For almost 9 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 2017, we marched on with our annual interview-format blogging campaigns:
- Our long-running monthly Inspirational Interview series highlighting the excellent but little-known work of many anti-VAW activists and organisations from around the world
- Our 4th annual Survivors Stories series which is a safe, structured platform for survivors of all forms of VAW to share their experiences as well as encouragement and ideas for women who are still facing the violence.
- Our 1st Gaming For Pixels interview series, which is a platform for gamers and gaming companies to speak out about sexism, misogyny and violence against women in the gaming community and industry.
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 2017 will be a great starting point. 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 Regina Yau. Introduction by Regina Yau.
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #1: Inspirational Interview – Anuja Gupta, India
Anuja Gupta is one of India’s leading experts on the issue of incest/child sexual abuse. In 1996, at a time when no one in the country was talking about this taboo subject, Anuja started the pioneering non-profit RAHI Foundation, India’s first incest/child sexual abuse response organisation. RAHI’s work has laid the foundation for this issue to come to light and continues to shape the way it is addressed in the country. Anuja says: “Everyone has to make violence against women and children their issue and I think the strongest action we can take is to not lose momentum regardless of our social or political contexts. No matter how far away it may seem, always keep an eye on the goal of a world free of violence.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #2: Inspirational Interview – Brynhildur Heiðar- og Ómarsdóttir, Iceland
Brynhildur manages the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) which was founded in 1907 and works towards increasing women‘s representation in parliament and the judicial system, combating gendered wage inequality, making gender studies a mandatory subject in secondary schools and raising awareness about harassment and violence against women online. Brynhildur says: “ We need to speak out forcefully against violence of any kind, and we need to teach our children about gender equality and human rights in schools. Most importantly, we need to support the victims of violence, to ensure that survivors have easy access to psychological and legal aid. But we also need to find ways to rehabilitate perpetrators of violence, to incorporate them into society while making sure that they do not re-offend. Violence against women is such a massive social problem that it can only be solved by all of us, together.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #3: Gaming For Pixels Interview – Hyacinth Nil and Reed Lewis, USA
Hyacinth Nil and Reed Lewis are the co-founders of Abyssal Uncreations. Hyacinth Nil is a nonbinary interactive artist, musician and game maker from New York. Reed Lewis is a nonbinary novelist from New York. They are purveyors of dark media with a purpose, creators of multifaceted narratives meant to simultaneously unnerve and shine a light on issues of identity, queerness, gender, neurodivergence and other themes they’d like to see more of in media they consume. _transfer is their first video game. When discussing how gamers can stop violence against women and girls, Reed notes that “the most basic thing that can be done, especially for male gamers, is to call out misogyny when they spot it, and be honest with themselves when they say or think misogynistic things. Don’t allow gaming culture to be a misogynistic culture, and don’t let gamers’ spaces be spaces where violence against women is joked about, dismissed or encouraged.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #4: Gaming For Pixels Interview – Ian Gregory, Singapore
Ian Gregory is the co-founder and creative director of Witching Hour Studios, which created the award-winning MASQUERADA. In 2010, his second year at university, Ian co-founded Witching Hour Studios with some friends. Six years on, Witching Hour has garnered awards and international recognition for their line of Ravenmark games and the off-kilter Romans in My Carpet!. Its latest title, Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, was successfully funded on Kickstarter. When talking about how gamers can help stop violence against women and girls in the gaming community, Ian says: “Talk about it: the conversation must be had; discomfort must be felt. A good cause to make everyone feel good for being involved is only one half of the solution. We need to actually talk about these uncomfortable things in the light. Hopefully, this will be catharsis to victims and call out abusers regarding their behaviour. Many victims are too afraid to voice their suffering, and surprisingly, many abusers are unaware of their actions. By putting the topic front and centre, both parties might find a way out of this horrible cycle.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #5: Inspirational Interview – Karin Alfredsson, Sweden
Karin’s engagement in the cause of violence against women began in 1979 when she published the first nonfiction book about violence against women in Sweden. She has worked on many journalistic projects covering the issue. In 2012, Karin launched the international Cause of Death: Woman project, covering different aspects of VAW in 10 countries. Karin has also written five crime novels about violence against women in different parts of the world and was recognised by the Swedish Crime Literature Academy several times. Karin says ending violence against women “is a matter of gender equality. The day men start to respect women, our choices and right to live our own lives, then things will start to happen. This means that we will have to start with the small boys. Legislation is fine, but if we are not working to change attitudes, very little will happen.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #6: Inspirational Interview – Lesley Ackrill, Canada
