APB is a Global Speaker, Celebrity & Entertainment Agency

Speaking to the World

Menu
Dawn  Schiller

Dawn Schiller

Sex Trafficking Survivor & Domestic Violence Prevention Activist

Biography

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. Read More >

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.

Nationally, Dawn is a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC.) She served as 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. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Surviving John Holmes

Throwaway Teens

A Family in Crisis

Speech Topics

The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes

This eye-opening presentation brings audiences through a young girl's journey of surviving abuse and human trafficking and how she ultimately became a woman of leadership instilling hope in others. Dawn shines a light on the predatory tactics of abusers while simultaneously assisting teens in finding a way to steer clear of the life to which she fell prey.  Read More >

  Read Less ^

  • Child/Teen Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Victim Identification
  • Predator Identification
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Law Enforcement Collaboration
  • Strategies for Survival

The Faces of Trafficking: Combating Sexual Exploitation of Youth and Adults in America

In this presentation, Dawn provides an in-depth and comprehensive view of the problem of sex trafficking in both urban, suburban and rural United States, the manifestations and challenges for vulnerable and diverse populations, and how communities can become true allies to protect and empower them. Read More >

  Read Less ^

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Rural, Suburban and Urban America
  • Victim Identification
  • Difference, Power and Discrimination
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Anti-Violence/Anti-Trafficking
  • Anti-Oppression
  • Advocacy

Trafficking at the Intersection : An Intersectional Analysis of the Trafficking of Marginalized Youth and Adults in the United States

This presentation examines the historical and current framework of sex trafficking and the rescue of youth and adults in the United States. Teaching the effects of intersectional oppressions through the lens of difference, power and discrimination, Dawn profiles the marginalized and impoverished who are vulnerable to sex trafficking, bringing them from the edges of obscurity into the vision of the advocates who seek to help them. Read More >

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Victim Identification
  • Intersectionality
  • Difference, Power and Discrimination
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Anti-Violence/Anti-Trafficking
  • Anti-Oppression
  • Advocacy

  Read Less ^

Our Throw Away Teens: Who Are They and How Can We Help?

Giving an insider's view of what it's like to be a "throwaway teen," Dawn seeks to raise awareness about the vulnerabilities faced by teens growing up in abusive and neglected environments. Audiences are informed about vital issues related to teen victimization and encouraged to work in their communities to better shelter the teen population through outreach and education. 

  • Teen Victimization
  • Abuse & Neglect
  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Diversity
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Advocacy 

My Name is No One: Fighting the Multi-Billion Dollar Porn Industry’s Movement to Keep Me Invisible

This presentation focuses on the barriers, threats, coercions and fraudulent attempts by porn industry representatives to steal, discard and rewrite Dawn's story as a victim of abuse and trafficking. Identifying blatant and insidious acts of aggression, misogyny and oppressive tactics from her own experience while integrating current examples of pornography's suppression of women's voices, Dawn teaches how a victim can push back, claim her voice and overcome. Read More >

 

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Speaking Out and Staying Safe
  • Strategies for Survival
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Pornography
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Rape Culture
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

  Read Less ^

Resilience in the Face of a Mountain: From Survival to Healing to Service

  Read More >

In this presentation, Dawn recounts her multiple-year journey to becoming a survivor, expert, trainer and teacher. From picking up the broken pieces of self, trauma-specific therapy, addressing drug, alcohol and co-dependency issues—to community service, motherhood, education and leadership—this is a journey of facing an insurmountable mountain to understanding that sometimes the mountain is a friend.

  Read Less ^

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Strategies for Survival
  • Advocacy
  • Survivor Leadership
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Media and the Victim: When Telling Your Story is Like a Punch in the Face

This presentation examines the multiple interview styles used by the media to write a victim's story, highlighting rape culture and misogynistic language that subsequently re-traumatizes the victim. Drawing from numerous interviews, media portrayals and reports of John Holmes and the Wonderland murders, Dawn addresses the adverse impact of mild-to-aggressive, oppressive language on a survivor and outlines the importance of trauma informed interviewing and reporting. Read More >

 

  • Violence Against Vulnerable Populations
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Media Responsibility
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Language and Rape Culture

  Read Less ^

Help Me Sister: Strategies for Becoming an Effective Ally in the Anti-Violence/ Anti-Trafficking Movement

A history and presentation of how privilege helps and harms victims, advocates, organizations and the movement, with strategies for national and global comprehension of successful alliance. Dawn highlights the potential dangers of oppressing and re-traumatizing a victim's survivorship and outlines best practices to support the anti-violence/anti-trafficking movement.

  • Anti-Oppression
  • Non-profits and Independents
  • Survivor Leadership
  • Advocacy
  • Difference, Power and Discrimination
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Anti-Violence and Anti-Trafficking

Difference, Power, & Discrimination as a Basis for Trauma Informed Care

Difference, Power, & Discrimination as a Basis for Trauma Informed Care Read More >

Understanding how to help a victim of violence (including trafficking) requires an analysis of not only the violence that they experience, but also an in-depth look into a person's social identity. Dawn demonstrates how difference, power and discrimination are socially constructed and how marginalization manifests pre-existing, often intersecting, trauma markers for various community members.

 

Participants will be challenged around implicit bias and assumptions about victims and survivors; explore the interconnectedness between barriers faced by traditionally underserved populations when trying to access various systems for support, and how those barriers may compound trauma.  Dawn provides an overview of strategies for developing survivor-defined, empowering, trauma informed and culturally responsive programming for survivors of violence. This presentation is designed to enhance an advocates understanding of trauma and trauma informed care while being better prepared to more effectively respond to the social complexities of survivor’s lived-experiences. Read Less ^

  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Rape Culture
  • Advocacy
  • Systems of Oppression
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Assault
Connect with Dawn Schiller