It doesn’t matter how you enter this space. Whether it’s through personal experience, professional interest, or a concern for others. It’s almost impossible to stay here without being changed.
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.
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.
Last week I was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze and I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Portillo. Sadly Michael didn’t get to interview me on the show but I did enjoy his quip at the end of the programme.
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?