Interviews

The “Music For Pixels” Summer Charity Concert Interview – Debbie Reifer, Barbados

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our seventh featured artist is Barbadian singer song/writer Debbie Reifer who has a musical style that reflects a tender articulation of the human condition and offers therapy for the soul. Since the successful release of her first single “Amber “ in 2012, which spoke to domestic violence, Debbie has gone on to release her first EP “Hearts Like Mine” and to write music for the critically acclaimed Barbadian movie “Chrissy”. She is nominated for Best New Artist in this year’s Barbados Music Awards and is currently working on her second album. To find out more about Debbie and her music, visit her Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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Debbie II 6628_3Q_compressedTell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

My name is Debbie Reifer and I am a singer/songwriter from Barbados. I’ve decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert because I am one of the many who knows women directly affected by domestic violence, and I’d like to add my voice to the movements that are dedicated to seeing it eradicated.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?                                            

Humanity is so broken. Hope for healing doesn’t exist without pledging to fully commit to spreading not just an attitude, but a lifestyle of love, respect and non-violence. It needs to be our global norm. No child should grow up seeing women abused in or outside of the home and thinking it’s the norm. No female should be denied the freedom and safety to live without assault.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

Music is one of the most powerful mind and attitude changers on the planet. I think music reaches people in the place that encourages the most change – the heart. Pairing great music with a great message? Absolutely, because music definitely helps efforts to end violence against women.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

We are inundated with music that glorifies the routine disrespect and sexual mistreatment of women physically and emotionally.  We are also inundated with music that promotes violence.  I would encourage artists to help provide the much-needed balance on the music airwaves and social media sites and write and promote music that returns honour and respect to women; and love & respect for humankind.  Help create the new global norm that we need so badly through one of the most powerful viral tools on the planet – music!

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – Cecilia St. King, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our sixth featured artist is Cecilia St. King. Since running from the falling towers of the WTC and discovering cancer in her throat 6 months later, Cecilia St. King, Peace Troubadour has been traveling from coast to coast, healing our world using the gift of Music. Translating the Ageless Wisdom teachings into song, her concerts effect social change. Her performance invigorates the mind, energizes the body, expands awareness, galvanizes the imagination, affirms the wisdom of the heart, reminds us of the Spirit within us all, and awakens us to new possibilities. Blending American roots music that merges rock, blues, folk, spirituals and a hint of jazz, her music is contemporary and upbeat and offers a powerful antidote to turmoil in our current times. Find out more about Cecilia via her website and follow her on Twitter.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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Michael Cohen PicTell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

My name is CeciIia St. King. I am a Peace Troubadour. I’ve been traveling around the United States for the past 15 years performing concerts for Peace: Inner Peace that is because that is where it all begins, in our homes, in our communities, in our hearts.

My heart is filled with gratitude knowing there are other light-workers helping to heal our planet. The Pixel Project brings together people who are being the change we wish to see in the world, so glad to be joining forces with them.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?                                            

I know first hand the ravages of violence. I was raped twice as a young woman. It annihilated my life till I was able to forgive.

Violence against women is also violence against the inner most being of a man. What we do to one, we do to ourselves. When violence is perpetrated against a woman, it affects the perpetrator as well. It stays with them throughout their lifetime, through guilt, remorse, shame. When we shine the light on these atrocities we can begin our healing.  We are at a turning point in our world, woman are rising above being considered as second-class citizens, feminine energy is being recognised for the soft power it brings to healing our world.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

“Where there is music there can be no harm.” Music eases the heart and brings peace to people. When music is played in the home, peace reigns, it opens our hearts and activates our brain like nothing else does.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

Sing, play and make a joyful noise.

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – Carolan Deacon, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our fifth featured artist is Carolan Deacon who is an Illuminating Songstress and Truth Guide. A musical wellness warrior, she is armed with her gifts of voice, coaching and healing arts. Carolan creates live and virtual  experiences that light a path to living in the freedom of truth. She is the creator of Ease & Grace Circle, and Empowered Voice Coalition, 2 international communities that empower women with finding their true voice and living in the freedom of their Truth. Her positive life-affirming music plays a key role in her programs as she believes in the power of music to heal and transform. Her concerts are enjoyed around the country and her music and teachings can be found on her website.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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Tell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

I am a singer/songwriter who creates songs that empower, shift energy and boost positive thoughts. I have seen what happens first hand when a woman experiences violence against her. I was excited to hear of The Pixel  Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert because this is an issue close to my heart.

