For the past decade, 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 platform that we use, our blog 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 2019, 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 6th 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 7th 30 For 30 Father’s Day series, which is a platform for dads worldwide 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 the year’s 16 best Pixel Project blog interview articles of 2019 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. Introduction by Regina Yau.
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #1: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Interview – Alessandro Bertolucci, Canada
Montreal-based Alessandro Bertolucci is a product and graphic designer currently working in the architectural door hardware industry creating and maintaining technical documentation. He is also a self-described creative generalist, geek, gamer, gardener, husband and father of two. In his 30 For 30 Father’s Day interview, he talked about what men and boys can do to help stop violence against women and girls: “There’s no question that it is a human right’s issue, that men and our society/culture at large are (in large part) responsible for the situation and are also the keys to correcting the situation. I believe the best way fathers and other male role models can do this is through example, by calling it out, by actually caring.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #2: Inspirational Interview – Annita Lucchesi, Canada and USA
Annita Lucchesi serves as executive director of Sovereign Bodies Institute, a non-profit research institute dedicated to building the capacity of Indigenous communities to respond to gender and sexual violence, and founded the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) database. She is a Cheyenne descendant and a survivor of domestic and sexual violence and trafficking. Annita is pursuing a Ph.D. in geography at the University of Arizona, where she serves on the advisory board for the university’s Gender Based Violence Consortium. In her Inspirational Interview, she spoke about why she founded the MMIW database, saying that there is “a fundamental disinterest in protecting Indigenous women and apathy towards the violence they experience. Indigenous women are also dually invisibilised and hypervisible—we are erased and silenced in media, professional and political spheres, and research, and yet also made hypervisible as sexual objects, criminals, addicts, and victims of violence. The database resists this apathy and in/hyper-visibility by striving to amplify the voices of missing and murdered Indigenous women daily, while also uplifting the work of Indigenous women leaders, organisers, artists and researchers, so that we can start representing ourselves for the full human beings we are.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #3: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Interview – Carl-Henrik Hall, Denmark
Carl-Henrik Hall has worked for the EU for nearly 30 years and spent many years overseas outside of Denmark and Europe. He has also worked with the European Commission on various policy areas including development cooperation, regional policy and justice and home affairs. In his 30 For 30 Father’s Day interview, he talked about how mindful parenting is an essential part of preventing violence against women: “Fathers, as well as mothers, must bring up their sons to be respectful of girls and women, and for them to understand that while men and women are different, they are equal and have equal rights. Equally important is to bring up our daughters to be assertive and fully aware of their worth.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #4: Inspirational Interview – Caroline LaPorte, USA
Caroline LaPorte is the Senior Native Affairs Policy Advisor for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and is based in Washington, D.C. Her work focuses on housing, human rights, children and youth, firearms and criminal justice affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives all within the gender-based violence framework. In her Inspirational Interview, she talked extensively about violence against Native women in the United States, saying: “We have to address the root causes of violence in tribal communities: genocide and colonisation. Until we are willing to look at how our laws and policies have been born of and shaped by those two things, we will never be able to undo the current western legal framework we have to operate within. We can only end violence against Native women by being good relatives, returning to traditional values and customs, respecting tribal sovereignty, and building capacities for tribes and tribal programmes to address these issues in their own culturally appropriate ways.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #5: Inspirational Interview – Dawn Elizabeth Wilcox, USA
Dawn Wilcox is a registered nurse who is a domestic violence survivor, activist and educator. She founded Women Count USA in 2017 to create a national database and femicide census of all women and girls murdered by men in the United States. She also teaches others how to identify and challenge misogynistic, victim-blaming media narratives of domestic violence and murders of women. In her Inspirational Interview, she discussed male violence against women extensively, saying: “Violence against women occurs on a continuum. Sexist ideas, speech and the normalisation of attitudes that women are the property of men lay the groundwork for the dehumanisation of women – which is the foundation of violence against them. Male violence against women should be prosecuted and punished as vigorously and harshly as the same crime would be if the victim were a stranger – and regardless of whether a woman is willing to testify against her abuser. If we can prosecute murder without the testimony of a victim, we can do the same with domestic violence, especially when there are often injuries to speak for themselves.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #6: Inspirational Interview – E. Laurie Shiell-Smith, Bermuda
