Wednesday 14th June 2017 Tomorrow's Women Wirral were invited to join Upton Hall School during ‘Futures Week’.
Upton Hall School is an all-girls grammar school based in Upton, Wirral. According to their website, their Futures Week initiative offers, "Year 12 students five exciting days of activities and experiences designed to assist with the decisions they are currently making about their own futures." Among sessions on Healthy Finances, Healthy Body and more, our Communications Officer, Kate Menear, gave a presentation about TWW and our work with Domestic Abuse and Sexual Health. The brief for the presentation was ‘Healthy Relationships’. These may be romantic, familial, friendships or any other type of relationship.
In 3 hour-long sessions Kate discussed types of abuse, breaking down the stigma that domestic abuse is about physical violence alone. The sessions covered topics such as coercive control, ‘gaslighting’, emotional and financial abuse and isolation. She discussed what a ‘healthy’ relationship might ‘look’ like – answers ranged from ‘happy on facebook’, to ‘financially stable’, and ‘they’ve got kids’. Kate was able to discuss with the girls that many women who attend Tomorrow’s Women were in seemingly healthy relationships from the outside, but within, they were experiencing abuse.
She showed the students a video about TWW (available here) and another on coercive control and sexual exploitation. Although the second video is from Childline, the subject matter is relevant to young women and adults of any age. This was another way in which Kate was able to break down stigma around domestic abuse by suggesting that victims can be of any age, race, sex, gender, sexuality, religion, financial situation.
The young women at Upton High School where engaging in the sessions and seemed to take on a lot of the information, with a few even offering to volunteer once they are 18. One has since followed up on this already with an email. The session ended with a discussion on safeguarding and what to do if you feel you or a friend, a family member or acquaintance are engaged in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
It was great to speak with under 18s about safeguarding against abuse – this is valuable outreach we’d love to continue. We'd like to commend Upton Hall on their progressive outlook on what it means to be in a Healthy Relationship. By inviting us in to speak with students about the realities of domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships it enables both students aand teachers to better safeguard themselves and those around them from potetntially harmful situations. We were proud to be invited and glad to speak with the students about the experiences they face as growing young adults.
We'd also like to say thank you for the lovely card and gift - such a thoughtful gesture!