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), was 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.

Check Women’s Aid website for availability

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.

Find out more about becoming a Community Ambassador for Women’s Aid 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

This is a conversation about women’s safety and male violence. And we should be able to have it.

⚠️ Content Warning: refers to domestic abuse, sexual violence and femicide

There seems to be a pattern when we talk about male violence towards women. We often hear – including from some women – that we shouldn’t “tar all men with the same brush”.

Many believe, including me, that not all men are bad. So what’s the problem? Let’s open it up. 

Some might say the “not all men…” narrative is because those men – and women – simply want us to trust males and stop lumping them in with the bad ones. But that implies that because not all men are violent, it’s not fair to raise the issue – and reality – that some are.

When we walk the streets, sit at our desk at work, go on a date, or visit a bar – where we should feel safe – research shows we are not. Latest figures suggest that 97% of women have been subjected to sexual harassment in the U.K.. In 2017, the latest year for which figures are available, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that 3.4m women had been victims of sexual assault in their lives . This included one million who had been raped, or had faced attempted rape. If the argument is not all men are dangerous, how are women meant to know which men we can trust?

Many women have “safety tools” to help them feel safe in every day life. They have them because of the reality they face going about their business each and every day. They’re not “over-reacting”. They’re not being “hysterical”. They’re not being “over-sensitive”. The evidence shows women are disproportionately at risk, and have to take steps to ensure their safety.

But this is problematic. Women having to take these safety measures has become so normalised, that if they didn’t have or use these tools, they become the target for blame when they are attacked. It’s a problem because it puts accountability in the wrong place.

By saying we should “trust our instincts”, watch what we wear, not go out after dark, not wear headphones, it puts the focus – and responsibility – on women, to stop men being violent.

We want to be able to have a conversation that explains why that’s an unhelpful narrative.

We want to be able to explain that the only person responsible for hurting, controlling or killing is the perpetrator. That even though “not all men” are like that, that two women are being murdered every week, with reports that during lockdown a woman was killed every three days

We need to have a conversation about male violence and why women are too scared to report it. We need to address rape myths that “she must be lying” when only 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police are found or suspected to be false. 

We need to include a discussion with the LGBTQI community, including the fact that a quarter of trans people report domestic abuse. We also need to have a dialogue about whether or not safe spaces (like refuges) are accessible for people with disabilities, and why when black women go missing their safety is neglected – and ignored – in a way white women aren’t.  Anyone that goes missing or is attacked should be a cause for public concern equally. We should be able to talk about it. And hope that people want to listen. 

We need to allow this dialogue, appreciating the knowledge that men are victims too – including of domestic abuse (which many say makes it harder for them to report) – as well as on the streets. 

For those that say “but what about men?”, we can acknowledge that men are dying, and their lives matter too. But then we need to address the fact that in those cases the perpetrators are also overwhelmingly male. 

90% of murderers are male and 87% of crime against the person is committed by men. 97% of sexual offences are committed by men. Where the number of male homicide victims has decreased, the number of female victims has increased in the latest year. (ONS

Women are not safe. And this needs to stop. We need change that lasts.

Image by Women’s Aid

So we’re not saying all men are bad or violent. We’re saying all men can help us feel safe:

  • By demonstrating empathy for this conversation
  • Acknowledging and educating themselves on the issue of women’s safety and male violence
  • Recognising their own biases
  • Being an ally by learning, sharing and opening the dialogue
  • Intervening when they hear or see others being inappropriate
  • Not engaging in “banter” that objectifies women
  • Teaching other men they don’t have the right to control or kill anyone.

UN Women have also written about how men can help and I have my own “Call to Men” thread on Twitter that includes resources from men doing the work to help us all be safe.

Image via A Call to Men (added October 21)

To be an ally in the conversation around addressing misogyny in particular, a place to start is to understand the difference between sexism and misogyny, and help reduce the status of males who harass or make sexist comments against females; let them know that’s not what a good leader looks like. Because much misogynist language goes unchallenged, the assumption is that it’s societally acceptable; when men stay silent, they are saying “what you said was ok”.

When they call misogyny out it as it happens, it can stop there. This shows moral courage and integrity, and is good leadership. 

David Challen speaks on Channel 4

We know men get hurt too. But this conversation is about women’s safety and male violence. And we should be able to have it. We know that 78% of men say they would intervene if they saw a woman being harassed – that’s an important statistic. But we also know that when men are in groups this will likely fail.

When people use the unhelpful “not all men” narrative, engage in “whataboutery” or say it’s “anti-men” to raise this issue, it minimises and derails the conversation, and shuts it down. 

It says that because it’s not their experience it’s not their issue. It feels like they’re saying that “not all men can help”. 

It is. And they can. 

As Jackson Katz writes in “The Macho Paradox”, he “understands women’s skepticism, who for years have been frustrated by men’s complacency about something so basic as a woman’s right to live free from the threat of violence… isn’t it about time we had a national conversation about the male causes of violence?” I think so. I hope you do too.

If you or someone you know has been affected by these issues, here are some links that might help.

You can read my thread on the differences between sexism and misogyny as I talk about them here. This post first appeared on the Let’s Talk Lady Business website. Updated October 21 to include Women’s Aid video, and March 22 to add Call to Men Twitter thread.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

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.

I talk about this and more,in my book Answers in the Dark.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

About Delphi

I am a qualified counsellor, well-being trainer and author of Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal. My community work is aimed at helping people find what I call their ‘mojo’ (purpose or motivation) and get their sparkle back, often during or after a difficult time in their lives.

I have designed and delivered bespoke bereavement awareness and well-being training nationally, to public sector services including police officers, nurses, paramedics and search and rescue teams. I also provide Mindful Leadership Training and wellness programmes to international corporate clients. I have a special interest in dreams and sleep, appearing on TV shows like ITV’s This Morning and Loose Women. (You can find out more about this further down the page).

My mission is to help enhance the well-being of others through compassionate education, and fostering community connections with wholehearted dialogue that facilitates meaningful change. I believe in human potential and, through the extensive involvement I’ve had facilitating peer support, I trust in the ability of communities working together to help create a more enlightened society.

I follow a Buddhist way of life.

Answers In The Dark is available on Amazon and Hive

Professional Career

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I began supporting those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court. I have also worked across the private, public and third sectors including in a FTSE100 company, a national charity and in the NHS, in management and leadership roles.

Peer Support

In 2004, I established a unique website and peer support group dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experiences. As a result, I featured in several popular magazines on this topic, including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see a full list of tv and media appearances below).

Later, I led a peer mentoring service for three years with a well-known mental health charity, offering relevant training to volunteers and helping establish the goals of those using the service.

During the pandemic I also ran a bereavement peer support group for grieving people and set up A Grief Note™ on Twitter.

Charity Work

I volunteer for an organisation that supports grieving people often bereaved by murder or suicide. I also give my time for free as an Independent Advisor and Community Ambassador for national conversations that focus on ending male violence against women and girls including domestic abuse. I chose this work for reasons close to my heart and I explain why I think we need this conversation here. The national domestic abuse helpline in the U.K. is 0808 2000 247.

I also volunteer with a local emergency response team, providing emotional support as needed in the event of a major incident.

I also work for a charity in my spare time that transports patients with cancer to hospital for their treatment, that won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications are in Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning and Management and Leadership. I am also a Mental Health First Aider and authentically trained in Mindfulness. I ensure I engage with continuing professional development throughout the year, so that the learning I provide remains up to date. 

I also trained with the National Homicide Service, Victim Support and Women’s Aid. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse.

TV and Media Appearances

I have enjoyed many TV and media appearances talking about the subjects I am passionate about, including dreams and healthy sleep. You can view an expanded list of media appearances below:

Radio:

BBC Radio: BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC WM, BBC Hereford and Worcester, 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, Talk Radio (Europe)

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

Book(s)

Answers In The Dark is available on Amazon and Hive

I am the author of Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal. The book aims to join the dots between our sleep, dreams and our mental health, specifically how grief shows up even if no one has died. It explores some of the big myths of sleep, offers a Sleep Cycle Repair Kit and some tips on how to decode your own dreams.

I am currently working on a second b

Podcasts:

I have featured on a number of podcasts for the promotion of my book. For a full list visit here.

Featured work

Natural Health, In Style Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Daily Express, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Magazine, 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, Mens Health magazine

PR Events

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

Find out more about Delphi’s weekly newsletter – Monday Mojo™ – offering insight, inspiration and intention for the week ahead here

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

Monday Mojo™

I am the creator of Monday Mojo™ – A weekly email that’s been sent to inboxes since 2017, containing feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Sign up here.

Subscribe to Monday Mojo™

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.

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™ 2021

What’s in a Dream?

Dreams have been described as “the window in to our soul”, but is there any value in exploring them? The short answer is most definitely “yes”.

Research shows that talking about a dream for approximately an hour “can result in “aha” moments for people”.  We also know that during the pandemic, according to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre, dream recall increased by up to 35%.

I have been fascinated by dreams all my life, and have worked professionally as a TV “Dream Expert” in the media.  As a therapist many of my clients have found it helpful to explore what their dreams and nightmares mean.

Available to Order on Amazon

Book Release

My book – Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal looks at not only why we might be awake at night and what can help, but explores how our dreams can provide insights in to what’s really on our mind.

It provides tips on interpreting your own dreams, as well as top tips for more refreshing sleep – even if you work shifts.

It’s now available to on Amazon. Click here to order your copy.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2021

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. 

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

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, the National DA Helpline is 0808 2000 247

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

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.d

No one was hurt during these incidents, and it transpired 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 the children’s actions shouldn’t be understood, and it’s important the children were spoken with appreciate why they did what they did.   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” (their words) and interpreted his stance 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 understand behaviour peacefully, and open dialogue with people whose actions and beliefs are directly opposite to our own values? 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 anyone – including me – to feel compassion for those who wilfully 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 to 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 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 non-attachment does not mean non-engagement.”  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 – and only if the time feels right – is to consider that a person who has caused pain didn’t reach that point without a lifetime of experiences.  This is not to excuse their hurtful behaviour (although many 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 – they’re taught. In the same way, we can consider the possibility that in order for us to be okay, we don’t have to forgive anyone if it doesn’t feel like it would help.

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 and behaviours to your own. There is a cause to their negative behaviour which ultimately only they can address and be responsible for.

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. As Elizabeth Gilbert once quoted, we can love everyone but some we must love from a safe distance.

This is where spiritual activism comes in.

Spiritual activism is a commitment to safely educating – if we choose – 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.

Just as you can change your mind about how you vote, you can decide what causes or campaigns you support.  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, compassionately.

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, and starting the cycle of revenge. 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.

What if we opened 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

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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, updated 2021

Dreams and Sleep

Dreams have been described as “the window in to our soul”, but is there any value in exploring them? The short answer is most definitely “yes”.

Research shows that talking about a dream for approximately an hour “can result in “aha” moments for people”.  We also know that during the pandemic, according to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre, dream recall increased by up to 35%.

I have been fascinated by dreams all my life, and have worked professionally as a TV “Dream Expert” in the media.  As a therapist many of my clients have found it helpful to explore what their dreams and nightmares mean.

Available to Order on Amazon

Book Release

My new book – Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal looks at not only why we might be awake at night and what can help, but explores how our dreams can provide insights in to what’s really on our mind.

It provides tips on interpreting your own dreams, as well as top tips for more refreshing sleep – even if you work shifts.

It’s now available to order on Amazon.  

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2021

Online Resources and Shop

Available on Amazon

Book Release!

My new book Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal aims to join the dots between our sleep, dreams and our mental health; specifically, how grief shows up even if no one has died.

It explores some of the big myths of sleep, offers a Sleep Cycle Repair Kit including mindfulness activities and top tips on how to decode your own dreams. You can visit the dedicated website here or order on Amazon.

On this page, you can find out more information about the professional services I provide.

PLEASE NOTE: My counselling waiting list is currently at capacity and I am not taking any new clients at this time. For useful links to organisations that may be able to help, click here. Events – including workshops and classes – are running as normal, and available online (see below). For details of forthcoming events, click here.

My services offer an integrated, holistic and tailored approach to help you find your way forward, and positively maintain and manage your mental health.  (If you’d like to know more about me first, click here).

Digital Products

52 Weeks of Mindfulness” – a carefully crafted eGuide providing 52 suggested activities to bring more mindfulness in to every day life. Available in .pdf format. Price: £4.99.

Services include:

  • Workshops and Classes – including Mindfulness, Workplace Well-being, Mindful Leadership, Cultivating a Resilient Mindset, Mental Health Awareness, Sleep and Dreams, Stress and Anxiety Management, Peer Support, and Understanding Grief. Workshops can be tailored upon request from one hour to three hours. These are available online via Zoom. Teams and Google Meet; please ask for details.
  • Counselling – This approach may be helpful for anyone who wants help with depression, anxiety and stress management, or who has suffered a loss, bereavement or life changing experience. I work in an integrated, ‘person-centred’ way, which means I put clients at the heart of what I do, incorporating a number of different models and methods including CBT and Mindfulness. Prices start from £25; the first session (an initial consultation) is usually free. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, appointments are available via Zoom, or Google Meet. PLEASE NOTE: My counselling waiting list is currently at capacity and I am not taking any new clients at this time. For useful links to organisations that may be able to help, click here. Events – including workshops and classes – are running as normal, and available online (see below).
  • PR and Media appearances – for PR and media requests you can use the form below to get in touch. Click here to read about my TV and radio appearances.

Please note: Due to the number of requests I receive to interpret dreams free of charge, I’m unable to respond to each message individually. Please don’t use this form to request a dream interpretation.

Terms and conditions apply, see relevant pack for details.  Please note that packs can be withdrawn at any time, services are subject to availability.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis

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