E. Laurie Shiell-Smith is the Executive Director of the Centre Against Abuse (CAA) in Bermuda, which she has led for the last 10 years, building it to become the leading agency in the country for providing services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. She was also the chairperson of the Bermuda Women’s Council between 2010 and 2014. In her Inspirational Interview, she talked about how her grandmother inspired her to join the anti-violence against women movement and also set an example for breaking the cycle of violence: “My grandmother was a great proponent of stopping violence against women. She was raised in an extremely abusive household, with an abusive father. It was her desire that she would end that cycle of abuse from her side of the family, and so she spoke to her children about this behaviour, and also to me and my sister quite regularly about what she endured as a child, and how not follow that behaviour. My grandmother married a man that was the perfect example for her children and grandchildren on how a man should treat a woman. She freed herself from the cycle of abuse.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #7: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Interview – Eugene Hung, USA
After a long career as a Christian minister, Eugene Hung worked for several years in the NGO and higher education sectors as an advocate for women’s rights and the prevention of relationship and sexual violence. He speaks at conferences across the U.S., writes for both print and online publications and serves as a recurring guest on public radio. When asked how fathers and other male role models can teach boys to help stop violence against women, he said: “Dads and other father figures can be role models for how boys relate to women and girls, and that includes being involved together in activism! It begins with teaching boys how to empathise with the oppression that girls and women experience, helping them to understand their own male privilege and how they can speak up as allies. It also involves exposing boys to stories of girls and women who do great and heroic things, highlighting the struggle for equal rights and gender equality as a noble cause worth joining.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #8: Inspirational Interview – Joe Samalin, USA
Joe Samalin is a consultant and trainer on preventing sexual violence, and the co-founder of MenChallenging, an online campaign for men challenging gender violence. He has worked on domestic violence, sexual violence, and anti-stalking with a wide range of communities, including with fraternities and other groups of college students, for over 15 years. In his Inspirational Interview, he spoke candidly about the current state of male involvement in the anti-violence against women movement: “Men have been joining discussions and actions on gender violence at such a pace that we are not doing the critical internal work around power and privilege. Often, we are not only being hypocritical in our work but often wind up causing the very harm we seek to eradicate. I have seen an increase in harassment and violence committed by men doing anti-violence work and an increasing gender pay gap as well. We must acknowledge this and do everything we can to challenge it.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #9: 30 For 30 Father’s Day Interview – John Marcotte, USA
John Marcotte is the father of two super-heroic daughters and the founder of Heroic Girls, a non-profit dedicated to achieving gender equality in the real world by improving representation of women in girls in mass media. He has given a TED Talk on why superheroes are good for girls (and women) and was a 2016 HeForShe Champion for Change honoree from UN Women for his work in promoting gender equality. Speaking about how fathers and other male role models can encourage boys to take an interest in stopping violence against women, he said: “We lead by example. Don’t let the mildly sexist joke on a sitcom slide without pausing to explain why it’s wrong. Don’t refuse to buy your son a doll because it’s a “girl toy.” Watch movies with princesses in them. Talk about institutional sexism at an early age. Show them the way to use whatever privilege they might have in this world for good. Our mass media not only denies girls confidence and agency, it denies boys opportunity for empathy.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #10: Survivor Stories Interview – Laura Bonetzky-Joseph, USA
Laura Bonetzky-Joseph is a mother and a featured speaker at various churches, libraries, and conferences on trauma healing. She has three books in the works on trauma healing which she has based on her research on domestic violence in her home state, using her own story as the basis. In her Survivor Stories interview, she spoke frankly about the importance of highlighting and paying attention to stories told by survivors: “Women are NOT property and we have a divide with women right now with many who accuse women of lying about rape, saying we are feminazis for wanting safe, healthy relationships and equal respect. Our voices are rising and more and more survivors need to know their stories matter, that what may be happening in their life or health may have a direct link to unresolved trauma and help open their eyes to see where to find their cure.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #11: Survivor Stories Interview – Melinda Kunst, USA
Melinda Kunst, a child abuse/domestic violence survivor, first began sharing her story by blogging and was later on encouraged to write her memoir. She is a domestic abuse speaker and speaks on topics such as thriving after abuse, self-esteem challenges, teen dating violence, vision boards and more. In her Survivor Stories interview, she discussed the importance of education in ending violence against women, saying: “Education is the key to working towards ending violence against women. Start teaching children what a healthy relationship is when they are young, to learn boundaries in a relationship and to communicate well with one another. But also to begin to educate adults to learn all of these things now in order to pass them down to the next generation.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #12: Inspirational Interview – Nanette Chezum, USA
