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Change that Lasts – A plan of action to create a safer world

⚠️ Content warning: this article refers to male violence, femicide, domestic abuse and rape.

On 8th March 2021, International Women’s Day, my Twitter feed was filled with potential male allies saying they would Choose to Challenge unhelpful behaviour and inequalities that affected women.

Later that week, we learned that another woman, Sarah Everard, had gone missing and subsequently been murdered, this time allegedly at the hands of a police officer. Since Sarah’s death (at the time of writing just two months later) there have been 28 more femicides in the U.K.. Globally, in 2017, 87,000 femicides were recorded – that’s a female being murdered approximately every six minutes around the world.

As our thoughts remained with Sarah’s family, we also remembered the 116 women we know died violently in the previous year in the U.K., the 149 the year before, and all those we know about since records began. In that time, millions of women in the U.K. will have also been subjected to rape and domestic abuse at the hands of their current / ex partner or other male. Latest ONS figures suggest 1 in 20 women will have experienced rape or rape attempts, and at least 1.6 million women will have suffered domestic abuse.

Many women have also spoken of their fears in reporting to the police, and flagged institutional misogyny in policing. The Centre for Women’s Justice Super-Complaint and subsequent Channel 4 coverage, highlighted one woman a week is coming forward to report their serving police officer partner has subjected them to domestic abuse. It was described by one former police commander as an “epidemic within the force”.

A long overdue national conversation began.

Women like me up and down the country, who know what it’s like to feel unsafe walking home – and in their own home – became more vocal. We felt frustrated at having to take precautions to stay safe (and being blamed for what happens to us even when we did), whilst many avoided talking about the significant reason we needed to, that being mainly: abusive and violent men.

Predictably, and at the same time alarmingly, voicing this opinion was met with defensive, derailing and minimising comments accusing campaigners of being “anti-men” and “male bashing”. Exclamations included “not all men” and “whataboutery” from many quarters – including other women.

And I get it. The possibility that if a man you’re close to isn’t a perpetrator, he probably knows one – it’s a hard reality to face. Meanwhile, my timeline stayed quiet from those same male allies who made a pledge on 8th March to stand with us.

The thing is, we can and do accept that men can be – and are – victims too. We know that not all men are abusive BUT we need to talk about the fact that some males are. We should – and need – to be able to have a conversation about women’s safety – and the types of violence against women and girls – and who in the main puts them at risk. Even men are overwhelmingly at risk from other men.

I began a personal plan of action: here’s what it has looked like so far, I’ve added some thoughts in case it helps inspire yours:

Use different platforms: On 13th March, I wrote this article about why we need to have a conversation about male violence and women’s safety. (It also explains why the “not all men” narrative and “whataboutery” is unhelpful, and how men can help.) Encouragingly, campaigners are coming forward like YesAllMen, and I’ve since seen and had helpful interaction with male allies on social media, who seem keen to hold a dialogue and take useful action.

Worryingly though there are other people – and organisations – out there who will say they take this issue seriously but their actions are more performative than progressive eg ticking a box. I recently attended an event billed at opening a healthy dialogue about women’s safety, only for the male facilitator to give the majority of the platform over to people who engaged in exactly the “not all men” and “whataboutery” that doesn’t help. You will also be met by uninformed or ill-informed comments especially on social media, particularly those trying to ignore or perpetuate the problem. So it’s important you pick and choose who to engage with and stay safe, especially online. Protect your mental health too; know your bandwidth for having these conversations and how much energy you have to participate.

• Engage with Police: As part of an Independent Advisory Group (IAG), I have been able to open a dialogue with our local police service to ask what their strategy is to tackle male violence, including domestic abuse. The Chief Constable warmly welcomed a conversation and has promised to include me and colleagues in discussions that can help shape meaningful change. They also released a statement with partners, that demonstrated that women’s safety is and must be a priority too.

You could ask who the domestic abuse lead is (for example) within your local police, to see if they welcome a dialogue. You could also see if they’re recruiting members for their IAG, whose purpose is to give the community a voice in police decision-making and provide advice on developing successful partnerships.

Engage with Communities: I’m part of several groups from our local area who also kindly help me understand and raise awareness of different challenges they face. Having an intersectional approach when helping people, means (for example) acknowledging that systemic discrimination due to a person’s sexuality, gender and gender identity, race and ability may adversely affect someone’s access to support.

Conversations with community groups are a key part of understanding these challenges. You could ask questions in your workplace or via business networks (see below), contact your local volunteering centre, join relevant Facebook groups or speak to different community leaders, or ask to visit (for example) your local Women’s Centre to make sure that the needs of your community are being heard and understood.

