16 days

Wow.  Actually being online and blogging feels a bit strange – it’s been a manic few weeks!

So right now, it’s day 5 of 16 days of Activism on Gender Violence. Across the world, thousands of organisations and millions of individuals will be working, campaigning, hoping and praying that this awful injustice will end.

And normally I’d be well up for that.  But right now, I’m tired and sleepy and irritable, and I’d like to stay in my bed for at least 24 hours.  I don’t want to change the world.  I just want to close my eyes.

The thing is though, it matters.  It’s too easy to see the big picture – the massive howling injustice – and to feel swamped by it.  We’re only little, and this problem is huge – what can we do about it?

The thing is though, that we can do it – together.  Because every time we challenge a sexist joke, every time we ask why construction toys are labelled as boys toys, every letter we write, every facebook status, every prayer – it’s all important.  It all makes a difference.

I’ve written before a little about my own experiences.  A teenager with a particularly low self worth, I got into an abusive relationship. It started off fantastically – all cuddles and poetry, and then gradually became more controlling, more abusive, until I couldn’t really tell black from white, love from hate, any more.  I’ve known the fear of the unknown – not knowing whether you’re going to get a hug or – well, something else.  It’s horrible and awful and it’s happenning to far too many people across the world.

What made the difference?  It was all those small actions – the ones people thought could never make a difference at all.  The encouraging comments.  The notes, the prayers, the hugs.  The people who told me I was amazing, worthy, valuable.  The people that kept talking, until their words finally drowned out the other voices, and suddenly I realised they weren’t talking or shouting at all – they were singing.  And the song was so beautiful.

So guys, all those of you with the day 5 blues, all those who wonder if it makes a difference, all those who wonder if society can ever change.  It can.  It does.  It is.  And it’s starting with you.

Thank you for all you do. Terrie and Jill and Fr D and Gary and all those who know that God’s family can’t be silent when their family is hurting. Amy and Nicola and Tracy and Pippa and Cathy and Susie and Rachel and Nefeli and the many incredible members of WAGGGS and Girlguiding UK who week in, week out, day by day and meeting by meeting, show girls and young women that they can be the difference.  Tara and Zi and Cavan and all those incredible teachers who teach children that the maths they learn isn’t as important as the values they embrace. Becky and Mel who’ve inspired me to realise that there really are no such things as girls toys and boys toys.

And all those many, many friends, far too numerous to mention here, who constantly speak beauty and love into dark places.  No words, all my love.

Keep going guys.  It starts with us.  It ends with revolution.  And it’s going to be glorious.

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