(from top to bottom) Marlene, Andrea, Keri, Daniella, Hollie, Heather and Anne.
More than a year ago, an idea started to form in my head about using both fashion and social media as a vehicle and the blog as the platform to feature a series that'll stay permanently online. The stories will be aimed to empower women and offer a source of comfort to those tackling various traumatic issues. If I said that this was an easy project to produce, I'd be lying. There were many moments when I doubted myself. Persuading fellow bloggers to bare their soul online? How will I offer a sanctuary for survivors to share their inspirational stories safely? Will I be able to bear the cost of financing the project myself? Many gave their time freely. I will be forever grateful to both Lucian and Adrianan Paraian of Adrienne Photography.
In a commercially driven world where success is measured by revenue and statistics, would a project highlighting weighty social issues and offering hope but going against the grain of the mainstream current be accepted in the blogging playing field? When social media is used for mainly self promotion and sharing, can it not be used to empower women (and men) in a different way? The majority of us go through life trying to project an ideal image even when we're battling with pretty serious issues for fear of being branded a failure. Furthermore, the pursuit of perfection and youth is largely driven by only showcasing beautiful images that'll sell. Would the Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket fail before it would even reach out to the targeted audience?
Most of us are deeply private individuals and our blogs are merely an outlet where we cater to our frivolous side. I was a nervous wreck for months trying to write my story and the week it was published, I wanted to take cover under my duvet and never leave the safety of my flat. I can attest this holds true for all the other women who are involved in the Sisterhood series.
Sexual attacks are such a taboo that family members and our closest friends take great lengths to avoid the topic at all costs. Not just mine but in so many others who have emailed or privately contacted me after my story was published. Little wonder because 44% of all sexual attacks happen to children under the age of 16. Pretty scary statistics when you consider 1 in 5 women is a victim of a sexual crime. Whether it's depression, post natal depression, abuse, miscarriage or the threat of being homeless, the anxiety the sufferer experiences cannot be ignored.
Perhaps one of the stories may stop a loved one from contemplating suicide (thank you to the person who emailed me) or be a comfort just to know that she's not alone, you have made a difference and change the course of her life for the better. A few days ago, I received another email in my inbox. One that made my eyes welled up with tears and touched me deeply. Grace wrote this on her blog. Another truly inspiring individual, Lucy, the founder of Heal for Life U.K recently reminded me of the story of the starfish. It may be difficult for a single individual to change the course of history but collectively, as a group, we can all make a difference. One person at a time.
p.s. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket series will remain permanently online here. Or you can share the stories using the social media icons below.