The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Please do not sit back, relax and enjoy the show

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse juggernaut has finally arrived in town after a number of false starts. As someone who cares passionately about justice for survivors of abuse I feel like I should be part of a large parade, waving flags and cheering that this country is finally giving sexual abuse the platform, judicial powers, and budget that it deserves. Instead I read the list of initial 12 investigations with a growing amount of dread imagining how many headline combinations of ‘conspiracy’ ‘cover-up’ ‘scandal’ ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Westminster’ I am going to read over the next few years.

Why we need events like the Clear Lines Festival

Sexual abuse is both something we’re always talking about and rarely talking about. It’s constantly in the news. Constantly part of political rhetoric for change. Constantly something we worry about. But rarely do we actually have a conversation about it. Rarely do we ask the questions that need to be asked and seek to find the answers together.

Finding pleasure after pain. Sex after sexual abuse

Sex is something we seem to talk about constantly and yet there are many aspects of sex that we rarely discuss. I suspect this is because we’re too busy reassuring ourselves and anyone who will listen that we enjoy sex, we get lots of it, and most importantly we’re really good at it.

V Day 2015: Why the revolution needs to start with you

The theme for this year’s V Day is ‘revolution’. Revolutions are dramatic. Radical. They transform and disrupt. We need a disruptive revolution to end sexual violence. Reports in the news are a daily reminder of the scale of the problem facing every society from the streets of New York, to Delhi, Brazzaville, via London and back again.
The world is hungry for change. The world needs change. On 14th February we’ll demand it.
But whilst the problem is global this is a revolution that needs to start at home - in the hearts and minds of each and every one of us. The misinformation and misunderstanding about sexual violence is on a scale that is as staggering as the violence itself. And the damage it causes is immense. It’s our lack of understanding that makes survivors afraid to tell their story for fear of not being believed. It’s our lack of understanding that helps perpetrators avoid justice. It’s our lack of understanding that helps the violence to continue.
If we want change we need to be changed. We need to have the courage to open our eyes and minds to the realities of the violence happening on our streets, in our homes, in our communities, and in communities around the world. We’re all afraid of sexual violence. We all find it easier to push the thought away. To tell ourselves that it hasn’t got anything to do with us. Tell ourselves that the people we love can be kept safe. The truth takes courage to see. The truth is that sexual violence could happen to any of us. The truth is that no one we love is immune from the risk. The truth is that this is a problem facing us all.
This V Day let’s be the change we want to see. Let’s have the courage to open our eyes and minds. Let’s spread the word. Let’s show survivors of abuse everywhere that we believe them. That they’re not alone. That we want to try to understand.
Let’s disrupt the ignorance that pervades this space. Let’s rise for revolution.

The dark side of me

This Halloween as we dress up and ghouls and goblins let’s take a quick moment to think about the ghouls and goblins we carry around with us on the other 364 days of the year.

Whilst all of us have the capacity to be the best a human can be, we also have the capacity to be the worst a human can be.

On being naturally talented

I spent this morning working on a play that I’m writing. This afternoon I’m going to do some illustration for my next book. If my previous teachers were to have picked a child least likely to grow up and write a play, or illustrate a book, I would have been a strong contender.

Celebrating courageous women on International Women’s Day

All of us need courage in our lives. It takes courage to choose, to innovate, to take yourself in a new direction, to disagree, to stand firm, to admit when you’re wrong. If I want to celebrate courage on International Women’s Day what images of courage could I use? Our images of courage tend to be masculine; courage is depicted as strength. In our stories of courage men are the muscular superheroes. Women are the damsel’s in distress. Who are our female role models for courage?