Artist and Entrepreneur on the Healing Power of Creativity

Each month, RAINN highlights a member of its National Leadership Council. The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence. This month we checked in with Micheline Pitt, business owner, supporter, and survivor.

How can we all be better supporters and advocates for survivors in our lives, especially during this difficult time?

With each of us who tell our story, we make others feel less alone. By sharing, we make a safe place for others to share their own stories and experiences. When we see a wrong or someone who has been victimized, if we can, we must use our platforms to stand up for other victims. I know not every person feels comfortable sharing, but advocating can be profoundly healing and has a massive impact on helping the cause.

What words do you have for survivors about defining their own experiences?

Each of us has our own story, or stories—we all have our own experiences, they make us feel a way that sometimes only we can understand. There is no right or wrong way to be a survivor. For me sharing my story and experiences was and is very freeing. Confronting my past has allowed me to be so much stronger.

What do we need to do as a country to prevent child sexual abuse?

This is such a difficult task and question to answer, as there are so many factors. Sadly, the world is filled with monsters, and those monsters aren't the ones with fur and teeth hiding under a child's bed, they are men and women, who are very real and make choices to hurt others. Harsher sentencing, background checks, and education about abuse at an earlier age for children along with systems of support are all great options for us to keep fighting for. I wish there was a real solution or answer to this question, other than to try to continue to give young people the tools to be safer and get help when they need it.

What inspired you to become part of RAINN’s National Leadership Council?

I am a survivor myself, I wanted to face my past, and get involved with an organization that is, not only doing the work to help others, not only offering support, but fighting to change policies in place that do a disservice to victims.

How has your passion for ending sexual violence influenced other areas of your life, such as your clothing line, book, and film?

For me, I hope to show other victims that the violence our bodies and minds have endured does not define us, that we can continue on. We can make art, build worlds, and tell stories that bring beauty and joy to others. I feel empowered by the clothing I make and wear. I take ownership of my form, by wearing what I want, and hope that helps others to do the same.

I choose my creative endeavors as a way to confront difficult issues, or difficult stories that I myself and other survivors have experienced, and this is especially true with my film, Grummy. The film is inspired by the imagined world I escaped to during my own abusive childhood. It’s a tale of a young girl, whose stuffed creature, “Grummy,” brings a new world to life during her most vulnerable moments. This story is very personal, because I was this little girl. I used my imagination to escape, I used books, movies, and toys to get away. If I didn't have my imagination, if I didn't have these things, I don't think I would be here today. This is a story of how monsters saved my life.

What are the warning signs for child sexual abuse?

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Every 73 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

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95¢ of every $1 goes to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence.

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