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.

_________________________________________________________________________

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.”

_________________________________________________________________________

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