Have conversations at work: In recent years I’ve supported the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse. This highlights that workplaces have a duty of care to provide an infrastructure that supports and protects victims and survivors. A recent BBC article explained the importance of paid leave (for example) for those subjected to domestic abuse.

You could ask your organisation if they have a policy that helps victims, or ensure that people at work know the signs and how to help; this could include checking on welfare as part of a 1-1. To make sure that companies are held to account, we could ask or encourage websites like Glass Door to include a rating as to whether or not the company is a safe place to work. Recruiters could also include notes on their website about whether an employer has a policy and infrastructure that helps protect people from domestic abuse.

Reach out to Government: I recently wrote to my MP and our new Police and Crime Commissioner to make them aware of the A Fearless Future campaign by Stylist Magazine; the PCC has since made a strong commitment that local services will be funded appropriately. I and other colleagues had also been talking with the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner prior to that, to look at how local services can meet the needs of victims.

PCCs are elected to make sure that local police meet the needs of the community. They also have responsibilities under the The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. You can find out more about them, including who is yours, here.

Work with agencies: Prompted by research from Kent and Medway NHS Trust, I contacted our local branch of Samaritans to ensure that the link between domestic abuse and suicide – both by victims and perpetrators – is on the campaign agenda. They have passionately engaged with a view to raising awareness.

I also became a Community Ambassador for Women’s Aid. This isn’t a paid role, but part of a scheme called “Change that Lasts – Ask Me”. It identifies that communities which come together, raise awareness of and help break the silence around domestic abuse, can create meaningful change. Part of the role is to ensure that we talk about the signs and prevention of domestic abuse without victim blaming, and recognise that perpetrators are responsible for the harm they cause. We as communities (including statutory authorities) are encouraged to listen, believe and take helpful action (eg signposting) without judgement.

For more information about Women’s Aid live chat click here

This is just the beginning. There is more work to do.

Whilst many organisations – including policing – could assert that “we’ve come a long way”, the change that’s needed isn’t being seen by those most affected. So whilst we continue a plan of action, we also rely on decision makers and communities being ready – and willing – to listen and create meaningful change that lasts. In doing so, we can strive to make the world a safer and healthier place for everyone.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. If you are affected by content in this article you may find some helpful links to agencies and resources here.

Delphi is a qualified counsellor, well-being trainer and campaigner for the awareness and prevention of domestic abuse. To find out more about her click here.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021 – updated 22/5/21

Featured

COVID Dreams

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, people have been reporting that they’re remembering more vivid and disturbing dreams. According to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre’s research, our dream recall is up 35%. So what’s going on?

Because many of us are working from home, avoiding the morning commute right now, we might be sleeping in a bit longer. We know that the more sleep we have, the more dreaming we can achieve; we also understand that you’re more likely to remember the dream you have just before you wake up, especially if it’s troubling.

What types of COVID dreams are people having?

Everyone is different but COVID dreams appear to have some themes so far.

Insects

A radio presenter told me recently on air, that she’d had a dream where maggots were on her face. The following day, a journalist called me to say loads of people she’s speaking to are having dreams about creepy crawlies.  

Pre-covid and depending on your hobbies (like fishing for example), a dream about maggots might be about someone taking the bait.  

But in the COVID era, it’s also important to look at other metaphors. When we look at the language we use around insects, ie bugs this can align with the way we talk of a virus, e.g. you might say you “have a bug”. If you have an understandable fear and anxiety of catching coronavirus, then it makes sense you’d have a dream where insects are too close for comfort.

It might not be COVID related though. It could also be at the time of the dream, someone or something is “bugging” you.

On a much lighter note, insects like bees and butterflies are often seen as positive (for example around leadership, or transformation respectively), so again it helps to take the content of your dream into context with what’s happening in your life at the time – I always ask the questions “why this, and why now?” Keeping a dream diary can help you notice if these types of insects appear regularly, which can help you explore the meaning if it’s a recurring dream. 

How you feel about the insect is also key: eg., were you scared, or were you irritated in the dream? Do you like that type of insect, or do they make you anxious? All of this is worth considering when exploring your own dream. (If you’ve been stung by a bee or other insect in real life for example, how you feel about that will matter too).

Hands

People may also be having dreams which align with the government messaging. Someone I spoke with recently said their hands were dirty in the dream and couldn’t get them clean. With so much messaging telling us we need to be washing our hands regularly, it makes sense this would manifest in a dream this way. Incidentally, pre-COVID a dream about hands is often about the work we do (and our ability to do it). For example, we would say someone may “need to get their hands dirty” if we think they’re not pulling their weight.

