Brilliant Prostitution Survivor Writer & Artist Christine Stark

In Christine Stark, prostitution, trafficking on 2012/04/25 at 1:56 am

lambda literary, christine stark, dissociative identity disorder, human trafficking, sexual abuse

Sister survivor Christine Stark is an extraordinary writer, poet and visual artist.  Her new novel, Nickels A Tale of Dissociation, has been nominated for the finalists for the 24th 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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  1. Hi Christine, I just wanted to say hello and welcome to Survivors Connect. It is so lovely to see the contributions of new women being added all the time and SC growing as a result. Your book looks very interesting; it’ll certainly be added to my ‘books to buy’ list! :)

  2. This book looks fascinating to me, since I have spent decades working on the very issues this book seems to address. Thank you for sharing it here — I’ll be sure to look into buying it. –Daylily

  3. I just wanted to drop by and thank you for adding The Curmudgeon to your links. Clicks to my blog from yours sometimes rival those from search engines. Your blog is multi-faceted and highlights the many social and personal costs of childhood sexual abuse, factors which, I believe, raise the issue to THE single biggest social problem in America.

  4. I am so grateful to Christine for writing “Nickels.” I immediately related to her writing style, the way she expressed the chaos of being raped and beaten–and the after effects. This book gave me a sense of validation I’ve never experienced. It was difficult to read, and I had to pace myself, anticipate being triggered, etc., but I’ve never felt more validated as a person.

    The book is not just a dirge of terror and darkness, as the writer notes. It also describes hopes, achievement, and an intelligent woman who didn’t lay down and die of despair.

    I cried. I cried very hard, at times, able to relate to the way she communicated her experiences; I also cheered. Christine isn’t a victim. She’s a warrior, and her story validated (and helped give perspective to) my experience.

    Thank you, Christine.


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