My heart just absolutely sings when I think of The Pixel Project and the powerful message it carries! Thank you! I am honoured to come together with this fabulous group of people sharing their gifts in ways that both increase awareness of and offer supportive solutions to violence against women around the world. No More!

Why is ending violence against women important to you?                                            

Her spirit can crumple and it is devastating. The effects of her experience can ripple over into every area of her life and last for years, whether she is aware of it or not.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

As a Positive Music artist and creator of True Voice Coalition (a community committed to helping women around the world reclaim the power of their own voice and live free and empowered), I have seen the transformation that happens when a woman cultivates her sense of self and decide to live empowered and free.

I love the fact that music can play a key role on changing lives as it has the unique ability to heal us and enhance our neuroplasticity, which in turn helps us make tough changes with more ease and comfort.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

Put the message of hope and empowered freedom in your lyrics. Be eager to put your face, your music and your voice out to the world in saying: NO MORE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – Bob Sima, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our fourth featured artiste is Bob Sima (pronounced sEYE-ma). Bob’s music begins as a conversation with the Source that lives within each one of us. Bob’s gift is not simply singing to his audience, it is connecting to his audience. His lyrics are inspired by his personal journey of awareness, growth, and transformation. His delivery is humble, palpable, and universally accepted. He is able to capture, in song, what Eckhart Tolle captured through his writings and speeches. Bob’s music reminds us of the lessons, the reminders, the splendor, and experiences that are passed down from our ancient ancestors and master teachers. From his heart to yours, and your heart ours, allow the conversation to live on. You can follow Bob’s updates on Facebook, or watch his videos on YouTube.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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Bob Sima 2_compressedTell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

Music is a powerful tool for personal transformation.  Personal transformation is a powerful tool for global change.

This is a great concert! I loved the energy of all of who are a part of it, and it really drew me in to be part of something that has a great intention and great vibe and is truly a great value to humanity.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?

I feel that all life is sacred and all life is equally important, and it is vital to connect at a sacred level with all life – men, women, children and all of earth’s beings. Women and the divine feminine have been suppressed for far too long in a masculine defined world, and this has to change in order for our planet to shift to a higher, more loving and compassionate place.

And specifically, violence against women is unconscionable to me on every level and so I stand with the Pixel Project in creating energy and awareness around ending this cycle by leading humanity to a place of higher consciousness.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

Music empowers feelings, emotions and intentions that can lead to action. I consider my songs a soundtrack to transformation. The song for this project we chose is “Shine”, because this song speaks to the opening and flowering of consciousness and when we shine, we give others permission to shine as well. If a person comes from their centre, their light, then violence would never be an option and we can see a brighter and more peaceful place for all beings.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

Start with the songs; they are the quickest vehicle to the heart. The heart is where changes and shifts happen in people. If you can create art that creates change, then you are on the right path!

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – Alexis Umathum, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our third featured artiste is Alexis Umathum. Alexis is a survivor. Abandoned at just one month old by her mother, to just barely surviving a bacterial pneumonia that took over her body; leaving her in a coma-like state in ICU for two weeks in 2014. Still recovering, she’s ready to take on her biggest battle yet, the mainstream music industry. Alexis is a star in the making, with an undeniable ability to capture the attention of any audience. With her powerful vocals and professional songwriting craft, she is well on her way to changing the music industry. Alexis got her start on the hit media site YouTube, and has accumulated millions of views on her channel since then. In 2014, she was a finalist in Ryan Seacrest’s cover song contest for her cover of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”. Alexis was raised by her grandmother in the small San Diego suburb, Murrieta. Alexis is currently working on an album. To learn more about Alexis and her music, you can follow her on Twitter or watch her videos on YouTube.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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Alexis-Alexis-0003Tell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

My name is Alexis Umathum, and I’m a singer/songwriter from Murrieta, California. I was thrilled when I was asked to participate in this incredible event. I hold these causes close to my heart, as I have worked many years with many charities to help end violence against women and children.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?