Death

Whilst we are hearing so much about the impact of COVID-19 and daily death tolls around the world, it makes sense if the subject of our own mortality comes to the surface, alongside any worries about people we love. It’s natural then, to dream about our fear of death or something which represents that. People working in healthcare and particularly hospitals right now, are being faced with this reality on a daily basis. Worrying “am I doing enough?” can also play out in an anxiety dream like this. It’s important to engage in regular acts of self care and reassure yourself you’re doing all that you realistically can to help others.

Like any dream or nightmare, its worth talking about it with someone who will listen. Research from Swansea now supports that telling someone about the dream you have can help in many ways. It doesn’t have to be a professional exploration; a close friend or family member that you trust might help you make sense of it all.

If you are worried about your health and well-being, especially if it’s affecting your sleep, always speak to your doctor or healthcare team. Learning ways to manage anxiety, during the outbreak and beyond, can help too.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

Featured

Hello and Welcome

I’m Delphi Ellis – Helping You Sparkle™.  I am a qualified counsellor, mental health and well-being trainer, and mindfulness practitioner. I provide services into the community to help people find what I call their ‘mojo’ (feel-good energy or motivation) and get their sparkle back, often during or after a difficult time in their lives. I have a special interest in dreams and sleep, appearing on TV shows like This Morning and Loose Women. (You can find out more about this further down the page).

My mission is to help improve the global conversation around mental health, and enhance the well-being of others through compassionate education. As a specialist trainer on the subject of bereavement, this includes challenging the taboo of talking about death, dying, grief and loss, and helping to break the stigma associated with poor mental health particularly at work, encouraging employers to develop mindful leadership and communication.

I have designed and delivered nationwide training programmes, including promoting the benefits of peer support following the death of a loved one, and tailored bereavement awareness training to front line personnel including police officers, paramedics, and search and rescue teams.

I work by recognising human potential, helping people build their resilience and manage uncertainty, engaging in wholehearted, meaningful dialogue. I am a strong advocate of self-compassion, encouraging regular restorative acts of self-care and work with an integrated, holistic therapeutic approach.

I am based in Milton Keynes, with some services available nationwide and globally via call services like Zoom, Teams and Google Hangout.

Mindfulness Class: Delphi, A HUGE THANK YOU. I really have learned so much and enjoyed every week.

Professional Career 

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I supported those bereaved by murder and suicide. I attended inquests at coroner’s court, and later did additional training with the National Homicide Service. 

During 2018, I developed a training programme and was the specialist lead trainer for the More than Words project, developing peer support groups for bereaved people, around the country. In 2019, I developed the training programme and became lead trainer for the You Behind the Uniform project, discussing bereavement awareness and encouraging self-care with front-line emergency personnel, including police officers, search and rescue and paramedics.

Today, I have brought all my skills and experience together to work in the community, raising awareness and promoting the benefits of mental health maintenance through 1-1 sessions, workshops and group events. When the time is right for my clients, we work collaboratively to help them find their way forward and get their sparkle back. 

As an integrated, holistic counsellor, I am able to use a number of different models, recognising the uniqueness of my clients and their situation; people are at the heart of the work I do. I listen to what my clients need, helping them find their way back to centre, towards a ‘new normal’. (You can find out more about my counselling services here.)Female Mental Health

In 2004, I established a unique website dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of depression and anxiety during pregnancy. This began a journey of promoting better female mental health for those affected by their pregnancy, and later for those escaping domestic abuse. I now promote healthy dialogue to help end discrimination and highlight inequality, campaigning through my Lets Talk Lady Business™ website and social media, to help end shaming, exploitation and violence towards women.

I have featured in several popular magazines including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see an extensive list of tv and media appearances below).

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Restorative Justice, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Support for Insomnia, Positive Psychology, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse. 

Volunteering and Charity Work

I volunteer locally as a ‘Well-being Community Champion’ and Independent Adviser, raising awareness of challenges associated with the topics I cover. I encourage collaboration between agencies, promoting effective (mindful) leadership, and wellness, particularly for front-line personnel.

TV and Media Career

I also work for a charity in my spare time which offers a unique transport service for cancer patients, which has won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

I have enjoyed a TV and media career talking passionately about the subjects I cover, including healthy sleep and dreams. Media Appearances include:

Radio

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™ – Wellness through Learning™

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Dreams and Sleep

Dreams have been described as the “Window in to our Soul.”

We all dream, every night, even if we don’t remember them. But why do we dream and what do they mean?

For thousands of years we’ve been exploring the hidden content of our dreams.

Today, there are many different theories about why we dream and how to interpret them; I have a dedicated website about dreams here. A dream’s content can be impacted by what’s happened during our day or in the news, our experiences in our lifetime, or even by how well we’re sleeping.

