Festival Organizer Winnie M Li Named 2017 Not the Booker Prize Winner

We are pleased to announce to the Clear Lines community that our festival organizer, Winnie M Li, has won the 2017 Not for Booker prize for her debut novel, Dark Chapter.

Dark Chapter, which chronicles the violence and aftermath of a brutal sexual assault of a Taiwanese-American woman in Belfast, was the leader among both readers and the judges panel and beat out four other shortlisted titles for the top prize: Man With a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige, The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena Macdonald, Not Thomas by Sara Gethin, and Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout.

Li based Dark Chapter around her own experience of, as she describes, falling between the cracks of the justice system following her sexual assault. It is from this place that Li co-founded Clear Lines as a space to talk about sexual assault — and we are thrilled to be bringing Clear Lines back for its second iteration from Dec. 2-3, 2017. Stay tuned for more details on this year’s programming.

#itsnotok – Films of the Clearlines Festival are now online!

The first ever Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week is taking place from the 1st-7th February 2016 to help public, statutory and third sector organisations to participate in a discussion about sexual abuse and sexual violence. During the week initiatives like Clearlines Festival and organisations, individuals and groups working in this area or affected by these issues are invited to raise awareness about sexual abuse and sexual violence and how to prevent it in the UK. The hashtag is .

To coincide with this week, we are releasing films of some of the amazing sessions that took place this summer.

Some highlights include:

What do we tell the kids about sexual abuse? How do our messages about sexual abuse confuse children? Learn why your child is unlikely to tell you if they are being sexually abused.

Finding pleasure after pain: Sex and intimacy after sexual violence. How can you build or reclaim your sex life after experiencing sexual violence?

How can we improve media coverage of sexual assault and abuse? Why do certain stories make the news and others don’t? Can we can change the way media professionals understand and portray sexual assault and abuse in the media?

Watch more of the films here.

Prize Shortlistings & Our Crowdfunder Backers

We are so thrilled to announce that Clear Lines has been nominated for the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize, awarded annually to recognise women who work against male violence.  It is truly an honor to be shortlisted for the Group Award, alongside three fantastic organizations: Million Women Rise, Sisters Uncut, and Rights of Women. Our Co-Founders Winnie M Li and Dr. Nina Burrowes will be speaking at the closing event of the Feminism in London Conference on Sunday, October 25th, when the winners of the prize will be announced. (Winnie is also shortlisted separately in the Individual Award category, and this recent feature in The Irish Times details her personal experience and forthcoming book). We hope to see some of you on Oct 25th!

CrowdfunderWe’ve certainly come a long way from April, when we didn’t have a name for our festival or even any funds to stage an event.  In fact, the only way Clear Lines became possible was through the generosity and support of our Crowdfunder backers.  Although there were 138 backers in total, here’s a list of those individuals who donated £25 or more in our five-week campaign. Once again, thank you for all your support in helping us start a new conversation about sexual assault and consent.

A Huge Thanks to our Crowdfunder Backers!