No woman or child should have to endure any form of mistreatment against themselves or a loved one. Working with anti-Violence Against Women charities gives me the opportunity to meet with many victims and I can see the damage caused from violence. It’s heart-breaking to see the brutality that many of these young women live through every day.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

Music is a universal language that speaks to everyone. Through strong and uplifting, powerful music, I believe we can bring knowledge to the world and expose people to the abuse that women suffer.

Events such as The Pixel Project’s Music for Pixels Summer Charity Concert are meant to bring awareness to people around the world through music so that one day we can hope to live in a violent free world.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

I believe artists can bring awareness to such issues by participating in events like this concert. Music brings people together, and with that power, music artists are capable of spreading the word about important issues, such as voiolence against women.

Many of my favourite artists are attached to different charities and they have helped millions. I hope to one day have the same impact.

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – Adam Web, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our second featured artiste is Adam Web. Adam Web = optimistic acoustic funk. Though living in Philadelphia, PA, his career began about 10,000 miles across the world in Australia.  It was here, while studying abroad, that Adam began writing of his inspiring travels and experiences. The music that emerged was shaped with percussive guitar grooves, soulful vocals, and spiritually conscious sentiment. With his rootsy approach he has drawn comparisons to such contemporaries as Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, and Jason Mraz, but still maintains a definitive sound of his own. This sound has made its way across the U.S with his last album “Once We Were Stars” being played on over 100 college radio stations in 2010.  It also caught the ears of 2 major TV networks, as his single “Standstill” was used in an episode of MTV’s “The Real World Las Vegas (2011)” and his song “Life is My Play” was used on Oxygen’s “The  Bad Girls Club (2011)”.  Through multiple tours, Adam has performed in 14 states across the country including such festivals as South by Southwest  (Austin, TX) and Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA).  He has performed at such prominent venues as the Hard Rock Café in Nashville, TN and MilkboyPhilly in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Adam’s updates and videos on Facebook and YouTube.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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no-35Tell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

 

My name is Adam Web and I am an optimistic singer/songwriter from Philadelphia, PA.  My music is hopeful and spiritually conscious. I have amazing women in my life in my wife, mother, mother in law, grandmother, nieces, and countless aunts.

When I think about the injustices and cruelty that many women across the world must endure, I ask myself “what if that happened to the people that I love in my immediate circle of family and friends?”  That thought brings about a feeling that we are all connected and if one person or one group of people is hurting, then the world is hurting.

I chose to be a part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, because music is my voice, and I would like to contribute my voice to help bring awareness to these issues.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?                                            

I think that when we envision any of the important women in our lives in danger, our protective nature kicks in. If we can expand these feelings beyond our immediate families and friends to that of all woman across the world, amazing things can happen. Ultimately I feel that a shift in consciousness changes the world and I want to be a part of that change. I want to help restore balance in this world, and that cannot happen if women are suppressed and harmed.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

If you are trying to spread a message that needs to reach many nations and languages, you’ll need to have something that can universally speak to everyone. I believe that music bridges these gaps.  Even if the lyrics are written in a specific language, the music, melodies, and emotion felt in the delivery of the song can speak volumes to the listener. We can raise awareness about the issue of violence against women through this universal language.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

Musicians can use their voice. They can weave their message throughout their songs and use their story telling abilities to help people relate to what they are saying. They can raise awareness that this issue exists all over the world spanning all cultures and races. Starting a conversation is such an important step in beginning the healing process for an issue like ending violence against women. The more we talk, the more opportunities there are for creating solutions and music can be the spark that get’s people talking.

The “Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert” Interview – AHMIR, USA

As part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert, we talk to the music artists who have participated in the concert about why they are using their music to speak out and to say NO to violence against women. 

Our first featured artist is AHMIR, The Pixel Project’s YouTube ambassador. As featured in Us Weekly, Billboard, Vibe.com and AOL Entertainment, AHMIR is the #1 Most Popular R&B Group on YouTube with over 70 million video views and comments by celebrities such as Ryan Seacrest, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Perez Hilton, P!nk and more. The group has used their success to bring awareness to charity organisations including Lucy’s Love Bus, Haiti Relief Fund, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, YMCA, The Pixel Project, and Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids. Their cover video of P!nk’s “Perfect” was named one of the top Anti-Bullying PSA’s by The Huffington Post. Follow AHMIR’s updates and videos on Facebook and YouTube.  AHMIR is now signed to Robbins Entertainment and have just released their debut single entitled “WAR” to Top 40 radio nationwide. “WAR” is available now for purchase on iTunes.

The Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert was held in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide.

Donations begin at just US$1 and while the Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert Indiegogo fundraiser is still running from June 5th to July 5th 2015, donors can donate to get exclusive music and artist goodies ranging from personal Skype concerts to treat bundles for the serious music lover.

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IMG_3628_color_compressedTell us about yourself and why you have decided to take part in The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert.

Sing-SingAs a popular music artist on YouTube and ambassador to The Pixel Project, we believe we are blessed with the responsibility to send a global message to raise awareness about violence against women. It is our hope that The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels Summer Charity Concert will be an extraordinary way to empower and strengthen the spirits of victims and survivors of violence against women.

Why is ending violence against women important to you?                                            

KC: When I was a kid, I witnessed domestic violence in my home. The situation caused me to feel unsafe. I grew up with the notion that violence was not only tolerated, but accepted in my family. As I reached my teen years and watched the females in my family battle such violence, I began to realize that just because a person is physically stronger than you, it does not give them the right to enforce their will against you. I understand how a man treats a young woman early on in life will affect them for the rest of their life. It is important that we teach young men how to treat women properly.

In your opinion how does music help in efforts to end violence against women?      

Mr. Jones: The powers of melody and harmony have the ability to compliment the sentiment behind just words. Words can definitely be powerful, but music helps to amplify the message that is being communicated.  Music is a powerful, powerful tool.  Unfortunately, it’s a tool that is often used to convey messages that aren’t crucial to human growth.

What actions can music artists take to help end violence against women?

Big Mike: Musicians have a captive audience that listen to the words sung in their songs. The songs move your mind and soul to laugh, cry, dance, etc.  Therefore, musicians should feel it is a privilege to use their unique talents to help raise awareness to end violence against women. You don’t need to change the world, but you have a special platform to perhaps help one young woman out there who is crying inside with pain and feeling hopeless. You can help be that beacon of light to show them that there are supporters and people who care and want you to be a survivor.

“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 1 – Munish Jauhar, 39, India

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our first “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Munish Jauhar from India.

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The Dad Bio

Munish Jauhar is the CEO/Founder of GrayCell Technologies Exports which he founded in 2004. Today, GrayCell has grown exponentially with a list of Global 2000 clients. Graycell is also an award-winning champion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), providing strong support to initiatives like holding blood donation camps, tree plantation drives, charities for orphans and women in need.  An avid collector of both modern and contemporary Indian art, Munish’s other interests include reading, fish keeping, music and birding. He is married to Gurpreet and they have two daughters Bisr and Hunar.

PIC_95751. What is the best thing about being a dad?

That is a very tough question to answer because I love everything about being a dad, be it watching my girls smile, hearing their unconditional laughter, holding their hands, being a child again with them, or getting their special drawings every now and then. But if I had to pick one thing it is that fatherhood is unconditional love, it’s not all about ‘me’ but it is about ‘we’ a family.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

Yes, a father does have a very significant impact on their son’s attitude towards girls and women, but at the same time I feel the mother too has a very strong impact. My parents have had a very positive influence on me in this context because I was never raised to think that men and women are not equal and nor I have ever seen any domestic violence at home. Learning has to begin at home and it is the parents who have to lead by example.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

This is a big issue which impacts all of us either directly or indirectly. Positive male role models need to reach out to other males (young and old) who they know of in their immediate circles and educate them about this problem and bring about a change in their patriarchal mindsets. Young boys, while growing up, always look up to their fathers and father figures such teachers, mentors, uncles, older brothers etc. And it is precisely these role models who have to lead by example. We also have to get them to imbibe a ‘Pay It Forward’ attitude in this context.

THE SURVIVOR STORIES PROJECT 2015: Ruthie Owen, 54, USA

The Pixel Project is proud to present our second annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2015. The project runs throughout the month of May 2015 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. A total of 31 VAW survivor stories will be featured. This project 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.

This project is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our thirty-first 2015 Survivor Stories interview is with Ruthie Owen from the U.S.A.

TRIGGER WARNING: The first two Q&As in this interview may be distressing for some Domestic Violence survivors.

