Sylvia & Me
Sylvia & Me
Tanya Selvaratnam: Writer, Artist, Activist, 'Assume Nothing'
Tanya Selvaratnam & Intimate Violence

‘Intimate Violence’ is a term that is not well known. Tanya Selvaratnam is changing that in a big way. Her recently published memoir ‘Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence’ is her story. A story of a committed relationship and the ‘intimate violence’ she endured.

Meet the woman who helped bring down former NYC Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. Tanya met Schneiderman at the Democratic National Convention. It started off as a fairytale romance that quickly turned into a nightmare.

Tanya is quick to point out that her former boyfriend would have been the one to prosecute the now former New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo brought down by sexual harassment and Schneiderman brought down by intimate violence. Both men were champions of women and the #MeToo movement in public. Both men were abusive in private.

Tanya is smart, well established and accomplished. So how did a woman so talented and bright end up in a relationship so abusive and vial?

‘The abuser is very skilled at being able to reel in their prey. They’re adoring, supportive, and complimentary. But then the darkness starts to gradually seep in.’

A candid, informative and very personal conversation with Tanya:
  •  A fairytale beginning
  • The priming
  • Intimate violence vs domestic violence
  • The stages of abuse
  • But they’re an advocate of women’s rights
  • Cuomo, Weinstein, Cosby and Schneiderman – power and their enablers
  • Legal system still failing victims and survivors
  • #MeToo’s next wave
  • Feeling bold and speaking the truth
  • Jane Mayer, Ronan Farrow and telling her story

Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Long Beach, CA, Tanya is based in New York City and Portland, Oregon. She is the Senior Advisor, Gender Justice Narratives, for the Pop Culture Collaborative. Tanya is the author of numerous essays and two books: Assume Nothing and THE BIG LIE. Assume Nothing has been optioned by ABC Signature/Disney Television Studios.

Tanya is the cofounder of The Federation; a coalition of artists, organizations, and allies committed to keeping cultural borders open and showing how art unites us.

Her career in the arts and social justice began with her work assisting Anna Deavere Smith on the development of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 about the human toll of the L.A. riots. Tanya then was the Special Projects Coordinator at the Ms. Foundation for Women until 1998. In addition, she was an organizer and researcher for the World Health Organization’s Kobe Conference on Women and Tobacco in 1999.

Tanya received her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Chinese language and legal history from Harvard University. Her Masters thesis on women’s organizations in post-Tiananmen China was published in the Journal of Law and Politics.

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