these stories 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 for women. Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous.

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

All visuals courtesy of Stop Street Harassment.

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Empowering Response #1:

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23-year-old Ruhi Rahman was riding the train in Newcastle, England, when a man started making racially threatening comments toward her. A woman sitting next to her jumped up to help her. After she intervened, most of the other passengers also spoke up and forced the man to leave.

Empowering Response #2:

Mercedes in Washington, D.C. faces a lot of catcalls during her early morning commute to work. One morning, men in a truck kept following and harassing her (“Good morning, sexy!” etc). She said, “Normally I would ignore situations like this because men tend to be bold because they’re in their vehicle, a confined space where they feel safe enough to make unflattering remarks. Ironic. I couldn’t keep walking this time, I was so fed up. I snapped and said, ‘Shut-up. Just shut the f*** up!’. Silence. They didn’t say anything else to me. I felt good about speaking up for myself …. Ever since I snapped a lot of the catcalling I normally experience in the morning and leaving work has declined tremendously.”

Empowering Response #3:

kellyIn October after the release of a 2005 recording of American president-elect Donald J. Trump engaging in what he calls “locker room banter” about forcing himself on women, many people spoke out against his behavior. The most visible response was on Twitter.

That night, author Kelly Oxford tweeted, “Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.” By the next morning, as many as 50 women tweeted their stories per minute of first-person accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #notokay. Less than three days later, nearly 27 million people had responded or visited Oxford’s Twitter page.

Empowering Response #4:

Deanna Carter called out and shamed a man on the NYC subway who tried to masturbate in front of her. She said, “Rubbing your dick? What the f*ck are you doing? Do it again and I’m getting’ up out of this chair and I’m gonna bust your f*ckin ass on this train.” Then she told him to get off the subway at the next stop – and he did.


Empowering Response #5:

Illustrator Shehzil Malik in Pakistan became so fed up with street harassment that she created a series of images she called #WomenInPublicSpaces to “symbolise the struggle of Pakistani women who feel harassed in public spaces.”

Empowering Response #6:

Thanks to the hard work of activists in Nottingham, UK, the police force began classifying street harassment and other forms of misogyny as a hate crime and police began recording and monitoring it so they can look for trends.

Empowering Response #7:

A woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina, grew sick and tired of men harassing her during her work commute. One day a man on the street made kissy sounds at her. She turned around and told him to “stop harassing women” and “I don’t want to hear any more of your bullshit opinions about my body.” He smiled and started to harass her again. She said “I saw red, took the top off my coffee and threw the full thing in his face!” As she walked away, he called her a “Crazy, dumb bitch” but everyone around them laughed at him.

Empowering Response #8:

Milwaukee bus driver Sharon Chambers saw a girl waving in her direction. When she stopped for her, she saw that she was crying. The girl said a man had been following and harassing her. Chambers told her to get on the bus and that “no one was going to mess with her on my bus.” Chambers called the bus dispatch who notified the police. While they waited for the girl’s grandmother and the police, Chambers said, “Don’t worry about it. You are safe. I will fight for you; no one is going to hurt you.”

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Empowering Response #9:

After a passenger made a lewd comment to an Alaska Airlines flight attendant as she demonstrated how to use a safety vest, she told him to be respectful. When he disagreed, she talked to other staff, and someone came and escorted him off the plane!

Empowering Response #10

A woman was walking home from work when she encountered two men walking toward her. “Hey girl, you look sexy,” said one. She turned toward him and yelled, “Mind your own business!” She said he got the point.

Empowering Response #11:

MJ is a light-skinned Hispanic woman who was at a California fair with her friends when two Hispanic men talked about grabbing her ass in Spanish, not realiaing she could understand them. She turned and screamed, “Go ahead and try!” They literally ran away.

Empowering Response #12:

flA man in Florida liked to start talking to women in stores by asking innocent questions and then escalating quickly to inappropriate and sexually graphic remarks and questions. He filmed the women as he did so. After he did it to a woman for a second time in a few years, she recognised him and remembered his strategy and she began filming him and questioning him and ended up chasing him out of the store. He fled in his car but the police pulled him over and arrested him for reckless driving. He was then charged with video voyeurism too. Many other women came forward to report similar experiences.

Empowering Response #13:

Sarah in Denver, Colorado, was walking across the parking lot to go to work when she saw two boys across the street. One said, “I wanna lick your poop chute” and did an obscene tongue motion. His friend laughed. She noticed no cars on the street and rocks nearby and in a split second decided to cross the street and pick up a rock and threw it near him. He dodged it and ran away screaming, “You’re crazy!” She retorted, “Come back you coward! Come back and say something else to me!”

