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DV and the Aussie porn star who survived it

If you were writing a morality tale about the long-term effects of domestic violence and the psychological damage shattered homes do to children, a little boy who grows up to be a drug addict and his sister lured into the seedy world of pornography would not be out of place.

Gigi Allens, a former Sydney North Shore private school girl touted as the 'Next Big Thing' in American hardcore pornography, survived a violent and abusive upbringing at the hands of her parents, however, she refuses to see herself as a victim. Instead she offers an articulate insight into how government agencies can better address the problem of violence in the home, particularly when it comes to children. 

Allens, 28, moved from Sydney to Los Angeles in late 2013 to pursue her dream of becoming an adult film star after "many years" contemplating the consequences of this choice.

"Entering porn was not a hasty decision. I spent many, many years trying to suppress the fact I wanted to have sex on film and take explicit photographs. In the end I just took the plunge as I felt I was living a lie, suppressing a creative component of myself I wanted to unleash upon the world; albeit in an unorthodox art form. It is what makes me truly happy," says Allens.

She freely admits her career in porn is "most likely" a reaction to the trauma of her childhood.

"I cannot hide that and, to a certain extent, I don't want to," she says but speculates her experiences are mirrored in thousands of other Australian homes.

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"My sister and I were largely isolated in Australia – the only family we had here were my mother, father and grandmother, who lived with our father. That meant there was nowhere to go. As a child, the thought of leaving what you know, no matter how horrible the situation, is a frightening and daunting thought. So we kept our mouths shut for the most part, with occasional calls for help to the neighbours or police when things got really bad," says Allens.

Allens takes her stage name from the late, self-mutilating punk rock singer GG Allin, himself a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of his father Merle, a recluse and religious fanatic who constantly threatened his family with death, even digging graves in the cellar of their isolated log cabin. In an essay titled The First Ten Years, Allin wrote "we were more like prisoners than a family". 

It's a feeling his namesake understands well. 

Like many other Australians, Allens expresses dismay at the lack of funding domestic violence initiatives received in the federal budget but says the current national dialogue about the problem is encouraging, if it's helping to break down the social stigma that surrounds violence in the home.

She says providing adequate support for adult victims is essential but the special needs of children should be a priority.

"In the discussion of domestic violence, I think it's sometimes overlooked that women – mothers and grandmothers – can also be abusive and it leaves children in an impossible situation – there is literally nowhere for them to hide," says Allen.

"I remember phoning the kids help line many times as a child and though it offered some mental support, there was not really a lot else on offer. We were stuck. The last thing you want to contemplate as a child is leaving your home and going into foster care," says Allens. 

 Perhaps surprisingly, Allens also says government needs to also extend a helping hand to the perpetrators of domestic violence.

"In my eyes it's hugely important to provide perpetrator programs aimed at reducing the risk of known abusers committing further offences. We just can't throw these people away," says Allens.

"My father is just as abusive as he ever was, he's just moved onto other victims. He's not going to see the error of his ways in a jail cell," says Allens.

Working in an industry that's widely considered exploitative of women, Allens says she'd not be surprised if people assumed she was a victim, or delusional to deny it.

"Assuming victimhood is an easy thought progression," she says, "I feel I am sexually liberated. I like to push the boundaries of what the consumer (men) feel safe with. That's why you will see me doing a whole range of different genres of pornography – I do some things that are quite mainstream and are sold easily to the 'normal', red-blooded male.

"But then I do a whole lot of stuff that turns me on and has a niche fan-base. To me the thought of juxtaposing the different genres of porn I do turns me on. Sometimes I worry about my perverted mind; filming porn is my ideal sexual gratification. Sometimes I even feel guilty I am the one using the porn companies who film me. I get to satisfy my sexual desires, kinks, voyeurism and exhibitionist interests. Plus I get paid for it."

"It is important not to take my openness for weakness. I'm happy to speak honestly about my past because I am a strong, confident woman who has dealt with my issues and now come from a much happier place."

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

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