Lesley Ackrill is one of three executive co-directors at Interval House, Canada’s first shelter for abused women and their children. Lesley directs Resource Development and Communications, Human Resources and the Residential and Community Programs. During her tenure at Interval House, she produced the only television fundraising campaign ever made for a women’s shelter. Alongside her co-director, Lesley led Interval House through its $5 million capital campaign that purchased and renovated Interval House’s current facility. Lesley says: “I think equity is a big step forward in helping end violence against women. When women take their rightful place as leaders in all spheres of our lives and all dominions—corporate boardroom, government, family—when they take the 50/50 leadership on and share it equally with men, I think we will have a huge step forward in ending violence against women by men. That is on a macro level – on a big scale.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #7: Survivor Stories Interview – Lisa Foster, USA
Lisa Foster survived child sexual abuse by her father and went on to found parillume to empower victims of sexual violation to continue past the survivor stage and heroically reclaim the treasure of their trues selves shining in the world without shame. Lisa’s advice to victims and survivors is: “The first step is finding a safe person to share your story with who can also help you find the recovery resource that works best for you. If you can’t afford therapy, there may be a non-profit that can provide you the support you need. Just begin. Read books, watch videos, check out the parillume website. Begin to feel and move through the pain and know that there is a fierce hope available to you. You are worth it.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #8: Inspirational Interview – Madeleine Rees, OBE, United Kingdom
Madeleine Rees, OBE is a lawyer specialising in discrimination law and women’s rights. From 1998 to 2006, she ran the OHCHR in Bosnia and Herzegovina and moved to Geneva in 2006 to head up their gender unit, moving on in 2010 to become the Secretary General of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 for services to human rights, particularly women’s rights, and international peace and security. Madeleine says: “[Violence against women] will end only when violence is stigmatised by men as well as by women, which means we have to work on that fundamental shift in power, what it is, how works and for whom. We have to move away from a system which needs and feeds off the creation of a masculinity which is prepared to do violence.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #9: Survivor Stories Interview – Martha Wells, USA
Martha Wells is a science fiction and fantasy writer whose first novel was published in 1993. Her most recent series are The Books of the Raksura for Night Shade Books, and The Murderbot Diaries for Tor.com. She has also written short stories, media tie-ins for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis, YA fantasies, and non-fiction. She survived being stalked by a former male friend in college who threatened to kill her. Martha says: “I think education, especially about consent, starting as early as possible, can help a lot. Teach kids to respect each other as people, teach boys that girls are not somehow less deserving of bodily autonomy than they are.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #10: Gaming For Pixels Interview – Michelle Tan, Malaysia
Michelle Tan is the founder and CEO of Fundeavour – a social platform looking to improve the lives of gamers worldwide, including YouTubers, streamers and content creators. Through a combination of Facebook, LinkedIn and Coursera-style elements, the platform empowers its gamers to build relationships with other gamers, work with brands, gain more exposure and learn how to transform their passions into a potential career. Michelle says: “I honestly think the strongest form of support an individual gamer can lend [to stopping violence against women] at the moment is by actively “living” it themselves – by treating their female friends with respect the way they’d want to be treated, especially in-game, and advocating it to others who aren’t being kind. Breaking the cycle of stigma has got to be a concerted effort, but it has to first begin at the individual level with friends and family.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #11: Survivor Stories Interview – PC Cast, USA
Award-winning #1 NY Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author PC Cast is a survivor of rape. With more than 20 million books in print in over 40 countries, she writes multiple bestselling YA series. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. PC says: “The only way we can end violence against women is to end the patriarchy. As long as men rule – in politics, in corporate America, in positions of power – women will continue to be abused because MEN ARE NOT MADE TO FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS. Over and over again the media shows us examples of men who are convicted of rape, only to receive mere slaps on the wrist because their lives could be ruined. THEY SHOULD BE. The Good Ol’ Boys’ club is alive and thriving, especially with Trump as President. Men don’t hold each other accountable for their bad behaviour, so women must. Until more women are in power this ideology will continue.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #12: Inspirational Interview – Pragna Patel, United Kingdom