Empowering Response #14:

S.A. in India was going to meet her tutor when she noticed an ATM guard staring at her in a vulgar way. She was afraid at first but then “gathered courage.” She said, “Stop staring at me that way. It’s inappropriate.” She even threatened to hit him. “He felt quite guilty about what he did,” she wrote.

Empowering Response #15

A woman in Poughkeepsie, NY, was walking to work when two men working on the roof of a building started “hooting and hollering” at her. She stopped and yelled back, “I hope you fall off that building and are crippled for life because you’re already crippled in the head.” That shut them up completely.

Response #16:

luceLucé Tomlin-Brenner said, “I’ve been verbally, emotionally and sexually harassed by men I don’t know for more than half my life. It’s happened while walking down the street, riding on public transportation, working retail/service industry jobs, on college campuses, and while performing on stage. It’s happened in every city I’ve ever lived, visited, or worked in. It’s happened at punk shows that are supposed to be my safe places. These are not compliments, they are violations. They are threats to my mental and physical safety.” In response, artist Olivia Britz-Wheat designed a “Not Your Baby” tattoo for her at Blacklist Tattoo in Portland, Oregon

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.  

Transforming Personal Pain Into Positive Action: The Pixel Project’s 16 Female Role Models 2016

header-female-rolemodels-2016

Today is the first day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2016 campaign and The Pixel Project is kicking things off 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 16 countries and 6 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 instead to stand up for themselves and for other women and girls.

Others on this list may not have experienced gender-based violence first hand, 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.

Here in alphabetical order by first name is our 2016 list of 16 female role models. We hope that these women are an inspiration to others to get involved in the cause. 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.

Note: 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.

Written and compiled by Regina Yau

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Female Role Model 1: Balkissa Chaibou – Niger

balkissa-chaibou_croppedBalkissa Chaibou wanted to become a doctor, but when she was 12 she found out that she had been promised as a bride to her cousin. She fought to get out of the pending marriage by taking her family to court and seeking refuge at a women’s shelter until the bridegroom’s party left. Balkissa is now 19 and she campaigns for other girls to say “no” to forced marriage. She visits schools, speaks to tribal chiefs about the issue, and has also spoken at a UN summit on reducing maternal mortality, which is a health issue linked to early marriage.

Female Role Model 2: Bogaletch Gebre – Ethiopia

bogaletch-gebre_croppedBogaletch Gebre is a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) who was born in Kembatta, a region in Ethiopia where FGM was endemic and women were largely uneducated. She learned to read by visiting the church school under the pretext of collecting water and eventually received a scholarship to study in the U.S and Israel. She returned to Ethiopia to help better the lives of women and girls and has spent 16 years campaigning for women’s rights in Ethiopia. Through her relentless activism, Gebre has successfully reduced the rate of FGM in some parts of the country from 97% to just 3%.

Female Role Model 3: Clementine Ford – Australia

clementine-ford_croppedMelbourne-based Clementine Ford is an Australian feminist and author who has has written and spoken up fiercely and consistently about male violence against women, first in Adelaide’s Sunday Mail and opinion pieces in the Drum, then in the Fairfax website Daily Life. Her book Fight Like A Girl is part memoir and part polemic – detailing her development as a feminist and addressing the issue of violence against women head on. Ford is seen as a feminist who led “feminism back into the boxing ring” as she fights back against silencing and harassment online by naming and shaming men who verbally attack or threaten her, often replying to them publicly.

Female Role Model 4: Fatou Bensouda – Gambia

fatou-bensouda_croppedAs a high school student, Fatou Bensouda would sneak into nearby courts to watch the proceedings and she noticed that women in particular were not “receiving the protective embrace of the law. For me that is one of the things that informed my decision to say, ‘This is what I want to do.’” Today, Bensouda is the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC) in the Hague where she works to mete out justice to war criminals and genocidal despots. Her own position as a woman from West Africa has also informed the character of Bensouda’s ICC – she has made it an explicit goal of the court to challenge the rape and exploitation of women and children in war.

Female Role Model 5:  Frida Farrell – Sweden

frida-farrell_croppedWhen she was in her early twenties, Swedish actress Frida Farrell was tricked into attending a fake photoshoot, kidnapped, drugged and sexually trafficked to men in an apartment on London’s upmarket Harley Street. Over a decade after she escaped her abusers, Farrell co-wrote the film Selling Isobel which was based on her harrowing experiences in the hope that her story will stop other women getting into the same situation. She said: “I wanted people watching to know that it could happen to any girl,” Frida explains. “You don’t have to be foreign, poor or not speak the language. People think these kinds of things just happen to poor immigrants, but it could happen to English girls too.”

