What does it feel like to stand up for your rights, even against the wisdom of those around you? Many women do, for some of the same reasons they come forward when they believe they have been the victim of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination. And they do this for reasons many of us don’t talk about. Their bravery in standing up brings their confidence to an all-time high, but it does not heal them of their concerns.
Many are uncomfortable speaking about these issues, and they do not know how to talk about them. These women were taught to have faith in their legal system, they are taught to say “no” with clarity and to not be a “wimp” in the face of assault or sexual harassment. And while they may have these methods of negotiation in place, they are not practiced in using them to identify and accept their share of unfair situations, in the face of fear of losing someone that they love, in the face of getting raped, in the face of being hated and disliked. What they need is a place to go. A place to tell their story and find other women to share a story with who are more open to the possibility of talking. And that need for a place to go resonates with us all in the strength and bravery of women who give a voice to their emotions as they share their stories.
I have found in my work with women across the globe that when women tell their stories — confident and not afraid to express themselves — when women can make a space for one another, they create strength, a new kind of community, a space to come to, rather than a place to keep.
And those women need to know that the majority of people in society, the majority of people in London, will have their backs.