Abigail Macleod

Alexandra V. Fredricks

Amy Rodgers Marceau

Andreas Schaefer

Andrew Whitman

Anna Sherratt

Anne P. Bowers

TeamAnnie Gowanloch

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Ben Yeoh

Bhanu Bhatnagar

Bernardine Evaristo

Carl Robert Packman

Catherine Hogel

Chris Dent

peopleChris Smith

Christopher Myers

Claire Whitehead

Cory-Ann Joseph

Danielle Lambert

David Oppenheim

Diana Barran

Elizabeth Dowling

Elly Cardwell

Elsa Weill

Emily Jacob

Winnie_NinaEmily Reubush

Emmeline Graham

Erin Breeze

Gwen Cover

Heidi & Jude

Ilona Brenninkmeijer

Inge-Lise Mackaay

Jack Steadman

James Rawson

James R Butler

Jessica Montalvo

Jill Robson

Jin Jeong

Jenny McPhee

poetryJess McCabe

Jessica Gregson

Joan Porter MacIver

John Gasper

John Wilkes

Johs Pierce

Jon Grabelle Herrmann

Judy Faulkner

Julian Astin

Karen D’Arc

volunteersKelly Lewis

Kirsty Jardine

kxr

lea bowman

Lisa Lin Sherman

Lisa Thompson

Margalit Edelman

Marshall Nannes

Mary Lou Hartman

Michael & Lucy Herron

Nicole M. Slayton

audience 2Nikhil Chandra

Oliver Hwu

Oonagh Kearney

Patricia Donohue

Paul Carney

Peter Laskie

Phyra McCandless

Ruth Pordes

Rose Hastings

Rose Thompson

Saukok Tiampo

media3Scott Fletcher

Seraphima Kennedy

Seena Perumal

Shefali Roy

Shirley Chiu

Silvia Segerstrale

Stephanie Mosely

Stephen Strachan

Susan & Christopher Lai

Suzy Ryder

real menRev. Tamara Torres McGovern

Till Dudler

Trina Vargo

Vicky Brock

Vincent McAviney

Wiebke Pekrull

 

Thanks for making Clear Lines a success!

volunteersWe’re proud to say the first-ever Clear Lines Festival was a great success!  From last Thursday until Sunday, Old Paradise Yard in Lambeth hosted a truly special gathering of speakers, artists, survivors, experts, and festival-goers — all eager to engage in an open, honest, authentic conversation about sexual assault and consent.  We could not have done this without the support of our crowdfunders, sponsors, performers, panelists, volunteers and YOU.  So thank you for following us on this journey.  We’ll now be taking a break to recover, and then have a think about where to take Clear Lines in the future.

Tears and laughter

audienceMany of our events were sold-out, with an estimated 500 people coming to participate at Clear Lines.  At our Theatre Night, tears were shed both in the audience and by our artists during the Q&A after these hard-hitting performances. And at our Comedy Night, we shook with laughter listening to Josie Long, Sarah Kendall, Stuart Black, and our MC and curator Tiff Stevenson.  Bridget Christie gave us a special preview of her Edinburgh show, and poets from the Burn After Reading Collective moved us with their insightful, elegant readings at our closing event. Panels like ‘Where have all the good men gone?’ and ‘Sex and intimacy after Sexual Violence‘ had our audiences fully engaged in heated discussions with our panelists and performers.

Only at Clear Lines would the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London appear on the same night as comedian Josie Long — or would Bridget Christie’s Edinburgh preview follow a panel called ‘Do Real Men Get Raped?’  If you missed some of our events, we are working on preparing our video coverage, and hope to make these videos available online soon.

What Those Involved Said: 

“It was an amazing experience. although very intense, it felt a safe space where vulnerability could be shared and I felt there was also a bit of collective healing.

“What you’ve done is pretty miraculous and you could see how the festival lit up those people. I haven’t experienced such positivity and hope like that, possibly, ever, especially in the face of such a tough subject.

“Thank you for organising such an incredible festival. Words fail me sometimes, when I need them most, they start falling away the moment I think of how it is one thing to be a survivor and it is another thing altogether to make things happen, like the festival, so that someone else can survive, can continue surviving – because I do believe it is an ongoing process, a constant working through it. Your festival, helped me do that, helped so many others do it, or at least know how to deal with it a little better. People will have woken up this morning a little bit changed because of you, because of what you made happen.”  

Clear Lines in the News

We’ve been thrilled by press coverage of Clear Lines, organised by festival sponsor On Road, including this Channel 4 News segment which aired on Monday:

On the Friday morning of the festival, comedian Tiff Stevenson and our co-founder Dr Nina Burrowes spoke on local BBC Radio stations throughout the UK, discussing the use of comedy in addressing sexual assault.  Our other co-founder Winnie M Li did the same, and also appeared on BBC Radio Ulster last night.  Her story as a survivor-turned-activist was also covered by the Irish News and the Daily Mail.  Our media panelist Radhika Sanghani wrote this Telegraph article about our revenge porn panel, and Vice magazine featured our visual artist Ela Xora.

(On Road is doing a larger piece of work on how sexual assault and abuse is covered in the media so do get in touch with them to find out more or if you are interested in being involved.)