Pragna Patel has trained in law and has more than 35 years of experience in advocacy, policy and campaigning work with some of the most marginalised women in British society. She has been at the forefront of key case and campaigning milestones throughout the history of Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and was a founding member of the pioneering Women Against Fundamentalism. She also has written extensively on race, gender and religion. Pragna says: “Ending violence against women for good is a tall order but not beyond us if there is political will, courage and imagination. Violence against women is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and so our aim must be to tackle gender inequality at all levels in all communities. This will involve working in solidarity with others.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #13: Gaming For Pixels Interview – Sig Gunnarsson
Sig Gunnarsson is the co-founder, gamer designer and art director of Studio Wumpus. Brooklyn-based Studio Wumpus is the acclaimed developers of Sumer – a digital board game inspired by M.U.L.E. and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Sumer draws on modern Eurogame design elements like worker placement, territory control and auctions. Its unique innovation is to place these into an action video game. When discussing how gamers can help end violence against women and girls, Sig says: “Gamers are also parents and one good thing to keep in mind is to be mindful in how we raise our sons and daughters. We need to raise respectful individuals and talk to them about things like gender and equality. Gamers should also continue calling out sexism in games and keep asking for the types of games they want. Money is a great way to vote on the market. Buy the games you’d like to see more of and skip the games in which you don’t like the message.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #14: Gaming For Pixels Interview – Stephanie Harvey, Canada
Stephanie Harvey is the Co-Founder of Misscliks. A five-time world champion in competitive Counter-Strike and longtime female pro-gaming icon, Stephanie Harvey currently plays professionally for the all-female team CLG Red. She also worked as a game designer for Ubisoft Montreal, having notably been part of development for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Far Cry Primal. Her 16 years in e-Sports as a player and 7 years in the industry as a developer awarded her a Forbes 30 under 30 title in 2014 and one of the BBC 100 women of 2016. When discussing how to tackle sexism and misogyny in gaming, she says: “I believe there is no perfect solution to harassment in gaming but I do believe there are multiple steps that we can do to help. For example, I believe that game companies need to be aware and provide tools for players to protect themselves from harassment. I also believe that online platforms such as Twitter, Twitch or YouTube could do a lot more more to help against harassment on their websites.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #15: Survivor Stories Interview – Trisha Williams, USA
Trisha Williams is a survivor of domestic violence, a Christian, a writer, and a wife, mother and grandmother dedicated to her community. Despite being diagnosed with a host of nerve conditions due to domestic violence, she leads a busy life. After leaving her job at the Department of Labour, Trisha reinvented herself and began a successful career in writing fiction; she has published 6 novellas and a Christian stage play for teens. Trisha recently became vice president of Purple Hightops N Stilettos, a group leading the fight against domestic violence based in Las Vegas. Trisha says: “Join and collaborate with other survivors and domestic violence organisations. If your community doesn’t offer one, start one. Americans need to keep writing to Congress to stay on top of domestic violence laws and provide funding for continued advocacy programmes.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #16: Survivor Stories Interview – Vanessa King, USA
Vanessa King, a survivor of domestic violence and founder of Queen Nefertiti Productions LLC, produces beauty pageants. She’s one of the first recipients of the Jewel Award and has appeared in “Who’s Who in Black Columbus” for exemplary work in her community. She’s also received recognition for community service from government officials. Vanessa says: “I want to tell other women and girls facing the same situation that they are not alone, they are beautiful and there are people who love them. It may be hard to get out of the situation, but there are resources, organisations and people who will help them not only get out of the situation, but also help them to start a new life without the violence. Speak out and let family and close friends know what is going on – don’t be silent. There are many people who will help. Make a plan to get away from your abuser.”
- Anuja Gupta – Courtesy of RAHI Foundation
- Brynhildur Heiðar- og Ómarsdóttir – Courtesy of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association
- Hyacinth Nil and Reed Lewis – Courtesy of Abyssal Uncreations
- Ian Gregory – Courtesy of Witching Hour Studios
- Karin Alfredsson – Courtesy of Karin Alfredsson
- Lesley Ackrill – Courtesy of Interval House
- Lisa Foster – Courtesy of Lisa Foster
- Madeleine Rees, OBE – Courtesy of The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
- Martha Wells – Courtesy of Martha Wells, Photographer: Igor Kraguljac
- Michelle Tan – Courtesy of Fundeavour
- PC Cast – Courtesy of PC Cast
- Pragna Patel – Courtesy of Southall Black Sisters
- Sig Gunnarsson – Courtesy of Studio Wumpus
- Stephanie Harvey – Courtesy of Stephanie Harvey
- Trisha Williams – Courtesy of Trisha Williams
- Vanessa King – Courtesy of Vanessa King