Dawn Schiller: “Through and Beyond Wonderland," E.S.T.E.A.M.
There is pleasure getting to know Dawn Schiller before and after her book, “The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes” was written and released. What many don’t know is that this book, with all the details of a horrifically violent relationship, was over 6 years in the making. Why did it take so long, you may ask? Think about writing details of your own worst nightmare, think about reliving them, one by one, baring all your secrets, and then you may have the answer.
Dawn Schiller, for those who do not yet know her story, was living a not so typical teenage life, living in the violent neighborhoods of Miami, when she was reunited with her absent father, went along with him to California and, by coincidence, ended up in a relationship with well known adult film star, John Holmes. There are several misconceptions about how this could happen, why would a 15 year old be attracted to a 32 year old man from the adult film industry? What you don’t know is the meat of her story, it’s not a simple story, and another reason it took so long to put into words.
Much more information is available now than it was in the 70’s about the concept of sexual predators, their grooming process, as well as violence in relationships and human trafficking. What we have learned by reading and writing reports and processing information, Dawn Schiller lived in real time. A victim of a predator is slowly groomed, it’s a process, and John Holmes’ seduction of Dawn was no exception. Recognizing the opportunity to build a relationship with a young girl and use her for his own purposes, John Holmes held the key to survival for 15 year old Dawn.
You may wonder, why didn’t she just get out, why didn’t she just leave? It’s not so simple when your basic human needs, food, shelter and clothing, are being met by someone who wishes to control your every move. You have to understand the psychology involved in violence as a means of control, as well as the control of alcohol and drugs on both sides of this dysfunctional relationship. The details are in Dawn’s book, but the concept is alive and well and living among us still.
Dawn, and her experiences, are the subject of two popular radio shows hosted by Susan Murphy Milano. (www.susanmurphymilano.com)
In “Riding Away From Wonderland” (Feb. 2010) Dawn takes us into her childhood memories, of her early family life, what was right and what was wrong. She told of her life surviving in a household run by a bitter single mother and how she survived the violence happening all around her there. She then took us to John Holmes, explaining to stunned listeners her experiences of his violent acts against her, as well as how he used her as a product to make money, thus trafficking her on the streets of Los Angeles and holding her captive with no means of escape.
“Beyond Wonderland” (Nov. 2010) takes listeners a step out of the Wonderland years. Dawn recounts for us the definition of a “throwaway teen” from her own experiences, and how things may have been different in her life had there been a lifeline out there somewhere. As we talked with Dawn she was able to dispel some of the myths surrounding her relationship with Holmes; that she was involved in the adult film industry (she was not), that she could have left him at any time, or that she enjoyed being with him and living his lifestyle. She is still brought to task by followers of Holmes from the adult film industry and John’s fans, who for some reason, still hold him in high esteem as “The King.” Dawn Schiller is the one who still suffers the physical and psychological after affects of violent beatings, being thrown out of moving vehicles, stomped, kicked and put out on the streets for others to violate her body. Why those in the adult film world would criticize her is beyond understanding.
“The Road Through Wonderland” only takes readers to a point in Dawn’s life, there is so much more to learn about her and about how she took the negative experiences of her life, turned it around, and now reaches out to help others. She is now a sane and sober woman, mother, and college student keeping her finger on the pulse of the issues of violence prevention, trafficking and helping homeless teens.
Dawn Schiller (http://dawn-schiller.com) is the Founder of the non-profit, E.S.T.E.A.M., Empowering Successful Teens through Education Awareness & Mentoring, (www.empowerteens.com) an organization which reaches out to troubled teens to give them better options in their lives. E.S.T.E.A.M. is the legacy that Dawn will leave to future generations, the fruit born from the life that she did not make a choice to live.
Listen to the radio interviews with Dawn Schiller and Susan Murphy Milano:
“Beyond Wonderland” on Here Women Talk broadcast by Zeus Radio Network http://herewomentalkradio.com/home/archives_details/437
“Riding Away From Wonderland” on BlogTalk Radio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susanmurphymilano/2010/02/10/the-susan-murphy-milano-show
To purchase "The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes"