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Dawn Schiller


Survivor · Author · Speaker · Advocate

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Dawn Schiller


Survivor · Author · Speaker · Advocate

Dawn was fifteen years old in 1976 when her family moved into an apartment complex managed by 32-year-old porn star John Holmes. After grooming Dawn, Holmes began a sexual relationship with her, manipulating her with drugs and alcohol, abusing her physically and emotionally, and prostituting her on the streets of Hollywood, to brothels and drug dealers. After the famed Wonderland murders in 1981, they fled to Florida, where she ultimately broke free and turned him over to the police.

Dawn eventually relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where she attended Eastern Oregon University and earned her undergraduate degree in Communication and Gender Studies in 2012, graduating summa cum laude. After gaining a full-tuition teaching fellowship, Dawn taught Women's Studies and Activism at Oregon State University, where she completed her Master of Arts in Women's Studies in 2018. 

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, Investigative Discovery Channel (2013), CBS KOIN Channel Six (2013), The Road Through Wonderland, and featured on the Crittenden Foundation & Office for Victims of Crime (2016) "Human Trafficking in the United States".  She recently worked with NBC Universal on a docu-drama surrounding the Wonderland murders (2018). 

Nationally, Dawn is a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (TTAC) and for the Department of Health & Human Services Office on Trafficking in Persons (NHTTAC). She is a founding member of  “Survivor 2 Survivor” (S2S) and member of the National Survivor Network Resilient Voices of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST).  

Her memoir, “The Road Through Wonderland, Surviving John Holmes”, was published by Medallion Press (2010). Dawn shares her 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.  

 

 

MEET DAWN

For more than fifteen years, Dawn Schiller has been a survivor-leader in the anti-trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault movements. As a speaker, trainer and author, she combines her personal experiences and academic studies in difference, power and discrimination to raise awareness about sex trafficking, domestic violence and teen victimization.

 

 
 
Dawn was and is an inspiration to me, as she will be to you. There is nothing in this world we cannot overcome, if we trust in love. It’s a healing message for all the women and girls in the world who have not yet found their strength. Dawn’s story is a miracle. She is a miracle. I am proud to know her.
— VAL KILMER, ACTOR

NEWS & EVENTS

NEW: Adult Human Trafficking Screening Toolkit and Guide — Dawn is one of the survivor-expert contributors in this new screening tool. It is designed for use across various health care, behavioral health, social services, and public health settings in order to assess adult patients or clients for human trafficking victimization or risk for potential trafficking victimization. Click here to download (free)

Dawn Schiller speaks at the Single Mothers Outreach in Santa Clarita, CA, February 10, 2018.

 
Dawn Schiller speaks to a packed auditorium in Bakersfield, CA, Jan. 29, 2018, at an event sponsored by Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Dawn Schiller speaks to a packed auditorium in Bakersfield, CA, Jan 29, 2018.

Dawn Schiller speaks on behalf of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) at the Concert for America, May 24, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA.

 
 
 
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Speaking


PRESENTATIONS · TRAINING

Speaking


PRESENTATIONS · TRAINING

 

SPEAKER · TRAINER · CONSULTANT

Dawn's unique perspective as both a survivor and an academic combine to paint a picture of exploitation and empowerment which is bold, compelling and unforgettable. She is available for keynote addresses, presentations and training events, sharing her personal story and raising awareness about sex trafficking, domestic violence and teen victimization. 

 
 
I have had the privilege of hearing Dawn speak on numerous occasions. Each time I find myself more in awe of her strength and tenacity. This graceful, beautiful woman has overcome more than most people could imagine. Dawn will take you on a journey you will never forget. As she weaves the story of her life from surviving the darkest depths of human suffering to her emergence as a national voice for throwaway teens, you will cry and you will laugh, but more than anything, and you will be inspired.
— AMERICANS OVERSEAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS CENTER
 

PRESENTATION/WORKSHOP TOPICS

For a detailed description of each topic, click the Bookings button below.

THE ROAD THROUGH WONDERLAND: 
SURVIVING JOHN HOLMES

THE FACES OF TRAFFICKING
Combating Sexual Exploitation of Youth and Adults in America

TRAFFICKING AT THE INTERSECTION
An Intersectional Analysis of the Trafficking of Marginalized Youth in the United States

OUR THROWAWAY TEENS
Who are They and How Can We Help?

"MY NAME IS NO ONE"
Fighting the Multi-Billion Dollar Porn Industry's Movement to Make Me Invisible

MEDIA AND THE VICTIM
When Telling Your Story is Like a Punch in the Face

RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF A MOUNTAIN
From Survival to Healing to Service

"HELP ME, SISTER!"
Strategies for Becoming a True Ally in the Anti-Violence/Anti-Trafficking Movement

In addition to topics listed, Dawn is available for sexual assault and domestic violence training.

 

The Story


FILM · BOOK

The Story


FILM · BOOK

 

SURVIVOR · AUTHOR

Dawn's story is told in her memoir, The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes, and the film, Wonderland, in which she is portrayed by actress Kate Bosworth; John Holmes is played by Val Kilmer. Dawn was also filmed to tell her story in the 2011 Travel Channel's Hidden City Crime Files—The Wonderland Murders and the 2013 Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel's Poisoned Passions—Pornstar Pedophile.

 

WONDERLAND
Released 2003, Lions Gate Studios
Director: James Cox
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Val Kilmer, 
Lisa Kudrow, Dylan McDermott

THE ROAD THROUGH WONDERLAND:
SURVIVING JOHN HOLMES

2010, Medallion Press
Author: Dawn Schiller
Foreward: Val Kilmer and  Kate Bosworth

 

In this interview, Dawn explains how the movie led to the decision to write her memoir. 


Dawn has survived. This book is a testimony to her will to overcome. As we wrote, shot and cut ‘Wonderland,’ she allowed us absolute transparency on a darkness few ever experience. She understood hers was a story to be told, not just as a cautionary tale against the horrors of violence and abuse, but as a beacon leading others in her predicament out of peril. This book is her triumph, but the narrative weaved within these pages is a true nightmare that will haunt you, as it did me, for years.
— JAMES COX, DIRECTOR AND CO-WRITER OF 'WONDERLAND'

Top photos: Dawn with Wonderland cast—Kate Bosworth, Val Kilmer and director James Cox
Bottom photos: Dawn at The Road Through Wonderland book signings


I was nineteen years old when we embarked on the cinematic journey of Wonderland. As I immersed myself in the depths of this film, I began to realize we were not only retelling a story filled with incomprehensible evil, but one of hope, of overcoming the darkest of circumstances and surviving. Dawn, I thank you for sharing your story not only with me, but with the many people who will now take strength from your honesty. And who will be encouraged to not only survive but, like you, to thrive.
— KATE BOSWORTH, ACTRESS