Research now supports that talking about our dreams can be helpful. I have been passionate about understanding and exploring dreams all my life. I have worked professionally analysing dreams as a “Dream Expert” and analyst in the media and, as a qualified counsellor I offer a therapeutic service for people to interpret, analyse and explore their dreams in the context of their individuality.

I have had a fascination with dreams all my life, and have worked professionally and therapeutically with dreams for around 20 years.  

I have always believed dreams are  like buried treasure, providing jewels of wisdom to help us navigate through life, allowing us the opportunity to take positive action with the messages they provide.  Sometimes dreams are funny, terrifying – or just weird.  

Whichever types of dream you’re having, it can be useful to understand what they mean.

Science has taught us that we all dream, every night. And, each dream is coded so that only you can decide ultimately what it means.

The following links will take you to my dedicated dreams and sleep website, where I hope you will find insights for all things dreams to help you explore and understand what your dreams may mean.

FREE Sleep Factsheet

Common and recurring dreams

Dream Myths

Sleep

Want to pay for a dream interpretation? Click here.

Dream Therapy

You are as unique as your dreams are, and this is why I offer a service which looks at your dream as a form of exploration. Rather than someone telling you what your dream means (which no one can do, except you), these sessions are a form of dream analysis and interpretation, where we work together to obtain compassionate insights from its message.

A personal dream therapy session can last up to 50 minutes and include possible interpretations, insight and food for thought. You can also receive a brief précis of our discussion sent in English by email afterwards (optional), which can contain the key points and top tips discussed.

This type of ‘dream therapy’ is now available by telephone (U.K.), and call services like Skype and Zoom (global). Interpretations are provided in English.

You can pay for this service by clicking here. You will then be contacted by email to schedule a call. Each session costs £25 for up to 50 minutes.

Got a question about how this works? Get in touch. Please note free dream interpretation is no longer available. If you send a dream for analysis by email you will be directed to the payment service.

Dream interpretations may only be of entertainment value and should not be used to make important life decisions or replace medical opinion. If you are worried about your sleep or dream content please speak to your doctor.

If you have a media request for tv, radio or magazine feature on dreams, you can use the form below to get in touch.  Please note that dream interpretation is no longer available by email.   If you send a dream for free analysis, you will be directed here.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2020

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Workshops Available Nationally

Ask about a range of training and workshops available face to face and online, including managing mental health, healthy sleep and Mindfulness.  Bespoke training is also available to corporate clients nationally. For more information click here or complete the form below.

To  book an event, or send an enquiry call during office hours or complete the form below:

or visit via my Helping You Sparkle™  website.

Sign up to Monday Mojo™ for feel-good motivation for the week ahead straight to your inbox.

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Media: TV, Radio and Magazine appearances

I’m Delphi Ellis – Helping You Sparkle™.  I am a qualified counsellor, mental health and well-being trainer, and mindfulness practitioner.  I provide services into the community to help people find their mojo and get their sparkle back, often during or after a difficult time in their lives.  I have a special interest in dreams and sleep, appearing on TV shows like Loose Women. (You can find out more about this further down the page).

I am based in Milton Keynes, with some services available nationwide. Some of the services I offer are tailored towards  women – this includes Let’s Talk Lady Business™.

My mission is to help improve the global conversation around mental health, and enhance the well-being of others through compassionate education. This includes challenging with empathy society’s attitude towards grief and bereavement, to break the stigma associated with mental health, and raise awareness of and hold conversations about topics that particularly affect female health.

Professional Career 

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I supported those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court.  I also spent a brief time with the National Homicide Service.  I now work in the community promoting positive mental health through 1-1 sessions and group events.

When the time is right for my clients, their aim is to find their way forward and get their sparkle back; this is the foundation of the work I do. I listen to what my clients need, helping them find their way back to centre, towards a ‘new normal’.  Find out more about my counselling services here.

During 2018, I developed the training programme and was the specialist lead trainer for the More than Words project, developing peer support groups for bereaved people, around the country.  In 2019, I developed the training and became lead trainer for the You Behind the Uniform project, discussing bereavement awareness and encouraging self-care with front-line emergency personnel, including police officers and paramedics.  I also established a peer support group in Bedford.

Improving the Conversation for Women

In 2004, I established a unique website dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of depression and anxiety during pregnancy. This began a journey of promoting better mental for women, including supporting those escaping domestic abuse. I have featured in several popular magazines including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see an extensive list of tv and media appearances below).  I also promote healthy dialogue to help end discrimination and highlight inequality, campaigning through my Lets Talk Lady Business™ website and social media, to help end shaming, exploitation and violence towards women.

