When I first started my advocacy work for Stop The Violence, I was aware that I was a small voice in a big pond. I was also under the (false!) impression that my personal experience made me weak and stopped me from making a difference.
I felt like my aims needed to be small and local, so I started attending local feminist events and meetings, to network and to see where we could become involved.
After a while, I met the organisers of the Nottingham Women's Conference, who were looking for fringe events. I spoke to my lovely writers' group and we agreed to host one together. It was exactly what I wanted; small, local, no pressure.
Writes For Women was the first event that I organised or agreed to, but as you know, not the first that took place. It might seem insignificant, given Nine Worlds in London, or my Ranger Volunteer day at Nottingham Women's Centre, but Writes For Women holds a special place in my heart for being the first.
What made the event special wasn't the number of people participating, but the number of people who weren't writing, but engaged with the event anyway. We had leaflets and fact sheets about gender inequality laid around our venue, and evy time I walked round, people were talking. Really talking and discussing the problems. Because an event like this isn't just about the writing, or the money, it's about opening discourse on taboo subjects.
I spent my weekend writing about my personal experience of gender inequality and violence. I chose it knowing the impact certain blog posts have had on women and how female networks decrease the sen of isolation. At some point, I will share this work, though the format mains to be seen. My challenge was to write 10,000 words in two days. To put this in perspective, when we do the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, we say writers should aim for 1,125 words per day. It was a huge challenge, but a huge achievement when I succeeded in under 27 hours of my 48 allocated.
So far, the group has raised £172 for Nottingham Rape Crisis. There are writers donating to other causes too, but I'm incredibly proud of this. If you do want to add to this total, please feel free to visit this Just Giving page.