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The Survivor Bio:

I am an author, a past A&R music scout for Arista and J/MLS Records, airbrush makeup artist and have two majors from college: Psychology and Business Marketing. I am very social, have a large family which is blood and not-blood related. I travel, am in my 50’s and enjoying life now to its fullest. “By the Grace of God”.

RuthieOwenPixelProject1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence?

I was not raised in a home with divorce or violence. My parents had a loving 50 year marriage until they passed.

I fell in love at age 15 with a popular athlete at my high school who was 3 years older than I was. The first week of high school he “chose” me to be his girlfriend. We were inseparable and my parents did not like it at all. They saw his obsessive and controlling ways. I continued to see him and my parents told me “either never see him again or move out”. I was 17 years old and scared to death to leave home but I trusted him. We moved in together.

I was still in high school and 5 months into living together, we argued and he hit my face so hard that I had two black eyes and blood everywhere from my nose. I was in shock. I had to go to school with those black eyes and all knew what happened including my class counselor, but I lied to cover it up. I was raised that when I made a choice, I stuck with it. I stopped loving him the day he hit me the first time.

2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?

I moved out at age 18 and he was to move to another state for college. I didn’t love him anymore, but he came to see me before he left, asking me to please go with him and I got pregnant that day. I love my children so very much, but it was not a planned “good-bye” of mine. It was of his. He knew I would never give up a baby even though I was a teen, so I left my new life to once again be with him.

Over the years, he worked out of our homes. I was isolated, told not to leave the house and if I did, when to come back. We had two beautiful children together but I prayed every day that God would save me and my babies by letting us get free. I was verbally, physically and sexually abused for 8 years.

I had planned my “escape” with my small kids for 3 years. One day he left in a hurry and that was the answer to my prayers. I got my kids, their clothes, beds, toys and my clothes and left with no place to go far from home. But we were free.

3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?

It took me years to get over the abuse. The confident, popular, outgoing 16-year old that I was before I met him, was gone forever. I had to get her back. We had joint custody of our kids and moved back to the state where family was. I was still numb, scared and had no self-worth. When somebody calls you filthy names in front of your friends, family, and children for 8 years, humiliation sets in. I drank at night because I had panic attacks. I had PTSD and was later diagnosed by a psychiatrist as that. I went through years of therapy, peeling off one layer at a time of the damage that had been done. Trust was the hardest to get back. But, I quit drinking, stopped the cycle and never went back. I survived. That was 34 years ago. I am now almost 55 years old and an author on the subject of being a Domestic Violence survivor that I wrote in 2010 that is on The Pixel Project’s site.

4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?

I have learned to rely on my gut instincts and the knowledge that I have now. I recognise the controlling behavior that leads to abuse and stay far from it. I surround myself with positive, loving people and have gotten my trust back in good people. Watch out for anyone that comes on too strong, too quickly. That could be a new relationship or a friendship or a co-worker. They are very charming (75% out of %100) and will contact you often. It feels flattering at first, but if this person has a history of the same past relationships or has it in their family, hold your head up high and walk away. The true people are the ones that let you know they are there for you without even telling you. They do it by actions and not by words. They keep their promises and believe me when I say this; you can have a wonderful life once again. One step at a time.

5. How do you think we can end violence against women?

Domestic Violence has always had (in the past when it happened to me) a secrecy about it. No one discussed it. It was “shameful, frightening and out of control”. Sadly, it was only when Nicole Simpson was murdered in 1994 that Domestic Violence had a voice. And as time has gone by, that voice has gotten louder and louder. No more suffering in silence.

It is not a topic that is pleasant at all but, I firmly speak on it because I have worked or known women who have been abused and wanted out of that. I would tell them exactly what had happened to me and what I learned. We are not their victims – the abusers are their own victim. Things happen in life and we don’t always understand why they happened to us, but it strengthens us to become more compassionate for others and we are no longer afraid. We unite more, speak louder and give hope so that more and more are not afraid to get out.

6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?

It was in preparation of my e-book published in 2010, that I contacted The Pixel Project asking them if I could quote from their website. Regina Yau answered back and gave me permission for which I was so grateful. When my e-book was published, I sent The Pixel Project a copy of it and press release and they not only thanked me but listed my e-book on their international site and it is still there.

