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#What25MeansToMe – Fee

July 13th, 2021

 

We spoke to our very own Fee for our next What 25 Means to Me blog. Fee is a Redthread Senior Young Women’s Worker. She supports young women in a trauma-informed way to promote their well-being, safety and personal development. In this blog, she writes about her role at Redthread and her part in amplifying young women’s voices.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Fee and I’m the Senior Young Women’s Worker for Redthread, based at King’s College Hospital, London. I started at Redthread as a Young Women’s Worker in September 2018, when I was 25! Prior to that, I had worked supporting young people experiencing homelessness in Kent.

I moved into my current role as Senior Young Women’s Worker in January of this year. As well as direct work with young women, I’m now working to create and cement pathways between each of our clinical sites and their local Sexual Health clinics, as well as creating and finalising our VAWG training offer.

My colleagues will know that one of my favourite topics is language. At university, I studied Philosophy and wrote my dissertation on the language we use in ethics, when making moral judgements. Now, my interest is more around the language we use when talking to and about young women. Language is not only the way we communicate, it weaves the fabric of our world. The language we use can make a huge impact; on our relationship with an individual, on the way that individual views themselves and the way others view them.

What obstacles have you had to overcome during your adolescence?

Something that I have reflected on throughout my time at Redthread, are the different experiences that led me to this work. My fierce passion to support and advocate for young women is undoubtedly rooted in my own experiences as a young woman.

When I was a teenager, I wasn’t aware of any services or organisations that I could access if I wanted to have some of the important conversations that I now have the privilege of having daily with the young women I work with. By this I mean conversations around topics such as relationships, sexual violence, blame and self-blame.

At Redthread we know that young women have already had to overcome multiple obstacles and barriers just to be sat with us. I want young women to know that I’m here to listen to everything they have to say and that I believe them; just like I would have wanted in my adolescence.

Who has helped you get to where you are now?

My family always encouraged me to believe that there was nothing I couldn’t do, and I feel very lucky that this was the case. Also, without 15-year-old Fee’s fierce desire to learn, succeed and grow into an ambitious and reflective adult; I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today.

My progress (both professional and personal) during my time so far at Redthread, is linked closely to the people I share my days with; both colleagues and young people. I feel inspired daily, and I think that is the key to never giving up.

What advice do you wish you could have given to your younger self?

28-year-old me would tell 15-year-old me, that she’s not just going to be fine, she’s going to be great. That before long, she’ll realise that school is most certainly not the centre of the universe and that though life isn’t always easy (sometimes, very far from it), overall things will get better year on year. I’d tell her to trust herself; both in her abilities and her judgement. To remember that everyone needs to hear what she has to say and if anything, she should say it louder, but also remain compassionate at every opportunity. 

How can society better support young people?

So many young women and girls in our society will have experienced repeated instances of trauma before even reaching adulthood. They might not initially identify these experiences as trauma and when they do, should they decide to share their experiences with someone else – be that peer, family member or professional – there is a significant chance they will be blamed by society for the ways that they were harmed. This is not acceptable.

Of course, my biggest hope for change is that young women – who are already navigating a challenging transition from adolescence to adulthood – will no longer experience violence, abuse or exploitation, whether that be perpetrated by a partner, peer, family member or stranger. But whilst we work towards that change, I have a few other hopes for society to better support young women…

  • We at Redthread aim be a significant part of a larger movement, that puts an end to young women being blamed for the violence and abuse perpetrated against them
  • That we can ensure that wherever a young woman turns, she will be heard and believed
  • That every young woman is seen as the expert in her own life and that every young woman is afforded access to any and every opportunity that she desires. Young women are the future!

This is part of our ‘What 25 Means to Me’ campaign. To celebrate Redthread’s 25th year, our blog series provides different perspectives on the eclectic experience on ‘growing up’ and how society can better support young people going through this transition. 

Donate to our work here, £25 could help our Young Women’s team advise our frontline teams and colleagues on how to support girls and young women who are experiencing different forms of violence and exploitation.

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