ATHABASCA – Local artist Nattolie Chilton, who goes by the handle @iamtruthvigilante, has chosen to do something very difficult, and very brave — to speak and write about the sexual abuse she faced as a child and how that shaped her life as an adult — and now she is being recognized internationally for it.
Chilton, 50, experienced debilitating abuse for decades until she reached her breaking point in 2011. Since beating addiction, she has been compelled to break her silence and felt submitting her art to #ARTXFREEDOM may help people understand the connection between prostitution and sexual abuse which conditions them for further abuse and exploitation — almost 95 per cent of prostitutes were sexually abused as a child according to multiple studies since 1978.
“I'm coming out with these things as a survivor because there was so much shame attached,” Chilton said in a recent interview. “I break my own secrets to encourage others to follow and get the pain out. Having my art chosen as part of the #ARTXFREEDOM campaign is an honour and gives me a voice as a survivor. Helping others is my motivation.”
The international campaign organized by Trafficking Hub, is to hold one of the largest adult websites accountable for “enabling and financially profiting off of videos of real sex-trafficking, child sexual abuse and other non-consensual content.” Over two million signatures have been collected worldwide.
Trafficking Hub intends to tackle this Goliath and set legal precedent, which will allow others to also be held accountable.
“People can sign the petition at www.traffickinghub.com which now has over two million signatures to make Pornhub accountable,” Chilton said. “Pornhub requires no age verification, and allows users to upload content. So, these people are committing crimes and uploading them, and 118 crimes have already been verified.”
Chilton said even though she dislikes being in front of a camera she felt compelled to do the photograph and contacted local photographer Janice Robocon who captured her in the midst of a scream.
“She told me to move around so, I’m in her studio moving around and taking different positions and trying to get into that feeling and suddenly I was overwhelmed; I started primal screaming — spontaneously, real — I was overtaken feeling the pain of this industry and she captured me screaming,” Chilton said.
“It was shocking. I've had lots of therapy; I've cried a lot in front of other people. And I was like holy crap this is really intense. It's kind of embarrassing, but whatever, it happened. (She) captured it and it's going to be used for a good purpose.”
At Chilton’s request, Robocon placed the photograph on metal and now the 36-by-24-inch piece of work is on its way to Los Angeles to be shown in a gallery starting Oct. 3 for up to two months, along with other artwork highlighting the need to shut down Pornhub and other similar websites.
Chilton is also part of the Athabasca and Area Prevention of Relationship Abuse Action Committee (PRAAC) which kicked off its fundraising campaign Sept. 11 with a video to take the place of the annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event. Chilton is the one speaking at the start of the video, talking about real events in her life.
She is also writing a memoire about her journey out of abuse, to a place of belonging and love, to be published by Hay House in an effort to help other survivors and to warn younger people about what potentially lay ahead and to reach out if they’re hurting. She blogs on her website iamtruthvigilante.com.
“I want to use my life as an example to help others, as trite as that sounds. If I had shared these secrets in my early 20s the difference that would have made in my life; the healing would have come much faster,” said Chilton. “My online identity is called ‘I am Truth Vigilante’ and that’s about being a witness. To be a vigilante is actually to be a witness of the truth; to be a vigilant watcher. I’ve been getting braver and speaking out about these things that have happened.”
Donations can be made to PRAAC at wamathabasca.ca, or by dropping off cash or a cheque at the Royale LePage office in Athabasca.
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