I support them for any and all types of abuse because The Pixel Project cares. They have been around for many with many resources and mentors. I applaud them so very much and will always support and refer anybody in this area, to them. THANK YOU PIXEL PROJECT.

SURVIVOR STORIES: Jennet Sullivan, 30, USA

The Pixel Project is proud to present our second annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2015. The project runs throughout the month of May 2015 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. A total of 31 VAW survivor stories will be featured. This project 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.

This project is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our thirtieth 2015 Survivor Stories interview is with Jennet Sullivan from the U.S.A.

TRIGGER WARNING: The first two Q&As in this interview may be distressing for some Domestic Violence survivors.

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The Survivor Bio:

Jennet Sullivan lost her mother, Suzette Threet, to domestic violence in 2009.  As she learned more about her mother’s struggle and the dynamics that affected her own view of a healthy relationship, she began learning about, and teaching others, in her field about the dynamics of domestic violence.  She hopes to help people understand the reasons people stay, and the insurmountable strength victims must have on a daily basis.  She is married to her amazing husband Justin, and they have two children, Benjamin and Eli.  When not working or teaching, she loves going on adventures with her family.

Jennet Sullivan_cropped1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence?

I was raised in an abusive home, although at the time I didn’t realise it.  When abuse is all you know, it’s completely normalised.  My dad didn’t beat my mom in front of us, but he verbally attacked her and beat her down emotionally and mentally.  He would isolate her (and us children) from friends and family so effortlessly we didn’t realise we were under attack.

It was only after he murdered her – years after I had grown and left the home – that we realised he had been abusive for years. Many of my siblings still struggle with that influence which normalised abuse. It’s hard to fight against all that you’ve ever known.

2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?

I grew up and moved out.  As an adult, I struggled finding a healthy relationship.  I knew my parents’ relationship wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like.

My mother never escaped. She stayed in the abusive relationship until it literally killed her.  I share this story because she is not here to do it. I wish she had been able to leave, but sometimes I think that the things that tie us down are too strong to fight. I think she had been told time and time again that no one else would want her, that she wasn’t worth anyone else’s time. I think she was told that she couldn’t abandon him so many times that eventually she believed it. And that eventually cost her everything.

3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?

After my mom was murdered by my dad, the world stopped. Because he killed himself after he murdered her, we had to completely disassemble the world they had built.  We found diary entries where my Mother detailed the abuse, letters where he begged for another chance.  Broken promises hung in the air of their home.

I healed one day at a time. I met with strong women who could talk me through my grief, I was counselled, I prayed.  I turned to my faith in God, and he met me at my most broken and lost.

I slowly restructured my life with the knowledge that I could never again call my mom to ask for a recipe. I had to grieve the loss of her not only as my mother, but also as the grandmother of my future children.  Experiencing a violent event changes you forever; and while you can heal there will still be moments of grieving.

4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?

My situation is unique as I left the abusive home before I realised that it was abusive, and was third party to my Mother’s murder.  But I would share with women or teenagers that domestic violence is about power and control over a person. Every violent relationship starts out with verbal and emotional attacks. Learn the signs to recognise abuse and don’t let it change your heart.  Realise that you have worth and that in a healthy relationship you won’t feel worthless.  Don’t let them isolate you away from people who care. Never let another person devalue you.

5. How do you think we can end violence against women?

I think we have to empower people with tools to recognise a healthy relationship.  Our culture is saturated with bad examples and our homes are creating future victims and abusers because people don’t realise how much children see, and how it helps shape their view of relationships.

We have to take back the power and control that abusers try to maintain in their homes and over their victims. We have to empower women, teenagers and all victims with healthy boundaries and tools to be comfortable and safe within a relationship.

We have to call out abuse when we see it.

We must convince women that love doesn’t hurt – emotionally, physically, or mentally.  We must convince women that that they are powerful people who have value as individuals. No one deserves to be abused, and all women should live with that knowledge and have resources to escape dangerous situations.

6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?

Because I share the same vision that The Pixel Project has in ending domestic violence.  I like that it’s not just about ending violence, but about having the difficult conversations about violence.  Our culture has turned a blind eye to abuse happening, but slowly (with the support of organisations like The Pixel Project) we’re starting to talk about it more.  The more we talk about it and normalise the conversation, the more people will be empowered to make a difference in their own lives or the lives of others.