The Pixel Project is proud to present our fourth annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2017. The annual campaign runs throughout the month of May 2017 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, stalking, online violence against women, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. This campaign was created to provide:
- VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
- Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.
Our 9th Survivor Stories interview is with Charlaine Harris from the USA.
The Survivor Bio:
Charlaine Harris was born in Mississippi and has lived all over the South. Her first book (SWEET AND DEADLY) appeared in 1981, and she’s been a working writer ever since. Charlaine writes in a variety of genres – mystery, urban fantasy, science fiction – because she is easily bored. When Charlaine isn’t writing, she’s reading. Her personal life is thronged with rescue dogs, a husband, three adult children, and two grandchildren. Her grandchildren are intelligent, gifted, and attractive. She now lives on a cliff overlooking the Brazos River. You can learn more about Charlaine and her books at www.charlaineharris.com.
1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence (this may include domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation etc)?
I was raped by a stranger who broke into my apartment. He put a pillow over my head and put a knife to my throat.
2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?
He left finally, after a while. I could not move for another while. I thought he was still there. When I became convinced he was gone, I called the police.
3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?
I went to the rape crisis centre and was assisted through the examination and questioning process. I had always understood that rape was in the picture for women, and I had thought about what I would do. So I was mentally prepared, as much as anyone can be. I was determined he would not win. I also changed the way I lived my life, because I understood the value of it after I almost died.
4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?
Never think that you deserved or provoked this. Do anything you must to survive the situation.
If you possibly can – I know it’s not an option for some women – report the attack. Keeping it secret gives it power over you. And it implies that you feel ashamed or guilty. You should not be. The perpetrator is the one who should be ashamed.
5. How do you think we can end violence against women?
We can’t. But we can reduce the frequency of attacks by educating our male and female children about what consent means, about when to stop unwanted advances, and about how to react when the situation gets out of control. Just acknowledging that it’s in the list of possibilities is a big step for a lot of women.
6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?
I support any organisation that has education about violence against women and remediation as its goal.
Editor’s note: Watch Charlaine talk about strong women, surviving rape, and eradicating violence against women in our Read For Pixels Google Hangout recording below.