Interview with Christine Stark: Author, Speaker, and Survivor
Holly is a survivor of child sex trafficking and an advocate...
RICHMOND, VA, April 13, 2013 – Building working relationships with other advocates and organizations is important in any field of advocacy, including anti-human trafficking. Listening to and learning from others increases personal growth and perspective.
Over the next few weeks, several advocates and organizations will share their ideas, efforts, and achievements. Readers are encouraged to reach out to interviewees in order to learn more about their philosophies, goals, and strategies.
This weekend’s featured advocate is Christine Stark, an author, speaker, and a survivor.
How did you get involved with anti-human trafficking advocacy/speaking?
When I was 21-years-old I began speaking out to save my life and to help others who were being hurt in prostitution and pornography. The first time I spoke publicly was in the 90s at a ‘Take Back the Night’ rally in Madison, Wisconsin. I had just begun to deal with being used in prostitution and pornography as a girl and teenager.
I was very poor. I had no one to turn to, and I was afraid that some of the family members who had used me would do something to me. My experiences were that the audience, mostly women and mostly feminist, did not want to deal with the issue.
Given that I was not sure I would find a way to stay alive, the silencing around this issue angered me. It actually pushed me to speak out more. I then spent years organizing as a grassroots activist, including bringing in well-known abolitionist speakers, giving my own talks, and many other actions.
Over the decades I have spoken nationally and internationally, conducted research, and published my essays, poetry, and fiction, including two books.
Did any organization or advocate play a significant role in your healing / empowerment process?
Andrea Dworkin helped me tremendously. She was a feminist writer and activist against prostitution and pornography, and also a survivor of prostitution. Over the years, I brought her to speak three times. She encouraged my writing and implicitly understood my past and the difficulties [involved].
She was kind and generous to me; without her friendship and understanding at that particularly difficult time in my life, I’m not sure what would have become of me. I don’t think people understand how hard it is, often for many years, once you get out. I had virtually no emotional or political support in my 20s, no family, and I lived in poverty.
The torture committed against me as a child and teenager overwhelmed me as an adult. I barely survived those years.
Are you working on any current projects?
Currently, I am in an MSW program and gathering stories about Native American women in prostitution (aka “research”). I’m also finishing my second novel, Carnival Lights. Once I’m done with Carnival Lights, I will complete my half-written memoir.
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