To start, describe yourself in 5 words…
Curious, determined, talkative, wanderlust, creative
What’s your favourite mantra or motto to live by?
Never be complacent if you want to see change
For those who don’t know, share a little of your story with us…
In 2015 I set up the #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and victim-blaming, to empower survivors of sexual violence and create a sense of solidarity. It started by writing an open letter to my own assaulter, which was published first in my student newspaper but then went viral and gained traction in the national and international press. The campaign now has contributors from all over the world.
Through it all, what was the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?
Having lapses of weakness and emotional instability even after I transformed a negative event into something positive. There is an expectation that just because someone has done something positive that “they are okay now”. It is important to remember that it is never as simple as that, and that is is okay to have ups and downs always.
What was the pinnacle moment that turned you into a true believer?
When one of my best friends from university told me that her friend had finally had the courage to speak out and get help about assault after reading about the campaign. It made the difference we were making feel tangible.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt?
The strength that comes from failure or injustice, the kind that fires you up with a burning desire to prove the doubters wrong or fight for what is right, is the greatest fuel in the world.
If you could go back and tell yourself something, what would you say?
I found my teenage and school years pretty tough. So much change is going on both in your body and outside of it and it is hard to know how you fit into it all. I wish I could’ve told myself back then, this is normal and this too will pass.
Would you do anything differently?
No – not because I have had a perfect life, but because one of the main things I’ve learnt from the campaign is how common and yet destructive self blame and guilt are. And I don’t believe anyone doesn’t make mistakes.
What do you hope people can learn or gain from hearing your story?
I hope for survivors of sexual violence to feel like they are not alone, and should not feel ashamed or to blame for what happened to them. More generally, I would like everyone to read it and realise that they should not ever feel like they are defined by negative things that have happened to them.
And some fast fires, just to finish off…
Cheese or chocolate? My two favourite things… gah. It’d have to be cheese though.
Summer or Winter? Summer
Smoothie or juice? Anything with frozen bananas, so smoothies.
Books or movies? Books
Tea or coffee? Tea
Yoga or boxing? Boxing
Finish this sentence…
The most important thing in life is… those who believe in you. Trust them, invest in them, surround yourself with them – the others don’t matter, even if you worry about them more.