I'm Back...and What's Coming up!!
So, I didn't officially go anywhere, but like many others over the last couple of years, Covid (yes I know, the dreaded C word) really did impact my little business and I had to take a step back from What's The Debate to focus on supporting other agencies, I also freelance for the fabulous Taye Training, and looking after myself and my family, we were hit by covid both professionally and personally! Although What's The Debate was still running in the background, I never intentionally pushed it on social media, I still received orders and training bookings, which I am extremely grateful for but I stayed quiet so I could focus on the above, but it is more than time to come back to what I absolutely love doing, especially as I didn't fully abandon What's The Debate over the last 18 months! I have been working on some very exciting things, some of which I can tell you about below and some that you might be able to help me with!
A New Direction (ish)
Firstly, you might have seen, that I have changed the tagline for What's The Debate, I am still offering resources, training and workshops within Relationship, Sex and Health Education but I am focusing this more on my passion and expertise. What's The Debate will now be focusing on Tackling Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment and Domestic Abuse through RSHE.
I have worked in these fields for over 16 years now supporting children and young people on a one-to-one basis and through educational work and it has been such a privilege to be a small part of their journeys, to be their advocate and at times to be their voice. I joined this field of work because, I also have lived experience of these subjects. At 17, I was in a very abusive relationship and I wanted to be the support that wasn't around for me at the time. All of this fed into the creation of What's The Debate, I wanted to tackle these subjects, I wanted to increase awareness of them, educate young people about them and prevent young people falling into their own abusive and exploitative relationships. I was fed up of the young people I had supported telling me that they weren't taught consent, coercive control, what a healthy relationship looks like and so many other aspects that RSHE now covers. I am passionate about safeguarding children and young people, especially around these subjects and I truly believe RSHE can be a brilliant safeguarding tool to tackle sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic abuse.
What's The Debate will still be offering a range of different RSHE Resources through our Statement Cards but the training and workshops that I will be delivering through What's The Debate will be focusing on sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic abuse. These are the subjects I am passionate about, that I have operational expert knowledge in and personal experiences in and this last year, especially, as shown us that these subjects are still so important to tackle and talk to our young people about. Which brings me on to....
I Have A Book Coming Out!!!!
Like I said, I didn't fully step away from What's The Debate and I am thrilled and so excited that in August last year, I secured a publishing deal with JKP Books to write a book on Tackling Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence within Schools. The book will contain a range of resources, activities and lesson plans that practitioners can use to not only raise awareness and educate young people on these topics but also support those who have been subjected to them.
The book will be focusing on breaking down sexual harassment and sexual violence and really look a young person's world and frame of reference. How their influences can impact how they see the world and in turn how they act. We have seen from Ofsteds review into sexual harassment that so many young people see it as normal, that it is a part of growing up and that it is happening between friendship groups and peers. To tackle these issues, we really need to break them down and look at gender stereotypes, sexualised language, sexualised messages from popular media, boundaries in relationships including friendships and emphasis the importance of not accepting a rape culture as banter.
The young person's voice is going to woven throughout the book and highlight the importance of youth participation and youth led interventions, because of this I would like to offer secondary schools and any youth organisations that support young people aged 12 to 18 years old, free training sessions on sexual harassment and also free educational workshops for young people in exchange for feedback and evaluation. If you would like to receive this and can host a session before the end of April please register your interest here. Be sure to follow us on social media for updates on the books release!
It Is That Deep!
Sticking with the theme of sexual harassment for a moment, I am also thrilled to say that I have been working with an amazing charity in London around their sexual harassment campaign!
Those that have been following me for a while, know I have worked with BelEve previously and I am now working with them again on their "It Is That Deep" campaign, which is all about tackling sexual harassment with young girls, particularly those in Lewisham.
BelEve is a girl-focused charity working with 8 to 18 year olds. They BelEve it is crucial to inspire and empower girls and young women to maximise their potential and celebrate their achievements. Their It Is That Deep Campaign equips young women with the tools to understand different forms of sexual harassment and safeguard each other, supporting girls in knowing when and how to set boundaries, in order to prevent girls from becoming victims, giving them the power to influence change systematically.
I have been providing training and consultancy to BelEve facilitators and since November have been training young people, from schools in which BelEve have facilitated their sexual harassment workshops in, to become Sexual Harassment Ambassadors for their schools and their community. Providing them with the skills to create campaigns, promote positive bystander behaviour and further educate their fellow pupils in their schools.
You can find out more about BelEve and their campaign here and here to find out more about What's The Debate peer mentoring and ambassador training. For all orders of our sexual harassment statement cards and any booking of sexual harassment training, 10% of the profits will go to BelEve to further support their campaign and the amazing work that they do!
I am also really excited to announce that I am setting up a Youth Board for What's The Debate! What's The Debate was originally created with young people, as you may have seen from the above, I am passionate about youth participation and including young people's voice in everything that I do. Members of What's The Debate Youth Board will consult, help develop and evaluate all of our resources and workshops. There will also be opportunities to develop blogs, podcasts, social media posts, newsletters as well as support for their own campaigns/projects in their communities.
Youth Board Members will also have opportunities to attend What's The Debate training sessions, including our Peer Mentoring Training, and have the possibilities of co-facilitating workshops and training sessions with me.
If you know any young people aged 13 to 21 years old that would be interested in applying, then further information can be found here and an application form can also be completed here. Interviews will be held in March 2022.
Be sure to keep an eye out for new resources coming out soon and some more exciting projects!!