Wednesday, 25 November 2015

White Ribbon Day: The Fight Continues

Today is White Ribbon Day, otherwise known as UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.The problem of violence against women is so bad that the UN has recognised it as such and have dedicated a day for it to try and promote eliminating it. Perhaps with that and Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks in March 2015 saying that sexual exploitation was 'a national threat' and should be treated by police on the same scale as terrorism and organised crime, maybe the United Kingdom will have plentiful services with solid funding for male and female survivors who need help? Unfortunately that's not the case.

As reported today in the Telegraph, 42% of the charity Rape Crisis's 46 member organisations have no funding confirmed beyond March 2016. This isn't the only charity at risk. The charity Eaves - which helped UK victims of trafficking, prostitution and sexual violence - announced it was to fold on 30th October. Mankind, a male domestic abuse charity, only have confirmed funding until January 2016.

Rape Crisis centres provide specialised support to women and girls who've experienced sexual abuse. Their services range from the immediate crisis to long-term support. They tailor their services to what the service user wants/needs for however long they need it for whether it's a period of weeks, months or years. It takes a while to recieve their services: their demand is so high that one can be on their waiting list for months. Despite that, the services they do provide is invaluable and saves lives. I would know because I was a service user. Rape Crisis saved my life a few years ago and I was able to make progress in ways I never thought were imaginable. That might not sound like much but to me it means the world. It made the difference and brought me to the stage that I actually seek to achieve my dreams and create a life I'm happy with. The idea that people struggle to get access is awful to begin with but the solution isn't to close them down. Money needs to flow straight to them.

Now some people may be asking why money should go to charities like Rape Crisis and charities like them. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year. 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence from the age of 16. Only 15% of rape survivors decide to go to the Police and over 90% of the survivors know their perpetrators prior to the attack(s). Over 50,000 individuals received ongoing services from Rape Crisis which is an increase in 50% over the past 2 years and it's only rising. Continue to take those services away and what do we get? Thousands of men and women who are in an emotional shit storm with nowhere they feel is safe to go. That in itself is a crime.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fundraising at Valentines

Whilst I accumulate teams for my nerd quiz night, I want to start getting the ball rolling on the biggest of my future fundraising plans thus far: an evening do of entertainment! The night will be an Over 18s night and tickets will be available to buy on the door.

The general plan is that I will host a soiree of sorts with performances and chances at winning prizes whilst refreshments are served by drink servers. There's no set location just yet - I would love to have it either in Reading or in London. The date is set for Saturday 13th February so this will be a great night for any couples wishing to mix celebrating Valentines with donating to a fantastic cause. Statistically, violence against women increase around Valentines so to mark this with a fundraising night is one way to fight it.

So what will this night offer? Nothing is set in stone but here are things that I am thinking of running:
  1. Name the Teddy - before the evening entertainment kicks off, you can pay a small price to pick a name for a teddy bear. During the show, a name will be picked at random. The person who picks the winning name keeps the teddy bear. Every penny raised will go to Rape Crisis.
  2. Magic Show
  3. Jewelry Auction - beautiful pieces of jewelry donated by small businesses will be auctioned off with every penny going to Rape Crisis
  4. Raffle - buy a ticket before the entertainment starts and maybe you'll win a prize! There'll be three prizes up for grabs. Winners will be announced during the show. Every penny from the raffle ticket sales will go to Rape Crisis.
  5. Lip sync competition - six people will battle it out in a contest to see whose the best lip sync-er. People wishing to enter must enter before the night itself with information on what music they wish to compete with.

Of course, none of this is possible alone. I would love to hear from anyone who can do any of the following:
  1. Serve refreshments and food
  2. Compete in the lip sync contest
  3. Any small-business owners wishing to donate merchandise to raffle off for charity.
  4. Any performers who are willing to entertain whether it's music, magic tricks, dance etc.
  5. Technical people who can help with lighting/sound
  6. Anyone who can assist in finding a suitable location

Do get in touch with me through this blog or message me personally if you know me. For more information on what Rape Crisis does, please check out their website!

Lots of love and solidarity. Always <3 XXX

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Nerd Quiz Night

I managed to get myself into the fundraising gear and I can properly announce that I will be doing a Nerd Quiz night!

Teams of up to 4 will go head-to-head to win the title of Champion Nerds! There'll be a variety of topics including film, tv & comics. I will be filming the event as a memento of the event but also hopefully as a fundraising guide for anyone else who wishes to do the same thing.

It'll only cost a team £5 to enter which they pay on the contest day. Water provided free, tea & coffee will be provided at 10p each and there will be cake for sale. All proceeds will be donated to Rape Crisis.

When? Saturday 14th November 2015 at 7pm.
Where? All Saints Church Hall, 14 Downshire Square, Reading , RG1 6NH

If you're interested in competing, please let me know by either commenting here. If you know me personally, do get in touch with me directly.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Fundraising Mission Resumed!

I had ambitions for my 2015 fundraising hopes. I still do although due to some quite major changes in my life, it's had to take a back seat so I can sort myself out and get things back on track. Now that I'm a lot more sorted, I can get the ball properly rolling.

The first thing I'm going to tackle is the Quiz Night. I've set a preliminary date for Saturday 14th November 2015 in the evening in Reading. I don't have a set venue yet but once I do it shall be shortly announced. I am looking for teams of 4 to compete for a small prize and the satisfaction of victory. To enter, the teams must put up an entry fee of £5 which will go directly to the charity.

