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Dawn Schiller  

Trafficking Survivor & Domestic Violence Prevention Activist

Dawn Schiller was 15 years old in 1976, when she met 32-year-old porn star John Holmes. After courting Schiller, Holmes began a sexual relationship with her, manipulating her with drugs and alcohol and physically and emotionally abusing her for several years. After the famed Wonderland murders in 1981, Holmes and Schiller fled to Florida, where she ultimately broke free and turned him over to the police.

Schiller eventually relocated to Northern California and finally to the Pacific Northwest, where she now resides with her daughter. In addition to being a devoted mother, Schiller has worked as an associate producer and consultant on the movie Wonderland, where she was portrayed by famed actress Kate Bosworth. John Holmes was played by renowned actor Val Kilmer.

A national advocate for preventing teen victimization, Schiller started Our Throwaway Teens—Who Are They and How Can We Help?, a national platform that seeks to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities to a teen that grows up in an abusive and neglected environment. Schiller routinely speaks to audiences about several vital issues related to teen victimization: what happens emotionally to a teen targeted and groomed by a predator, how to identify a young victim in trouble, pedophile seduction techniques, and the use of addictive drugs to manipulate and trap a victim. Giving an insider's view of what it's like to be a "throwaway teen," Schiller hopes to encourage communities to better shelter their teen population through outreach programs and education. Schiller is also the founder of E.S.T.E.A.M. (Empowering Successful Teens Through Education, Awareness and Mentoring), a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting teens who are struggling to find a safe and successful path to adulthood.

Dawn Schiller is a member of the education committee and is an advisory board member for the National Center of Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C., as well as for The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center and Voices Set Free. Schiller has been awarded the Woman of Vision and Courage Award from the President's Commission on the Status of Women. Her memoir, The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes, was published in August 2010 by Medallion Press. Schiller has abstained from drugs and alcohol for many years.

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The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes

In "The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes," Dawn Schiller paints an important, albeit disturbing, portrait of a life nearly destroyed by drugs and violence. It is a testament to the tenacious and fighting spirit of an individual who rose above horrific abuse and addiction. Instead of feeling defeated, Schiller transformed her hardship into a national platform to educate people on the perils that face the score of throwaway teens roaming our nation's streets today. 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. Schiller shines a light on the predatory tactics of abusers while simultaneously assisting teens in finding a way to steer clear of the life she fell prey to.

Our Throwaway Teens: Who Are They & How Can We Help?

A national advocate for preventing teen victimization, Dawn Schiller started Our Throwaway Teens - Who Are They and How Can We Help?, a national platform that seeks to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities teens who grow up in abusive and neglected environments face. Schiller routinely speaks to audiences about several vital issues related to teen victimization: what happens emotionally to a teen targeted and groomed by a predator, how to identify a young victim in trouble, pedophile seduction techniques, and the use of addictive drugs to manipulate and trap a victim. Giving an insider's view of what it's like to be a "throwaway teen," Schiller hopes to encourage communities to better shelter their teen population through outreach programs and education.

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