To mark 16 Days of Activism, we're shining a spotlight on inspirational activists from around the world. Margot Tudor works as the International Development and Human Rights Coordinator for Bristol Hub, and has volunteered with One25 and Advance, charities working in Bristol and London to support women affected by domestic violence, street sex work and similar issues.
For our latest #16Days spotlight, she shares her experience, and offers some advice for young people keen on getting involved with activism.
My activism work is mostly around domestic violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG) but I have also had experience working with street-based sex workers.
As a history student I come to the third sector from an analytical background and so I typically work with data and theories of change. I help charities to spot trends, weaknesses and strengths in their current advocacy work and write reports on how they can improve and be more effective.
As I am so passionate about stopping VAWG both in the UK and internationally, the activism I take part in now is giving me a vital foundation of knowledge of patterns of behaviour, and the sensitivities/complexities involved in working with different cultures.
I've always been passionate about fighting violence against women - especially sexual violence during conflict - and I had been researching the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide for those who had experienced mass rape as part of my degree.
While was working on my research I realised that I desperately wanted to become involved in activism fighting against VAWG in any capacity so I interviewed for the role of a student consultant for a local charity called One25 which works with street-based sex workers in Bristol. From the outset I was totally motivated in the brief - challenging their theory of change and the assumptions that directed their work - and working with the case studies of the women.
Human dignity is something that motivates my activism the majority of the time. Other factors obviously play a role but I find I am most personally offended when human dignity is violated in any form and so I aspire that my work will one day change the way those I work with are treated.
Through my activism role I am trying to play a tiny part in readjusting the balance of powers that have often lead to different forms of VAWG; trying to regain some justice for those affected.
Fundraising and education are my two top tips for youth activism. These are the two main areas where we can make a real difference to support VAWG services. By fundraising you can help the frontline services that are vital for providing guidance and emotional care for those who are taking steps to escape domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
It may sound crass but having worked as a fundraiser this summer for a domestic violence frontline service, there’s no better support from the community than through money. Applying for grants takes a significant amount of time and often these services do not have a permanent fundraiser on the books, and so writing these applications can take vital support workers away from the frontline.
The government cuts are hurting these services in the UK and if you are even slightly motivated to help stop VAWG, fundraising for specialist support services is a fantastic first step towards activism.
Raising awareness is also so important; put on a talk, do a film screening of a relevant documentary, write an article or blog, shout on the street! You might just persuade someone to get involved – it’s all about building a strong and positive community to fight VAWG, no one can do it alone.
My last piece of advice would be to always remember the individual woman or girl you are working to help through your activism. Their dreams, aspirations and futures are just as important as yours and we should all play our part to level the playing field.
Read the rest of our #16Days series here.