The second thing to sort is the suitcase. Here's the recap: I will be getting well-known people I may meet at conventions to sign this suitcase. I'll ask their permission first and ensure they have information should they wish to inquire any further into my fundraising efforts.  Once the suitcase is full of signatures, I shall auction it off and however much it goes for, 100% of the money will go straight to Rape Crisis. I can't guarantee it'll be full by 2015 but it'll at least start.

Last but by no means least - an evening do! My original plan may well alter somewhat but the general plan is to have a soiree evening of sorts with entertainment, food, a charity auction and fun for adults! If you can dance, do magic tricks, do stand-up comedy, perform music or simply want to entertain please do get in touch with me. Because time is relatively short between now and the end of the year, it won't occur in 2015. I've decided to hit hard with my message by setting this evening around Valentines Day - likely Friday 12th or Saturday 13th February as a lot of sexual violence occurs around this time. As before, announcements will be made as and when more details come to light.

Any more ideas, you may ask? Perhaps but that'll all come in time :) If you do come up with any ideas, do get in touch. I'm always keen for input.

I'm incredibly grateful for the support I have received so far in my quest to change the way we treat sexual violence and to raise money for a charity like Rape Crisis that do such good for women in England & Wales. With dwindling funds and an increase in demand for support, it's now more important than ever to help.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A 14 month (and 1 day) retrospective

14 months ago yesterday I shaved off all of my hair to raise money for Rape Crisis.  

I suppose it's natural for me to be reflective. So much has happened and it would be unwise to never think about the impact. Whilst the effects of the sexual violence I've endured are still ever present and discussion of it and other issues are the point of this blog, I want to use this piece to talk about the past year.

One of the biggest developments over the past year is my psychotherapy treatment. I attended weekly therapy sessions for just under 6 months, talking to a psychotherapist about not just the fact I've been raped but everything else including my pregnancy, my emotionally abusive & estranged father, the constant bullying at school throughout my time in education including the sexual assaults etc. I had some idea it would be tough but I couldn't imagine how much it would challenge me but also how positively it would change things. I had an empathetic, professional therapist who allowed me to express myself but challenged me to really get to my emotional core and truly feel in a safe environment. In that safe space I finally acknowledged that I had been raped more than once by different people. I dealt with that information and was able to process it without downward spiralling into total despair. Therapy helped me in a massive way and whilst I'm still struggling with trauma, I'm far better than I ever was. I truly took on that I did, I do and I will deserve far better than those monsters. 

Another massive change between then and now is my personal life. I've dated and seen people casually albeit they all ended in rather unfortunate ways. Now I'm dating the kind of person I never thought I would end up with. Someone empathetic, kind & funny who also has no issue challenging me when I need it. My issues with intimacy are still there but they have improved significantly. He's a great part of my life and I feel ever fortunate. It's also worth noting that whilst most of the friends I had then are still friends now, I've also managed to meet some incredible people who've provided support for me creatively that has reinvigorated my drive to create. 

I'm not 100%. I still have very dark days and I have a long way to go. I will require further therapy and mental health treatment but I'm definitely going in the right direction.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The 2015 Plan

So now I've changed my plans for fundraising this year, it's time to look at what I'm actually going to do. Here's the list:

Signed Suitcase
I was trying to think of ways I can incorporate going to conventions with my fundraising until it occurred to me that it was simple. I will go to events with a suitcase and a Sharpee to get autographs to cover the suitcase with. When it's covered, I will auction off the suitcase to the highest bidder. Note: I will let signers know what the suitcase is for.

Cross-Dressing Fundraising Party
It's a party! Come along to see creatives perform, a jewelry auction, a few stalls and more for a small price. Come dressed as someone else for a night and let your hair down for a good evening.

Nerd Quiz
I'll be hosting a quiz with nerd themes. Small teams will go head to head. The winner will win a prize but all who participate will gain the fun. There'll be a fee for teams to join. I will open up the ability for teams to join when a venue is confirmed/booked.

With all of these, all of the proceeds will go straight to Rape Crisis. I may have had to change what I wanted to do but I'm determined to continue to raise money for this excellent charity and continue to raise awareness to try and end sexual violence.

If you have any further suggestions for fundraising you think I could do, please let me know!

Lots of love and solidarity. Always <3 XXX

Whilst I Was Away

So I've been on a kind of hiatus from this blog. It wasn't intentional at all but it became very necessary.

Long story short: my life got a bit chaotic and therapy became incredibly challenging on me mentally. Whilst it's been very beneficial to me in terms of facing up to things, it meant my mental energies were at an all time low. I realized I had to take a step-back in order to prioritize myself and make sure I'm okay before I can continue this work.

I now feel able to return to form but with a change in advertised activities.

I was going to embark on an ambitious charity challenge I'd called the 30/30 Challenge next month. Due to a lot of activity in other parts of my life, I've decided to postpone this until 2016. It means I've got a lot more time to sort myself out but it means I've more time to organise. This doesn't mean I won't be doing any charity activities this year. Oh no.

Some of the activities I had pledged to do as part of the 30/30 Challenge are going to happen at some point in 2015. It'll provide a good test for 30/30 but it'll also mean more money can be raised for Rape Crisis. More information will be released in due time but suffice to say, it's going to be interesting.

Stay tuned for more information and thank you for your patience.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX