As an eighteen-year-old student nurse, I didn’t speak up about Jimmy Saville

This matters to me because I am a woman and a mother of daughters, I care about our rights and opportunities and I care about the dignity and choices of all women. As a Nurse, I also care that people with gender dysphoria are able to access psychological therapies and the treatment that they need.

It matters to me that women and girls can participate fully in society, whether that is with our career choices, via sport, or through social activities, and I want women and girls to have the privacy and dignity they need when dealing with intimate body functions. I care passionately that my daughters can be the women they wish to be, expressing their personality and identity their way and I want them to enjoy safe sex with partners of their choice.

I care that regulatory capture has already eroded safeguarding boundaries and is seeking to reduce them further.  I care that vulnerable people can be persuaded that being Trans / Non-binary will solve their complex issues. Professionally, I have encountered people having more surgery “because if I just had my breasts enlarged/face sculpted/other procedure I would be happy” These people must not be sold a lie.

This especially matters to me, because of something I didn’t speak up about. Thirty plus years ago, as an eighteen-year-old student nurse, I didn’t speak up about Jimmy Saville.

At the time it was a trivial issue and I had no idea of the breadth of the man’s depravity, I just thought he was a creep. But I have asked myself many times since, what if? What if I had said something? what if others had said something? could he have been stopped sooner if the incidents had been stitched together and the picture was clear? We need sunlight.

I bore my friends and family endlessly. I tweet – though under a pseudonym – about issues that affect women and girls, have contributed to crowdfunders and have tried to raise awareness on online platforms, endeavouring to patiently, factually challenge incorrect posts and to repost and celebrate the views of feminists I respect.

I have written to my MP, responded to consultations and am part of online feminist groups. I have written and emailed organisations whose policies undermine the rights of women and girls. I have a long list of organisations whose products I boycott as a result.

Unfortunately, my nursing code of conduct and healthcare employers social media guidelines limit what I can write in my own name – so no I haven’t experience negative consequences, because I work within the rules. I would like to go beyond them.

Helen, Woman, Mother, Nurse,