The next Sunday blog that comes out will probably be written and posted whilst I am on a train back from the Filia 2018 conference in Manchester. Who knows what that blog will be about, but I imagine it will be a blog of mixed emotions and about the weekend events.
My segment is titled “Failed by the state”. I will share the stage Fiona Broadfoot from the amazing Build a girl and Zoe from Reign. Our panel will look at what has happened to the girls in our society who have been failed and what we can do to change it.
I am not gonna lie, I am nervous. Really nervous. I have spoken in front of big crowds many times. I have spoken to people of all ages and shared the stage with some epic people. But this is different. This is the start of something…. the start of change.
It literally gives me Goosebumps when I think about being in room with so many women who want the same thing…change…respect…less talk more action. Every time I look through the speakers list I get excited and feel a bit sick. Because this is for real. I, Kendra Houseman, am going to be a speaker amongst some of the most influential, amazing, and bad ass women I have heard of. And that makes me a bit shook like I said.
But then I remember what I am there to do. I am there to tell people what is happening to the girls and young women in this country who are involved with gangs and child sexual exploitation. I am there to say, “They are being failed and we have to make this stop”.
I still haven’t written down my talk yet. Should I use a PowerPoint? Should I use real life case studies? Should I tell them how I was failed?
And that the sad part. I am not short of material. In fact, they could give me as much time as they wanted to talk about girls and young women being failed by the state and I would have example after example of that happening.
If I tried to do a personal timeline on the failings of girls by the state it wouldn’t even start with me, it would start with my mum. And it wouldn’t finish last year or a few months ago, it will finish on the 19th of October 2018 as I sit on my train on the way to Manchester and I write about the failings I have seen or heard of that day. That’s the truth, I can account for over 50 years of failings that I know off both personally and that what has been shown through the media.
That’s just shocking and quite frankly…not good enough.
So maybe a time line will be too intense, maybe I can talk about where the failings are taking place by the state. I would start of course with mental health services. Children born to mothers who are not receiving the right mental health support due to cuts or undiagnosed special educational needs due to cuts in schools. These mothers giving birth and maybe not being able to raise a child in a safe environment de to their own vulnerability therefor creating a new generation of vulnerable girls that don’t know what consent is or maybe don have the capacity to give it. The failings by mental health around those that have been exposed to gangs and exploitation, the lack of a fast track system for those at high risk and the crazy waiting times for treatment.
How about the schools. The schools that place children under too much pressure, don’t have the time to take holistic approach to a child seeds and then either fails to see them slipping through the net or places them in alternative learning. Schools that are not educing our girls and women’s that is your right to say no. That it is not ok to get touched up in the school toilets that you do have a voice. How about taking sexual health advice as serious as maths and English!
The failing by the state in regard to equality. The fact that out girls and young women still feel like this is a man’s world because…well…that’s what some people are still showing them due to discrimination that still takes place against women.
Failing by the state where they still put some responsibility and blame on our girls and young women who have been exploited by gangs. Holding them criminal responsible for crimes they have been forced to commit. The state focusing on the males involved in gangs whilst the girls are just seen as girlfriends or side charters. No…that not always the case I am afraid…the girls involved in this, sometimes they are operating on the same level as the boys and they need the same injection of funds and support from the state as the boys do.
The failing by the state of the continued child sexual exploitation of the girls in this country. The blame placed upon them when professionals write they are “Street wise!!!! What does that even mean!!!
Opps… I went off on one didn’t I. This is why I need a PowerPoint or something …so that I don’t go on a rant about the failings of the girls and women in this country by the state.
I didn’t even get started on my story.
So…. If you haven’t gotten your tickets, I suggest you do…Because this conference, Filia 2018, this is the one where women are going to get together and start the foundations for change. You don’t want to miss that…do you?
Get tickets here: Filia Tickets