Social Media Buzz during the Festival 

Our audiences were busy on Twitter at Clear Lines. Have a look at the festival hashtag #clearlinesfest and check out this storify from our Volunteer Coordinator Kate Llewellyn:

What did you think?

We’d love to hear what you thought of Clear Lines, so please spare a few moments to fill out a quick survey. We’d be really grateful.

Or you could email us at info@clearlines.org.uk — what was your favourite event?  How has coming to the festival changed your attitude towards sexual assault and the people it affects?  Your feedback will help us plan for the future.

What’s next?

Many people have said they’d like to see Clear Lines again in the future — or in other parts of the UK.  We are a small team of volunteers and need to think long and hard about what we can do next.  In the meantime, we’ll be sending out thank you packages to our crowdfunders and editing our videos of the festival.  Johanna Ward is working on her photographic project ‘The Watchful Eyes’, which some of you participated in.  But do spread the word about Clear Lines and what you got out of it!

The sun is shining, cakes have been freshly baked – Day 3 of Clear Lines Festival is about to begin!

Clear Lines Festival is now in full swing. Yesterday at Day 2 we started the day with a panel of legal experts from festival sponsors international law firm McAllister Olivarius discussing how we can challenge sexual harassment and damaging workplace cultures, as well as positive developments in the law on revenge pornography.

media

At our media panel event we had a great conversation with journalists from the BBC and The Telegraph about the role of media coverage of sexual assault, complete with important feedback from audience members on how journalists can improve reporting.

theatre

The powerful plays in our Theatre Night really reflected the diversity of experiences of sexual violence, from the complexities of relationships involving domestic violence to questions around true “recovery” from abuse.

The festival has also been featured on Channel 4 news! Co-founders Winnie Li and Dr Nina Burrowes were interviewed and you can watch the clip online here.

And now for Day 3….

We are kicking off today with Dr Nina Burrowes and Survivors Together as they address the incredibly important issue of how we can talk to children about sexual abuse to keep them safe, followed by a discussion with our festival Artists-in-Residence Johanna Ward and Ela Xora about their exhibited work at the festival, and Johanna will also be creating a new piece of art during the day in her pop-up photo studio.

To reduce the incidence of sexual assault, we need to understand why perpetrators commit these crimes, and at 3pm Dr Nina Burrowes will be tackling the difficult issue of the psychology behind sexual offenders.

Nest at 4.30pm we have a brilliant panel of survivors, activists, criminal justice professionals and others to answer the questions about sexual assault that you’ve never had a chance to ask. This will be followed at 6.30pm by our event looking at how men can be part of the solution to sexual violence, with White Ribbon Campaign, National Ugly Mugs Scheme and blogger Chris Packe.

And to close – a nice bit of comedy! We’ve had lots of questions about how we can make jokes and laugh at sexual assault – well tonight you can find out! Join Tiff Stevenson, Sarah Kendall, Josie Long, and Stuart Black as they poke fun at cultural attitudes towards rape, sexuality, and the objectification of women. We have a few tickets left so grab yours here.

Here is the full Clear Lines Programme from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd of August. Check out the schedule too.

You can still book your tickets on Eventbrite.

Follow the #clearlinesfest hashtag and @ClearLinesUK on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend.

See you all later!

sexual assault let's talk about it_yellow (by alana@onroadmedia.org.uk)

Rolling into the second day of the Clear Lines Festival!

1

We’re off to a great start! On the first day of the festival, we had a moving film screening and fascinating Q & A, a packed house during the Arts and Activism Panel and in-depth conversations around domestic violence, singing workshops and lots of good connections.

Our co-founders Winnie M Li and Nina Burrowes have been speaking on BBC Radio about the festival and why we’re creating a new space to bring the community together to talk about sexual assault and consent using comedy, theatre and discussion. We’ve also been featured in SheRag Magazine.

We’re rolling into the second day of the Clear Lines Festival! At 2pm we’ll have another Open House Session with charities and support organisations like Sisters Uncut and Hestia. The event goes on over the weekend at I’klectik in Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG. Full directions and how to get there are on our website and the closest tube stations are Lambeth North, Westminster and Waterloo.

