Blake Lively was recently honored at the Variety Power of Women event thanks to her partnership with the Child Rescue Coalition.
“Gossip Girl” and Blake Lively have become synonymous nouns to many. Ever since the bright-eyed blonde graced the small screen ten years prior as Serena van der Woodsen, Lively has become an “It Girl,” gracing magazine covers, red carpets and gaining increasingly more complex film roles. From “The Town” (2010) to “Café Society” (2016), the actress has begun quietly (and triumphantly) transformed herself from a TV star to a bonafide movie one.
And with recent efforts in one-woman show films like “The Shallows” (2016), the starlet has signaled her intent to become a leading woman. That same sort of bravado, tenacity and passion shown in her films is demonstrated in her pronounced charity work. Her partnership with the Child Rescue Coalition, which actively attempts to block the trafficking child pornography and rescue as many children as possible, has received widespread acclaim for its efforts.
The organization has partnered with law enforcement agencies to find IP addresses of individuals trafficking the material, ultimately bringing 9000 predators to light and saving up to 2000 children. The commendable efforts from the mother of two to support such a noteworthy cause led her to be honored at the recent Variety: Power of Women event. Before Lively gave her heartfelt and emotional acceptance speech, The Knockturnal had the opportunity to talk to the actress-turned-activist about her philanthropic efforts, her two adorable children and sisterhood.
What do you think is the importance of an event like this in context of the political times of today?
The fact that we have an event called Power of Women is great but there’s still a lot to do. I’m grateful for it. I’m so grateful for it, but the road is long. I’m grateful to be in this room to speak about the issues that matter to me and standing up for these children and the Child Rescue Coalition. I speak up for the children who have been sexually abused and assaulted who can’t speak up for themselves either because they are too young because they are toddlers and infants now or because they are too afraid to do it. It’s devastating. I think it’s really important to be doing this work and I’m grateful to not only to be able to speak about the organization but to hear about the organizations that matter to all of these women.
Is there a woman here that you’re particularly excited for?
I’m excited for all of them. They’ve all done such great work.
Whether it’s fashion, business or entertainment you have a powerful platform to speak about the issues that matter to you. How do you encourage women to rise and let their voices be heard as well?
You have to stand up for your value. It’s hard. It’s hard for all of us. Whether you’re going in to your job to ask for a position or a raise, it’s hard for women in big ways. But even for me it’s also hard. Before coming here I thought, “oh there’s Chelsea Clinton! I’m so lucky to be here!” I tend to become that awkward class clown because I’ve always been a baby seeing as I’m the youngest of five. But then I thought, “No wait, you’re here to stand for your value.” My value can help all of these other women. But it’s not really my value though. It’s the kids who I’m standing for that give me that value. It’s about feeling comfortable in your skin. It’s about feeling like you should be there. We live in a society where women are always being minimized and we’re not just being minimized by the people, we’re minimizing ourselves. The word “bossy,” that’s awful! It’s an awful word.
As a powerful woman, what is the biggest lesson you think you need to pass on to your daughters?
I think it’s important to pass on feelings of empathy, kindness and consciousness. I want them to know that you can really do anything you set your mind to–don’t let anyone discourage you. My little girl doesn’t know the difference between her power and a little boy’s power or even her power versus my power. And I wish I could protect that. So it’s not that I need to teach her something that she doesn’t know, but it’s that I need to protect her. She already has feelings. We’re all born feeling confident and perfect until we learn we’re not.
You’ve done a tremendous amount of work fighting child pornography. I understand one of the biggest hurdles you come across is that you’re trying to convince ISPs to join the fight itself. Why is it so difficult to convince ISPs to help?
Thank you for asking that. They are worried about the privacy of the abusers… which [laughs] I mean is ridiculous. If we’re going to worry about something, we should be worrying about these infants, toddlers or children who are being tortured. But I do understand that there are legality issues and there’s the little paper called the Constitution [laughs]. But what’s important about the Child Rescue Coalition is they are the only platform and organization that can do this legally and morally. They can target the IP addresses of the people trading this content. Child Rescue have no idea who the people are and they don’t do anything about it. They identify the sharer’s IP addresses, pass it on to law enforcement and then that alone–that they traded child pornography–is a felony. So that alone is enough for law enforcement to become involved and ask, “Is this person a father? Is that person a teacher? Is that person a pediatrician?” That way they know that they need to start investigating to see what children are being harmed because 55-90 percent of people who view it are also abusers. It’s terrifying and I’m glad to apart of an organization that is so vehement about stopping this barbary.