Volunteering

I am involved locally as a ‘Community Champion’ encouraging collaboration between agencies that promote positive mental health and well-being.  I currently volunteer with an organisation that supports victims of crime.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Restorative Justice, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Support for Insomnia, Positive Psychology, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse.

TV and Media Career

I have enjoyed a TV and media career talking about the subjects I am passionate about, including healthy sleep and dreams.

Media Appearances include:

Radio –

BBC Radio: BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC WM, BBC Shropshire, BBC Coventry, BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio 6 with George Lamb, BBC Suffolk Breakfast Show, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drive Time, BBC Radio Leeds Drive Time, BBC Tees, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, BBC London with Sunny & Shay and on the Eddie Nestor show, Talk Sport, Beacon Radio, Hallam FM, Original 106 FM, Gemini FM, WLR FM, XFM, The Psychic Show (LBC 97.3), My Spirit Radio, Bridge Radio, Red FM

Television –

Loose Women, ITV’s This Morning, DayBreak (Presenter of The Guide to Sleep), , GMTV, The Wright Stuff, LK Today (Lorraine), Consultant to SO Television for My Lovely Audience (Graham Norton), Psychic TV

Featured work –

Daily Express, Mens Health magazine, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Magazine, Natural Health, Soul & Spirit magazine, Huffington Post, Guardian (G2), Sunday Express, Pregnancy, Baby & You, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Pregnancy & Birth magazine, Prima Baby magazine, Practical Parenting, Columnist for Spirit & Destiny Magazine, Contributor to Talk Mum, Contributor to Silent Voices, Columnist for Spirit Force Magazine

PR Events

Dreams Bed Company, Maybelline New York, Sky + HD (article featured in Daily Telegraph), Johnson’s Beauty: Dreamy Skin, Snow Leopard Trust

Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year Cohesion Award for services to the community;
  • Nomination: “Women Who Keep Bedfordshire Safer”;
  • Regional Finalist for the Health and Social Care Awards for Mental Health and Wellbeing;
  • Spiritual Connextions Awards for Best Service to Others

I also work for a charity in my spare time which offers a unique transport service for cancer patients, which won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

If you would like a dream interpreted, this is now a paid-for service – click here for details.

You might also like:

Monday Mojo™ – A weekly email containing feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Sign up here.

With Delphi’s help, I have a new perspective on life and the strength to face new and challenging things in a positive way.” B.

https://youtu.be/_Q1ks1KLDS0

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™

Spreading Wellness through Learning™

Let’s Talk Lady Business

Women often face challenges that are difficult to talk about in public because we’ve been trained – and shamed – to keep these conversations to ourself. Saying “I’ve got my period” for example is still taboo, and women and girls are suffering as a result.  

Research by Plan International UK shows that one in 10 girls have been unable to afford period products and 48% are embarrassed talking about their periods. Period poverty isn’t about not being able to afford branded products; in the UK the research shows some women and girls can’t afford even the cheapest.

As Red Box Project pointed out on Twitter in this vital thread, there are a number of other reasons why girls may not have access to period products at home, including living with domestic abuse.

Women living in domestic abuse may have a partner who confiscates their pads or tampons as a means to control them and other females in the house.  Because they are embarrassed to talk about it, these women and girls miss school or work.

Thankfully these organisations including Bloody Good Period and Street Cramps are working hard to break the stigma. Charities like Refuge can also help support those affected by Domestic Abuse.

To help improve the conversation I also created the Let’s Talk Lady Business™ website and social media to encourage healthy conversation where challenges for females exist, especially around topics like pregnancy mental health, domestic abuse and menstrual health so that we can create meaningful change that lasts. I also run peer support groups for women to help explore the challenges we face and what helps. To find out more about me and what I do click here.

© Delphi Ellis All rights reserved 2019 – Article updated May 2021

Pay for a Dream Interpretation

Research shows that talking about a dream for approximately an hour “can result in “aha” moments for people”.

I have explored dreams for over 20 years, and as a qualified counsellor I now offer a dream therapy service over the ‘phone (U.K.) or via a call service like Skype or Google Hangout (global). Interpretations are provided in English.

The service I offer is an exploration, which incorporates a therapeutic model called ‘person-centred’ counselling. It creates a safe, non-judgemental space for you to share your dream and consider its meaning. Everyone is different, so the session is not a definitive answer for what your dream means but will include possible interpretations, insight and food for thought.

The cost of this service is £25 (GBP) for up to 50 minutes. This can include a brief précis sent in English by email afterwards (optional), which can contain the key points and top tips discussed.

Whether it’s a recurring dream or one you’ve had only once. You can share as much or as little detail as you can remember, it can be a current dream or one you had years ago.  This link will take you to my dedicated website on dreams and explains how to pay.

