#ICU22: Why YOU need to be part of the movement…

Why should you take part in #ICU22?

I mean it’s a fair question. Here is me……posting all over the place, asking people to part in the #ICU22 campaign….but why should you? What’s it even got to do with you?

This week I had to sit with a 30-year-old woman and tell her that it is not OK for her partner to make her take part in sexual activity that she did not want to. I had to go through consent and repeat several times that just because they are in a relationship does not mean he has any sexual “right” over her.

She becomes very upset. Angry …at me…. At first. Said it was none of my business. Why was I getting involved? I stood in front of her, not breaking eye contact, while she said angry words at me. Pain gushing out of her like I had turned on a tap. “you don’t understand…. it’s not his fault… it’s me….I am to blame“. I said nothing… I just waited for the tears…that followed soon after.

And then she spoke. She spoke like someone who had been locked away for years and had a million things to tell the first human she found. She spoke about not being good enough. About not achieving at school. She spoke about her dreams that she feels will never be fulfilled. She spoke about pain. Fear. She spoke at me like I had just released her from a tiny room where she had been locked away. Yet….. She has not been locked away. She goes to work every day. She said, “at work, I don’t stop talking…yap yap yap…because at home I don’t have anyone who will listen to me”. However, the things she is talking about with her workmates are not the things I and her are speaking about at this moment.

We spoke about her rights. I Showed her. I said that if she needed to flee….I am here, what services are available.  If she needed me in the night…I am here.

He has been telling her, the partner, that if she leaves him, she will either have to give up her child and leave the child with him or give up her job and look after her child. “You can’t have both,” he said.

I told her that was not true. I told her that’s all part of a perpetrator’s manipulation.  That people will help. That she does not have to stay with him just to keep her child and job. And then she cried. She said she has no one. Except him. I said…well….you have me now. And if you have me and I am backing you then you have my people. That’s how it is.

We agreed…she and I …that she now has a rule….That she is not taking part in any sexual activity of any kind unless she wants to. The end. We agreed that if she says No and then he shouts, sulks, gives her reasons why it’s his right, or threatens to kill himself….she still does not have sex with him. Because it’s her body.

I made her say it back to me over and over.

Then…late that night…gone midnight…she texted me. Said she had done it. She had said the rules. And he had not taken it well. Had done all the usual threats and had now left the house in a temper. We spoke…via text….for a long time. I told her throughout how proud I was of her and that from this day forward if he did anything sexually to her then she must call the police.

Because she ain’t going to leave. Not yet. She will. You can see the fire in her eyes.

I had to help her….didn’t I?

I mean… to be fair…. It would have been easier for me to say nothing. I don’t want to get caught up in other people’s madness. I don’t want to have to look in a grown women’s eyes and tell her…I see what is happening to you

I see you

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Because the difference between yesterday and today for that woman is that someone saw her. Spoke to her. Acknowledged what was happening. Someone said…I see you and it’s not OK.

I said….I see you…a woman who needs the strength to rise. And I could do nothing….but thats not how it works. Not for me anyway.

Also, this week someone saw me.

A woman I highly respect said to me….” it’s time to learn forgiveness”. Initially, I rolled my eyes and tried to make a joke about it. She could see some of my internal struggles and I guess…wanted to help. When she saw that I was brushing it she shared some of her own stories. A deep and hurtful story that made me place my hand to my mouth. And then she told me how she learned forgiveness and how it made her be free. She didn’t have to do any of that. Not on that level. She then told me I need to forgive myself. She then showed me how to start that journey.

Why did she do that?

I will tell you why….Because she saw me.

She acknowledged  my pain

She said….

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I get that people are busy on the 14th of Feb. Cards to buy, flowers to give…whatever.

But what about the people who also need acknowledgment on that day. Just a few simple words so they know that they are seen…loved….acknowledged.

To the children who are excluded from school by schools that don’t want to teach them #ICU22

To the parents trying to raise their children on pennies #ICU22

To the women who feel like they have no voice in domestic abuse #ICU22

To the woman who taught me about forgiveness whilst reliving her own pain #ICU22

You see….it’s that easy

So, make sure you are ready on the 14th of Feb 2022 to blow up social media with your messages and videos. #ICU22 – The year of Truth

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