Dawn Schiller is an expert survivor-leader in the anti-trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault movements. Abused and trafficked on the streets of Hollywood in her teens by the infamous porn actor, John Holmes, she survived the gruesome Wonderland Avenue murders in 1981 and ultimately turned him into the police. Her subsequent years of struggle to survivorship, education and service offer valuable first-hand insight to community advocates. Today, she is a national speaker, educator, consultant and author.
Dawn earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude in 2012 from Eastern Oregon University with honors in communication and gender studies. She served on the committee to revise the university’s sexual harassment policy and received the “Women of Vision and Courage” award from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). She is a Phi Kappa Phi Kathleen Greey Fellow and was granted a full tuition teaching fellowship from Oregon State University earning her Master of Arts in Women’s Studies in 2017. She has served as a board member for Shelter From the Storm, has founded the non-profit E.S.T.E.A.M., (Empowering Successful Teens through Education, Awareness & Mentoring), and developed the “Mirrors of Me” girl’s art, writing and mentoring camp for at-risk and marginalized youth. In film, Dawn has worked as an associate producer and consultant on the movie “Wonderland” where actress Kate Bosworth portrayed her while actor Val Kilmer played John Holmes. In television, her story has been told on the Travel Channel (2011) Hidden City Crime Files: L.A., with Marcus Sakey, on the Investigative Discovery Channel (2013), Porn Star Pedophile, CBS KOIN Channel Six, The Road Through Wonderland, and featured on Human Trafficking in the United States, produced by the Crittenden Foundation & the Office for Victims of Crime (2016).
Dawn taught women’s studies and activism courses at Oregon State University and shares her compelling story of abuse, trafficking and survival in her presentations and trainings to inspire, educate and motivate communities across the United States. Her academic presentations and trainings dynamically infuse personal lived experience and cover topics of anti-violence, anti-trafficking (Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children), teen/child abuse, the media, ally-ship, trauma informed care, resilience and healing. They include:
The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes
Our Throwaway Teens – Who Are They and How Can We Help?
The Faces of Trafficking—Combating Sexual Exploitation of Youth in America
Trafficking at the Intersection— An Intersectional Analysis of the Trafficking of Marginalized Youth and Adults in the U.S
My Name is No One—Fighting the Multi-Billion Dollar Porn Industry’s Movement to Keep Abuse Invisible
Resilience in the Face of a Mountain—From Survival to Healing to Service
Help me Sister! —Strategies for Becoming an Effective Ally in the Anti-Violence/Anti-Trafficking Movement
Media and the Survivor—When Telling Your Story is Like a Punch in the Face
Difference, Power & Discrimination as a Basis for Trauma Informed Care
Nationally, Dawn is a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC.) She was an Education Committee Advisory Board Member for the National Center of Victims of Crime out of Washington, D.C., The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center and Voices Set Free. She is a member of the trafficking survivor group, “Survivor 2 Survivor” (S2S). She has represented Val Kilmer in New York for the Volvo For Life Awards in both 2006 and 2008. Most importantly, Dawn spent over six years completing her memoir, The Road Through Wonderland, detailing her journey of survival (August 2010, Medallion Press.) Nominated for the R.O.S.E. (Regaining Ones Self Esteem) award in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and the Sunshine Peace Award 2010.
In 2016, Dawn received the trafficking survivor “Granting Courage” scholarship from the I.C.E. Foundation. She is an art and social justice writer-at-large for the magazine, Crixeo.com and regularly conducts memoir-writing workshops in the Los Angeles area. In 2017, Dawn joined the board of directors at Face Forward, an organization that provides reconstructive surgery to survivors who have been disfigured by violence. Above all else, Dawn’s greatest joy is the privilege to be a parent to her talented and beautiful daughter. She is eternally grateful for her recovery. www.dawn-schiller.com