Want to pay for a dream interpretation? Click here.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2020

Prepare to be Unpopular – normalising difficult conversations

Never, ever be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way”. Martin Luther King Jr.

As part of the work I do, I talk a lot about topics which make people uncomfortable.

Things like periods, emotional / mental health, sexism, and violence against women. One of the best ways to raise awareness of things going on in our back yard is to put them on the public radar.

It’s not because I’m trying to be controversial; in fact, the opposite – it’s to help recognise and normalise difficult conversations, so that people feel open to talking about subjects which we otherwise shy away from.

Being British, I can acknowledge we are famous for our “stiff upper lip”. We don’t talk about things which feel awkward, and social convention says when someone asks “how are you?”, we say “I’m fine”.

But seriously, it’s killing us.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50 in the U.K., and in England (according to the Mental Health Foundation) women are more likely to have a mental health problem than men. There are real links between our physical and mental health, so the more unwell you feel mentally, your body will start to speak.

Particular to women, sexism and inequality are still very much alive in the 21st Century. You only have to look at Twitter feeds like Everyday Sexism to see. This alone can take its toll on self-esteem and our overall mental health.

Then there’s daily features which still tell a woman how she ‘should‘ look, right down to the articles which tell her what she should ‘really’ be doing to please a man, and what really turns men off – e.g. how she ‘should/shouldn’t ‘ wear her hair (it’s reminisce of post war England, but still happening today – true, actual fact).

Do you whisper when you tell someone you’ve got your period? Even these days, ‘Aunt Flo coming to visit’ (the code we sometimes use to say we’re on) is associated with being dirty or something to be ashamed of. Well, those days are up.

Part of the work I’m currently doing, is is to help raise awareness of topics women understand, in a graceful and meaningful way, whilst promoting positive mental health for women, through strategies like mindfulness. To create a space where we can talk (face to face and online), to allow women the freedom to say how they feel about things which are impacting their emotional health.

And if being unpopular for a good cause creates healthy change, then we must be doing something right.

Can you relate to the content of this article? Join the conversation on Twitter here

You can find out more about me and the work I do here.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, websites like Refuge can help.

If you’re not sure how to have the conversation about your mental health, take a look at Heads Together.

For men affected by poor mental health, organisations like The Calm Zone can help.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis

16 Days of Action to Stop Violence Against Women

Go Orange as part of the 16 Days of Action! From 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to 10 December, Human Rights Day – the 16 Days of Action against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to make a stand to end violence against women and girls around the world. Follow me on Facebook for updates.

For more information you can also visit:

UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism

What is Consent? https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk/consent/what-is-consent/

16 Days of Action: http://16daysofaction.co.uk

Men can also show their support in many ways including taking part in White Ribbon Day on 25th November. For more information visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/shop/

Worldwide, 1 in 3 Women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Source: http://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/infographic/violenceagainstwomen/en/index.html#intimate-3

Women are rising, people are listening – so what happens next?

Authors note: This article contains information about sexual assault. 

With recent events unfolding in Hollywood, women are rising under the hashtag #MeToo and having their voices heard for the first time in a very long time.

The world is beginning to appreciate the sheer scale of sexism and misogyny in the 21st Century (which Laura Bates had already evidenced in her book ‘Everyday Sexism’).

Importantly, people – men and women – are listening to each other; what’s being said is literally changing lives, and creating a new platform for equality. 

It’s an amazing shift. I’ve written before that it’s a wonderful time to be alive as woman.  So what happens next? Is there potential to steward this movement, keep it alive and moving in the right direction?

The World will be saved by the Western Woman.  The Dalai Lama

Maybe it’s starts with continuing to hold space for each other.  I don’t just mean women; men are coming forward to talk about their own experiences of being abused, as well as supporting women who are sharing.   It presents an opportunity to unify so that we are all being heard and taking positive action to support each other’s equal human rights.

One clear message is to stay focused on those being held to account. When a perpetrator comes under the spotlight, there is a tendency to turn our attention towards the victims/survivors – who they were, and understanding what happened.  The #MeToo hashtag has seen overwhelming support of women who felt able to share their experiences of sexism, harassment and sexual assault.

But because of this, the pendulum can swing away from the perpetrators and on to the victims. This can happen negatively, with some judging women as if they were somehow to blame. Of course, that’s not true.

Here are some statistics you might already know:

Trigger warning ⚠️  Information about sexual assault:

• Approximately 88,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year. This is increasing ( ^ 19% on the previous year).

• That works out at about 11 rapes (of adults) every hour (or roughly every six minutes).