Nanette Chezum is a nationally recognised speaker in the United States and an active volunteer with various Colorado-based and national non-profits that educate people about domestic abuse, promote healthy relationships and empower survivors to heal, thrive and live their best lives. A survivor of a verbally and psychologically abusive relationship with a law enforcement officer, her particular focus is on educating the public about Officer-Involved Domestic Violence (OIDV). In her Inspirational Interview, she called on the police and other law enforcement agencies to be proactive in addressing OIDV: “Acknowledge it happens. Create policy within your departments and enforce it. This policy is separate from civilian policy. Do not cover it up. Be transparent. Every state in the U.S. has a POST division: Peace Officers Standards & Training. Law enforcement will not usually make a move on most subjects unless their state POST mandates that they do. It starts with POST. The chief of every department sets the tone for the officers that report to him/her. If a chief takes OIDV seriously, names it, calls it out and drills the message into their minds, more people will take it seriously and not protect each other and minimise it as often. OIDV must be addressed during the academy process as well.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #13: Inspirational Interview – Perry H. Trice, USA
Perry H. Trice is the Programme Coordinator for Shelby SafePet, a statewide programme of Shelby Humane in Alabama that provides services for the pets of domestic violence victims who are escaping their abusers. In his Inspirational Interview, he discussed how the general public is still unable to see the connection between domestic violence and animal welfare: “In many of the groups I work with, even for those who are very open to the cause of ending domestic violence, there is still a disconnect that the welfare of animals is somehow a separate issue. Animals aren’t people, but as members of the family they do have value; they matter. In one of my presentations I show a list of ways one might identify child abuse/neglect. Then I show a side-by-side comparison of a list of animal abuse/neglect identifiers and nearly every time my audience is surprised to learn they are nearly identical.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #14: Survivor Stories Interview – Rebecca McGranahan, USA
Rebecca McGranahan is a survivor of domestic abuse, kidnapping, rape and a near fatal assault at the hands of a person she dearly loved. After surviving the abuse, she went on to rebuild her life, including finishing her degree in interdisciplinary studies with emphasis on education, political science, psychology and journalism. In her Survivor Stories interview, she offered a number of ideas for eradicating violence against women: “Early education for prevention and firmer laws that provide stricter consequences for abuse. We need to punish the abusers, not the survivors. We need to empower women a lot more in the media and teach self-reliance for women at an early age. We must reshape the way women think about themselves and empower them with knowledge of preventing abuse instead of enduring it. We must teach children that women are equals amongst each other and amongst men. I think the media plays a huge part in the way we view women. Laws need to show that women are not throw-away, sexualised objects to be punished for their very existence. We need to show that violence against women will no longer be tolerated.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #15: Inspirational Interview – Soraya Chemaly, USA
Soraya Chemaly is an award-winning writer and media critic whose writing appears regularly in national and international media including The Atlantic, The Nation, Verge, Quartz, TIME, Salon, The Guardian and The New Statesman. She speaks frequently on topics related to inclusivity, free speech, sexualised violence, data and technology. As an activist, Ms. Chemaly has spearheaded successful campaigns challenging corporations to address online harassment and abuse. In her Inspirational Interview, she offered some practical and timely advice to men and boys who want to help women and girls in the age of #MeToo: “First, stop doubting and minimising what women are saying. Believe them. Studies show, for example, that the majority of men in the US don’t think sexism is real or impactful in women’s lives. Studies also show, among men, high degrees of doubt about women’s experiences of harassment and assault. So, in effect, when women tell their stories, or demand to be taken seriously, men think they are lying and exaggerating. We are going to go nowhere, or only very slowly make change, as long as this is the case.”
Pixel Project Blog Interview Selection #16: Inspirational Interview – Wairimu Munyinyi-Wahome, Kenya
Wairimu Munyinyi-Wahome is the Executive Director of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW). She is an advocacy and policy specialist with over 15 years of international experience in Namibia, Somaliland, Sierra Leone and, Kenya, where she had served with the Norwegian Refugee Council as the Regional Advocacy, Protection and Communications Advisor for Eastern and Horn of Africa and Yemen and with Oxfam in Kenya as the Programmes Director before joining COVAW. In her Inspirational Interview, she said: “I strongly believe we can end violence against women and girls because violence is not a default setting of human beings – it is learned behaviour. We can influence families and communities to be violence-free through mitigation strategies and the promotion of non-violence strategies for resolving conflict.”
- Alessandro Bertolucci – Courtesy of Alessandro Bertolucci
- Annita Lucchesi – Courtesy of Annita Lucchesi and the Sovereign Bodies Institute
- Carl-Henrik Hall – Courtesy of Carl-Henrik Hall
- Caroline LaPorte – Courtesy of Caroline LaPorte and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
- Dawn Elizabeth Wilcox – Courtesy of Dawn Elizabeth Wilcox and Women Count USA
- Laurie Shiell-Smith – Courtesy of E. Laurie Shiell-Smith and the Center Against Abuse
- Eugene Hung – Courtesy of Eugene Hung
- Joe Samalin – Courtesy of Joe Samalin and org
- John Marcotte – Courtesy of John Marcotte
- Laura Bonetzky-Joseph – Courtesy of Laura Bonetzky-Joseph
- Melinda Kunst – Courtesy of Melinda Kunst
- Nanette Chezum – Courtesy of Nanette Chezum and the Courage Corner
- Perry H. Trice – Courtesy of Perry H. Trice and Shelby Humane
- Rebecca McGranahan – Courtesy of Rebecca McGranahan
- Soraya Chemaly – Courtesy of Soraya Chemaly
- Wairimu Munyinyi-Wahome – Courtesy of Wairimu Munyinyi-Wahome and the Coalition on Violence Against Women