Today’s sessions:

From 4.30 – 5.45pm, we have a session on Creating clear lines on harassment and revenge pornography led by our festival sponsors international law firm McAllister Olivarius. Join Georgina Calvert-Lee and Halla Gunnarsdóttir for a conversation about what we should do about sexual harassment in the workplace and regulating revenge pornography. These two panel discussions will run back to back.

At 6pm, our expert media panel asks: How can we improve media coverage of sexual assault and abuse? The media plays an important role in perpetuating certain myths and narratives around abuse which has an impact on public (including potential jurors) perception of victims and perpetrators. The panel chaired BBC Scotland’s Head of Current Affairs, Marcus Ryder, with The Telegraph’s Radhika Sanghani, the BBC’s Alison Holt and Clear Lines co-founders Winnie M Li and Dr Nina Burrowes, will discuss why certain stories make the news and why others don’t, and whether we can change the way media professionals understand and portray sexual assault and abuse in the media. Read more on our blog.

Tonight’s Theatre Night kicks off at 8pm. Five plays which will be re-staged, in conjunction with Goblin Baby Theatre Company. Powerful and poignant, these plays explore victimhood, surviving, and recovering. They previously played to sold-out performances at the Unheard Festival in February at The Bread and Roses Theatre, a new writing festival exploring themes around sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Here is the full Clear Lines Programme from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd of August. Check out the schedule too.

You can still book your tickets on Eventbrite.

Follow the #clearlinesfest hashtag and @ClearLinesUK on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend.

See you all soon!

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Festival kicks off today – full programme is online!

The Clear Lines Festival starts today! Kicking off with an Open House Session at 2pm with charities and support organisations, the 4-day event takes place at I’klectik in Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG. Full directions and how to get there are on our website and the closest tube stations are Lambeth North, Westminster and Waterloo.

At 4.30pm today, there will be a panel discussion on domestic violence: ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’. Victims of domestic violence face multiple challenges to leaving abusive relationships.  These struggles are often misunderstood by family, friends and the general public. This event will explore these obstacles and suggest ways in which our perceptions can be changed. Featuring Pamela Zaballa and Helen Sweeney from Hestia, Independent Domestic Violence Advisor Mouna El Ogbani and Peter Kelly from Gallop.

From 6 – 7.15pm, Red Chigney will chair an ‘Arts & Activism: Tackling Sexual Assault’ panel looking how we can use art and creativity to challenge social attitudes around rape and gender-based violence. And asking why is cultural change so important alongside legal change? Join panellists from Femme FierceSouthall Black Sisters and #thisdoesntmeanyes in this discussion.

At 8pm, our Film Night kicks off with a double-bill of thought-provoking documentary films, including the BAFTA-nominated film ‘The Unspeakable Crime: Rape’, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers Sara Hardy and Blue Ryan and Emmy-nominated documentary ‘Brave Miss World’.

Here is the full Clear Lines Programme from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd of August. Check out the schedule too.

Book your tickets on Eventbrite.

Follow the #clearlinesfest hashtag and @ClearLinesUK on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend.

See you all soon!

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Improving media coverage of sexual assault – line-up confirmed for this Friday at 6pm

What are the stories that are not being told in the media? How well does the “goodie, baddie, victim” paradigm serve the audience when covering sexual assault and abuse stories? How can the media improve its handling of these stories? What are the interesting angles that could be used, which will still appeal to large audiences whilst improving public understanding of sexual crimes, its victims and perpetrators?

Our panel of journalists and experts will discuss these issues this Friday evening at 6pm. The evening will be hosted by Nathalie McDermott, director of On Road Media, Clear Lines Festival sponsor.

The panel will be chaired by BBC Scotland’s Head of Current Affairs, Marcus Ryder who will be joined by:

There are a handful of tickets left for this event – Register for your free ticket here.

Follow @clearlinesuk for updates and the hashtag for the event will be #clearlinesfestival.

What should we tell the kids about sexual abuse?

