Why are we so bad at talking about sexual assault? And why it matters.

This week is Sexual Health Week and the theme is consent. It’s also the week Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. In the wake of the Me Too campaign, the ‘Rugby Rape Trial’ and the many brave women who have since come forward to share their own experiences (and with them countless opinion pieces), it’s become increasingly clear to me how bad we … Read more

For me and my mum, Belfast was a sanctuary. And we have the Good Friday Agreement to thank for that

Last night, as I sat with my fellow council colleagues listening to President Clinton and Senator Mitchell being awarded the Freedom of the City for their part in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, I thought of my mum. Seventeen years ago in Zimbabwe, we were down to just two (my brother, sister and father all living in different countries) and I was at boarding school. My mum had heard rumours that after weeks of shortages there was petrol arriving in … Read more

Going back to Zimbabwe

The drive way was exactly as I remembered – albeit a bit overgrown. There was a hut by the gate and a woman emerged, rubbing her eyes. It was the holidays but the dilapidated buildings gave the impression the school had been closed for many years. The driver spoke to her in Shona, gesturing at me – she used to be a student here and wants to have a look. She looked at me suspiciously and the gate was opened. … Read more