• The majority of women are raped by someone they know. Many in their own home. And on a regular basis by their partner.

• Rape is not about sexual gratification. It’s about control and humiliation.

• Only 15% of women who are raped will report it to police. Much of this is most likely due to society’s view that she somehow brought it on herself.

• A person who has been raped is NOT to blame. Ever. If we spoke to rapists the way we speak to women about “rape prevention” it would look like the (deliberately ironic) list of suggestions in the image below. What a woman wears or how much she has had to drink, is not an invitation to rape.


Information source: Home Office

Harvey Weinstein won’t always be in the news. But as long as information about sexual assault and harassment is currently in the spotlight, it’s important we keep our energy focused on the perpetrators taking responsibility for their actions, and on supporting the victims/survivors.

It’s also essential that we support any decision for victims to come forward, whilst respecting those who feel they can’t at this time.

If you or someone you know has been affected, you can search Sexual Assault Referral Centre to receive free and confidential information or contact agencies like Victim Support and Refuge. You don’t have to have reported it to the police to make contact with these services.

Keep the conversation going.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

A wonderful time to be alive: the future is female too

For the first time in a long time, women are being heard. They’re being called to rise. They are standing up and being counted, recognised as a voice worth listening to.  

We are being reminded to shed masculine traits we adopted to ‘get ahead’, which denied our natural talents for peacemaking and empathy, and being given the freedom to act once again with grace, kindness and compassion in all areas of our lives. 

I’ve seen lots of women’s clothing and accessories recently that says ‘the future is female’. Whilst I don’t agree with this sentiment entirely (because, well, the future must be a peaceful world where we can ALL get along) it’s important to recognise that women are once again making our mark in history. 

This is why it’s such a wonderful time to be alive as a woman. 
Our time is now.  Make it count. 

Be kind in your interactions, challenge all types of discrimination and remember, you have a right to be heard. 

The future is female too. 

For information about Rise: assertiveness training for awakening women, visit here

Copyright Delphi Ellis 

Spiritual Activism : why love doesn’t mean you have to like someone

Someone I’ve known for a long time was recently accused of ‘preaching’ because he asked a community to remain calm, kind and peaceful during a spree of vandalism in the neighbourhood. 

No one was hurt during these incidents, and it transpires that young children were responsible. Despite their young age, several residents in the community said that, if the children were caught, neighbours would (and I quote) “break their legs” for the damage they caused.  

My friend insisted the police should be notified of the vandalism, and called for measured action amongst the residents. He reminded them there was more to what happened than just kids running riot.  He maintained there must be a reason children would behave this way, and it was the cause that needed to be addressed, not just the actions.  

He wasn’t saying their actions shouldn’t be addressed, and it’s important the children were be re-educated on what is morally right and lawful.   But, he emphasised, “teaching them a lesson” could not – and would not – involve any form of abuse, and anyone suggesting violence as a solution would be reported. 

Needless to say, my friend was surprised that his good intentions had been received so negatively. We wondered how a society would perceive his plight to protect the children from being “lynched” as a sign of weakness, interference and, as one woman put it, “silliness”. The residents  maintained they were right, and that my friend was wrong. 

In the wake of the incidents in Charlottesville, and the powerful speech given by Susan Bro in the video below, I was reminded of our duty to challenge wrongful behaviour.  Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer who was murdered during those protests.  She appealed to us that we should explicitly call into question those who insist on creating a divide.

Is it possible to address ill-informed behaviour peacefully, and open dialogue with people whose actions and beliefs are directly opposite to our own values and moral code? Can we – and should we – truly love someone who causes hurt, or whose opinions are so far removed from our own; who won’t even contemplate that there is another point of view?  

As part of my work, I raise awareness of issues which predominantly affect the mental health of women, including those escaping Domestic Abuse.  It’s a challenge for any woman – including me – to feel compassion for anyone who could so willfully and often severely harm another.  As someone who also follows a Buddhist way of life, I have battled with the concept that I must show kindness all, even those who behave so badly. Don’t I have to like everyone? As it turns out, no I don’t.


I was heartened  to read this article in Lions Roar about spiritual activism, which explains how love doesn’t mean you have to like someone. 

In the article, both Sharon Salzberg and Revd. angel Kyodo williams recognise that we naturally resist the idea of loving someone, especially if they’re the cause of our pain.  

The suggestion that we should show compassion to someone unkind may seem ridiculous under those circumstances, and it feels almost intuitive to fight that idea.

I’ve seen this resistance for myself. When I have tried to encourage a more compassionate and loving approach in others, when they only see the bad in people around them, I’ve been told I’m the one who is wrong. 

