I am a highly sensitive empath, someone who picks up on people’s emotions and energy, to the point where I feel it as much as they do. This means that I avoid the news, especially at the minute as otherwise I soak up anything and everything.
Something has caught my eye this week though, which I’ve found difficult to ignore. The case of Sarah Everard, here in the UK. Tragically since I wrote my post on LinkedIn, it went from a missing person to a policeman being charged with her murder.
I will not read the full story, for the reason I’ve said above. What I did see was a follow-up of reveals by women that at some point, if not at several points in their life, they have felt the need to protect themselves or ignore comments, suggestions and remarks that have felt offensive.
I add my own experience of being ‘brushed against on the tube’, having comments shouted in the street, feeling nervous walking home or sensing that someone might be following me. I never felt able to challenge or speak up as I felt embarrassed, not wanting to cause a scene or genuinely threatened.
As women, we’ve come to think of this as just something that we have to deal with. Armed with makeshift weapons in our handbag, taking different routes home. I distinctly remember a turning point, when I was in my late 30’s when I felt on my guard. After a night out, I would call my husband to meet me at the tram stop even though it was just round the corner from where I lived.
Yet in my 20’s I would often take risks getting home, being out late or having the confidence and bravado to think nothing bad would happen to me. Was it more innocent times or have I just become more aware that women have not been entitled to feel safe for years.
It’s time to make a stand for feeling safe, all the time and to be able to say when someone makes us feel uncomfortable, compromised or violated in anyway, whether that’s with language or being too close in our personal space.
This feels very different from what was the shift in recognising sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s often when no-one else could understand how it feels or how it stays with you. I still remember an incident on the tube when let’s just say someone was really close to me. It made me feel sick and ashamed.
I do believe that this could be the catalyst for women reclaiming their right to their own bodies, their own feeling of safety and power. Women have been persecuted and harassed, fearing for their life’s for long enough, since the days when they were seen as witches, wrongly accused of crimes and sentenced to death for being an authority on healing, wisdom and spirituality. In their own right they were extremely powerful and knowledgeable. This is the threat that was felt, not that they were going to turn people into a toad!
It’s time for women to truly stand in their power and not feel threatened, less than and unable to speak up when something feels wrong.
Sat here writing this article, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do, but it feels as though something is changing.
Women are taking their place as equal in life, in leadership, in government and in society. The trigger might be a stark one, but the results will be welcome and long overdue.
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