Female Role Model 6: Jacqueline de Chollet – Switzerland

jacqueline-de-chollet_croppedOver the past 30 years Jacqueline de Chollet has been active in the fields of Women’s Health, Social Justice, Education, Public Housing, and the Arts. She created the The Global Foundation for Humanity U.S. and the Association du Project Veerni to support the Veerni Project – a project that tackles the issue of child marriage in Rajasthan, India by improving the health and education girls and women in the region. de Chollet said: “We believe that by giving these girls access to education, health and the workplace, Veerni can empower them to take their rightful place in the lives of their communities and their country. Only then will they be able to exercise their human rights and live free from coercion disease and poverty.”

Female Role Model 7: Laura Dunn – United States of America

Laura Dunn is the Founder and Executive Director of SurvJustice, a national nonprofit providing legal assistance to sexual violence survivors across the U.S. She founded SurvJustice after being raped by two men from her crew team at the University of Wisconsin in April 2004. She said: “Afterwards, I struggled for years through campus, criminal and civil systems without receiving justice. Through this tragic experience, I learned about the laws and how to advocate for survivors.” In 2014, Dunn graduated the University of Maryland Carey School of Law where she received the William P. Cunningham Award for her national campus sexual assault advocacy, which includes passing the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization and advising the White House Task Force to Protect Students Against Sexual Assault.

Female Role Model 8: Loubna Abida – Morocco

Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar was vilified and assaulted for playing a local prostitute in the award-winning film Much Loved, ultimately sending her into exile as a refugee in France. However, she refuses to be silenced by fatwas, online death threats and violence. In her autobiography La Dangereuse, Abidar frankly discusses how she went from overcoming poverty, exclusion and physical and sexual attacks by her father to becoming one of North Africa’s the most acclaimed young actresses and feminist voices in recent years. In an interview with Women Of The World, Abidar said: “In the Arab world generally we have this problem of rapes committed by people known to the victims — by relatives, fathers, uncles. I don’t only talk about my own story, I have done a lot of work with activist associations, especially with little girls living in the mountains.”

Female Role Model 9: Nadia Murad Basee Tahar – Iraq

On August 3, 2014, when ISIS militants attacked Nadia Murad Basee Tahar’s village of Kocho, Iraq. Six of her nine brothers were killed. Murad (then 19 years old) and her two sisters were forced into sexual slavery while their mother was executed as she was considered too old to be a sex slave. Murad was raped, tortured, and beaten frequently until she escaped and made her way to Germany where she began devoting her life to assisting other Yazidi women and girls who have suffered as she did. Murad is now a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In September 2016, Murad announced Nadia’s Initiative which is dedicated to helping women and children victimised by genocide and crimes against humanity.

Female Role Model 10: Omaima Hoshan – Syria

omaima-hoshan_cropped15-year-old Omaima Hoshan, a Syrian refugee, runs workshops to discourage child marriage in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. “When I see young girls getting married, it scares me,” Hoshan says in a video from the United Nations refugee agency. “Girls from my home have their future lost or destroyed. This is something I can’t accept.” Hoshan leads girls in drawing, acting and lecture sessions, spreading information about underage marriage and encouraging girls to stay in school and to speak to their parents about the issue, according to Mashable.

Female Role Model 11: Rachana Sunar – Nepal

rachana-sunar_croppedWhen Rachana Sunar was 15 and still in school through a scholarship programme, she was informed by her parents she would marry a man she had never met before. Sunar escaped child marriage by misleading her parents into thinking that if she dropped out of school they’d have to pay for the past three years of her scholarship. Today, Sunar is a very vocal campaigner against child marriage in Nepal and says that dialogue is the only way to change entrenched attitudes to girls in rural Nepal.

Female Role Model 12: Radha Rani Sakher – Bangladesh

radha-rani-sarkher_croppedWhen Radha Sani Sakher was 14, she narrowly escaped an arranged marriage with the help of an educated cousin and her mother. Sakher returned to school with the help of her teachers and an aid group. Today she studies social sciences at Dinajpur’s regional university and is part of the “wedding busters” who campaign to stop child marriage. To date, she has saved 20 girls from forced marriages. Sakher’s goal is to build a centre for girls to find refuge from underage marriages until they are legally adults because “The situation has improved a little in recent years, but underage marriage still enjoys impunity.”

Female Role Model 13: Sarian Karim Kamara – Sierra Leone

sarian-karim-kamara_croppedSarian Karim Kamara underwent the brutal ritual of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) twice when she was just 11 years old. It took Kamara four years after becoming sexually active to get to know her body and experience her first orgasm. Today, she teaches other FGM survivors how to work with their bodies to experience sexual gratification and have a healthy sex life. Kamara said that an openness to explore one’s body in the wake of devastating physical trauma and a supportive sex partner are essential for FGM survivors to achieve sexual pleasure. “Even though the clitoris has been removed, that doesn’t stop us from having full capacity of pleasure during sex.”

Female Role Model 14: Tabassum Adnan – Pakistan

tabassum-adnan_croppedPakistani activist Tabassum Adnan was married off when she was just 13-years-old. After suffering 20 years of physical and mental abuse, Adnan divorced her husband, which resulted in the loss of her children, home, and finances. To help stop gender-based violence that commonly affect Pakistani women including forced marriage, child marriage, honour killings, acid attacks and domestic violence, she started the NGO Khwendo Jirga, a first of its kind women-only jirga, where women meet weekly to discuss violence against women and swara, or giving women as compensation for crimes.

Female Role Model 15: Vidya Bal – India

vidya-bal_croppedVeteran Indian feminist activist Vidya Bal has spent her life fighting against violence against women and other forms of gender discrimination. In 1982, she founded the Nari Samata Manch (Women Equality Forum) and has gone on to create, support, and counsel women’s groups. Bal said of her organisation’s work: “We want to create awareness that it is about being a good human being—and not about being a “feminine woman” or a “manly man.” Only then, we can aspire for an equitable society. This is a small experiment. I am hoping to make a small difference. Often I meet young boys telling me that after listening to my lectures their perspective of girls changed! Maybe that’s just a temporary thing—but still a good thing.”

Female Role Model 16: Zahra Yaganah – Afghanistan

zahra-yaganah_croppedZahra Yaganah grew up as an Afghan refugee in Iran and, at 13, was married off to a violent man. Today, her book Light Of Ashes – part fiction, part memoir – which chronicles her traumatic life as a child bride is one of the fastest-selling books in Afghanistan. Using her writing to speak out, Yaganah breaks taboos by explicitly writing about taboo topics including marital rape, menstruation and the lifelong damage caused by child marriages. Yaganah hopes that her book will help Afghan women break free of the violence. “It is impossible for Afghan women to read this book and not find an issue that reflects their life story,” she said. “Women can find their path, despite all the problems they have.”

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Photo Credits:

  1. Balkissa Chaibou – From “The girl who said ‘no’ to marriage” (BBC News Online)
  2. Bogaletch Gebre – From “How Bogaletch Gebre is Bringing an End to Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia” (KMG via ibtimes.co.uk)
  3. Clementine Ford – From “This is why we have women-only spaces, and why I don’t want to hear your complaints” (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  4. Fatou Bensouda – From “Fatou Bensouda, the woman who hunts tyrants” (Judith Jockel/The Guardian)
  5. Frida Farrell – From “The Sex Trafficking Victim Who Turned Her Nightmare Into A Feature Film (Huckmagazine.com)
  6. Jacqueline de Chollet – Courtesy of Jacqueline de Chollet
  7. Laura Dunn – Courtesy of Laura Dunn
  8. Loubna Abida – From “Actress Loubna Abidar refuses to be silenced by fatwas, death threats or violence” (Pierre Terdjman/New York Times)
  9. Nadia Murad Basee Tahah – From “A Yezidi Woman Who Escaped ISIS Slavery Tells Her Story” (Kirsten Luce/Time)
  10. Omaima Hoshan – From “This 15-Year-Old Syrian Girl Is Campaigning Against Child Marriage in Her Refugee Camp” (Makers.com)
  11. Rachana Sunar – From  “Child marriage in Nepal: ‘A girl is a girl, not a wife’ (Rachana Sunar/The Guardian)
  12. Radha Rani Sakher – From “Bangladesh’s ‘Wedding buster’ takes on illegal child marriage” (Bas Bogaerts/Plan International)
  13. Sarian Karim Kamara – From “Decades after undergoing genital cutting, woman teaches other FGM survivors how to enjoy sex” (Women Of The World/New York Times)
  14. Tabassum Adnan – From “Pakistani activist wins Nelson Mandela award 2016” (Tabassum Adnan/The Express Tribune)
  15. Vidya Bal – From “Meet the Feminist Fighting India’s Entrenched Misogyny” (Frances Smith/Vice)
  16. Zahra Yaganah – From “The former child bride who is using her story to liberate Afghan women” (Andrew Quilty/The Guardian)

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