Blogged by Dr Nina Burrowes

Every parent needs to find a way of living with the risk of the sexual abuse of their child. The statistics are frightening. 20% of girls and 8% of boys experience some form of sexual abuse. Sadly this means that abuse is in every community. It’s a crime that stretches across class, ethnicity, and religious group. No child is immune from abuse – so what should parents do?

who are the abusers

The simple answer is – educate yourself. There is so much misinformation about abuse. So many unhelpful messages. Teaching your child to avoid strangers is NOT the main way to reducing the risk of sexual abuse.

It’s only by opening your eyes to the real risks that you can keep your child safe. From tots to teens our kids need us to shun the myths and open our eyes to the truth about abuse.

our knowledge is how we protect our kids

Join Dr Nina Burrowes, author of ‘Eyes open to sexual abuse. What every parent needs to know‘ and therapist Silke Katharina at The Clear Lines Festival for a conversation about the real risks and what you can do about them. The panel ‘What do we tell the kids about sexual abuse?’ is on Saturday 1st of August from 12.30 – 1.30pm.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite – book early to avoid disappointment as space is very limited.

Pop-up photo studio with Johanna Ward

We’re excited to be hosting a pop-up photo studio during Saturday and Sunday of the festival, as part of a special project by our Artist-in-Residence Johanna Ward.  Sign up to participate and take a visual stand against sexual violence and abuse!  Hear Johanna explain her project ’The Watchful Eyes’ in her own words:

Johanna Ward_8160‘The Watchful Eyes’ by Johanna Ward

Have you ever felt someone’s eyes upon you when your back was turned? We use our eyes to communicate many of our emotions and the effect can be powerful, before we’ve even spoken a word. Eyes can attract, they can repel and they can strike fear purely through the power of our gaze. But imagine a story told with a cropped frame, with only the eyes of a person peering out, acting alone as characters in a story – could as powerful a story be told?

Over the course of the 1st and 2nd August I’m running a pop-up photo studio in the hope of encouraging people – you – to garner your feelings on the deeply emotive subject of sexual violence, and present these emotions to the camera. If you feel fury, I want you to show this.  If you feel sadness, embrace it and show it. Whatever your emotion, if you’re willing to engage in this visual experiment, I ask you to make your statement and become a part of ‘The Watchful Eyes.’

The Fear,  Johanna Ward

The Fear, Johanna Ward

In the book Ways of Seeing, John Berger said men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. But in the context of the subject of this festival, I don’t believe it’s that straightforward. If neither person in the exchange of looking is threatened, perhaps the tropes learned through cinema and advertising may be true.  But where one is threatened, that person does not welcome the passivity Berger ascribes to the woman. The issues that arise when considering how to visually interpret a complex subject such as this inevitably drew me to our widest known storytelling media: cinema. Film affects how we perceive our sex, our identity, our sense of self and can have positive and negative affects. But even in 2015, mainstream media continues to push at the same gender clichés that have influenced society for decades.

I have also drawn further inspiration from a psychology article I once read in relation to experiments that used pictures of eyes to deter littering and theft. These subjects may be far removed from the subject of sexual violence, but the experiments are still fascinating. Psychologists placed pictures of “staring eyes,” sometimes with text and sometimes just the eyes themselves in areas afflicted by crime or laziness (people not clearing away their rubbish in a communal area) and in both cases, the presence of eyes positively reduced the number of items stolen, or left lying around. I found this fascinating and somehow the article stuck and revealed itself when I was approached to participate in this festival. I wondered how this could be applied if these guardian eyes were placed in dark alleyways, in bus shelters, or lonely streets. Could it deter sexual crime? Could it deter someone attempting to attack another?

By focusing on the dynamic between art and science, I want to address the imbalance between the supposed active (male) and passive (female) and perhaps challenge these gender stereotypes in imagery. This series of images will become the next chapter of my project, The Fear, currently a work in progress that explores the darker relationship between men and women through photography.

Pop-up photo studio, 1st and 2nd of August

Please sign up for a 10-20 minute session on either the 1st and 2nd August where it’ll just be you and me in a small studio. We can talk about your feelings on this subject, or if you prefer, you can stay silent — and along the way, I’ll be photographing your eyes.  Signing up is easy and can be done by clicking on this link:

http://doodle.com/s56ftafb9q6kfmbp