I’ve been called a ‘tree-hugging hippy’, that I ‘don’t live in the real world’, that I should keep ‘taking the pills’ (I don’t take any), and that I’m trying to simplify war in a John+Yoko-esque way by suggesting love is the answer.  

I’ve been told emphatically that power is what’s needed, and that the definition of power is to ‘show them who’s boss’.  I still maintain it’s not. 

“Facing the reality of this suffering, we remember that peacefulness does not mean passiveness and nonattachment does not mean nonengagement.”  Lions Roar

Naturally, there is an aversion to loving someone when we really don’t agree with what they say, they have hurt us deeply, and we really don’t like them at all. And the article cited explains that’s absolutely fine.  

What matters is that we recognise a person who causes pain didn’t reach that point without a lifetime of experiences. That they were someone who was suffering before they chose a life of pain. This is not to excuse their hurtful behaviour (although many may see it that way, or struggle with the concept), but to be free of our own suffering, we must acknowledge someone isn’t born to hurt.  

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ~ Nelson Mandela

For whatever reason, circumstances brought them to a place where they chose different, unhealthier, coping mechanisms to your own. There is a cause to their negative behaviour which ultimately only they can address and be responsible for.  If we can’t appreciate that, we all suffer. If we can make peace with the concept that harmful actions are as a result of a cause, we can begin a path of recovery. 

Recognising that is love.

It doesn’t mean we endorse, support, collude, encourage, allow, or live alongside harmful behaviour.  A person must be held accountable for the poor, dangerous and devastating choices they make, and the consequences they have.  It also doesn’t suggest we make it our job to ‘fix’ the person we believe is ‘wrong’, or that we get to decide what their ‘punishment’ is. 

But we can make it part of our purpose to show them another point of view, if we so choose. 

This is where spiritual activism comes in. 

Spiritual activism is a commitment to safely educating people about accountability, connection and empathy (amongst other things) through peaceful and compassionate actions, including dialogue.  

That doesn’t mean it’s passive. It doesn’t mean it involves sitting back and letting the world implode. What it does mean is challenging harmful behaviour, whilst realising there is a much bigger picture. It’s about recognising that you don’t have to pick a side and then blindly stick to it.  

I know, for example, I can change my mind about how I cast my vote, and what causes or campaigns I stop supporting, if their values become toxic or don’t align with my own. (It also has nothing to do with religion).  It’s not self-righteous judgement or preaching to encourage a peaceful world to live in for all of us. It’s not ‘negative’ to address someone’s hateful behaviour towards another human being, if you challenge it in a positive way with good intentions.  And that every action has a consequence.  

“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.”
~ Maya Angelou, poet and activist

It’s about treating the cause of a problem, rather than managing the symptoms, and behaving with kindness, and an aspiration to heal.

As Sharon Salzberg reminds us, “The Buddha told a king, “You should be just, you should be fair, and you should be generous.” But the king forgot to be generous and so people started going hungry and they started stealing. Then the Buddha said to the king, “The point is not to start making laws against theft. The point is to look at why people are hungry.”

So in the case of Charlottesville, Paris, Manchester, Barcelona, Syria and all the other places around the world where we have seen death and devastating destruction we, as compassionate humans, have to ask why these events keep happening, rather than just treat the symptoms they create. 

In the case of my friend, he had a valid point.  It turned out that the children responsible for the recent vandalism were ‘acting out’ because their father was struggling with poor mental health and had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. He and the children are now being supported through various agencies.  

There is nothing silly about reaching out to people in an effort to understand their pain, as long as we maintain healthy, safe boundaries and a compassionate approach to the solutions available. And, of course, those individuals must take responsibility for the damage they’ve caused.   In the case of children, leading by positive example and teaching them the value of empathy (how would they feel if, as an adult, someone damages their property?), is one place to start.  It makes forgiveness possible. 

If someone behaves ‘badly’ we can find a way to articulate that without matching hate with hate. We can recognise the cause of their behaviour without making it our problem. If we want to offer help or be there during their recovery we can, but sometimes just showing someone there is another way can be useful.  Remember though, only they can transform and heal their life by wanting better for themselves and others. 

Said kindfully and with good intentions, let’s open a meaningful and peaceful dialogue, where we choose being kind over being right, and our goal is a peaceful outcome for everyone.  As Waylon Lewis says, let’s disagree agreeably

One person can change the world, by giving people hope, so if you want to change the world…step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the down-trodden, and never, ever give up… if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a far better world than the one we have today, and what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better. ~ William H. McRaven

https://youtu.be/3sK3wJAxGfs

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If you or someone you know may be – or thinks they are – in an abusive relationship, organisations like Refuge can help.  You can call their freephone helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. 

Copyright Delphi Ellis 

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