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Trafficking Survivor Writer & Artist Christine Stark

25 Apr

human trafficking, prostitution, christine stark, dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, sexual abuse, native american, ojibwe, minnesota

My sister trafficking/prostitution survivor Christine Stark is an extraordinary writer, poet and visual artist. Her new novel, Nickels A Tale of Dissociation, has been named a finalist for the Annual Lambda Literary Awards, 2011.

In a recent interview with the Bozeman Times Chris discusses what it means to be a survivor:

This is a book most immediately for and about abuse survivors, but it should not be limited to that audience in the same way that, say, James Baldwin should not be limited to gay, African American readers. Everyone can relate to the protagonist because although some of her experiences are specific, there are universal themes in the book, including love and joy and play. A lot of writing and activist work around sexual exploitation wants to focus on just the miserable, abusive aspects of the victims/survivors’ lives, but I feel that does a great disservice. It removes agency from those being hurt, and it can stereotype survivors, reducing them to one-dimensional victims such that “victim” becomes everything about them, thus stripping them of their full humanity.

Nickels is an honest portrayal of someone who must fight like hell just to live; but also, at the same time, takes risk to love and be responsible for a mess that was not her own doing but that she cannot escape. That is one of the most unjust things about abuse: the abused must live with, to one degree or another, the ramifications of the abuser’s actions. She cannot be absolved of responsibility, by spending X number of months in a prison, or visiting a religious leader, or doing penance in some other way. The aftereffects are always present, always causing tremendous pain and confusion and distancing, and often poverty, homelessness, depression, and more abuse. There is always hope, and many do get away and heal, but thanks to Post Traumatic Stress, the past becomes present, often at the most misopportune times. Characters and people do heal, so that the trauma lessens and becomes manageable, but it does not happen overnight. Healing occurs over years, and many of those years are very difficult and painful and confusing.

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Trapped Indoors: Survivor Interview in the Irish Examiner

15 Feb

prostitution survivor trafficking interview irish examiner sex work feminism women rants

There’s an extremely important interview with a trafficking/prostitution survivor in the Irish Examiner.  So many of my experiences mirror what this eloquent, brave woman describes. Here’s an excerpt

“Under Irish law, the abusive nature of prostitution has been allowed to  flourish unhindered and it is a living hell for the women struggling to survive  within it. It is primarily for the sake of these women, but also for all of us  who want to live in a gender-equal society, that I am gladdened to see the Irish  Government finally pledge to tackle this issue.

“I only hope that they  go the right way about it, which is to criminalise the purchase of sex, because  nothing will change for prostituted women and girls until the commercialisation  of female bodies is dealt the hammer-blow it so richly deserves.

“To  those who would say legalisation would make prostitution safer: I think the same  thing any former prostitute I’ve ever spoken to thinks, which is that you may as  well legalise rape and battery to try to make them safer. You cannot legislate  away the dehumanising, degrading trauma of prostitution, and if you try to, you  are accepting a separate class of women should exist who have no access to the  human rights everyone else takes for granted.”

Read more.