This is the official blog of the Feminism Society of Royal Holloway University of London.To join our mailing list or submit an article, feel free to email To pay your society membership please visit

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

FemSoc Saved my Life

FemSoc Saved my Life - anon
TW: Abuse and mental health. 
People consistently ask me how I got in to feminism but from where I am standing my feminism seems like such an integral part of my identity that I find it difficult to know where it really originates. Maybe my feminist awakening happened at age twelve when I cried in a history class because one of my friends dismissed the suffragettes as boring or perhaps it happened when I was fifteen and my PE class staged a walk out against my school’s change in uniform policy.
I know that if I am really being honest with myself it didn’t happen until much later. When I arrived at Royal Holloway I was still hesitant about the idea of feminist society, I spent a few minutes lingering around their booth at the freshers fair wrestling with the idea. I was still new to the idea and very much afraid of anything that seemed ‘too radical’ (occasionally I wish that I could show 2011 me what I have become I think I would be impressed but also mildly horrified).
My life has changed a lot since first year and now I am talking to you one mental breakdown later and I want to tell you that FemSoc saved my life. I failed my first year at university due to severe agoraphobia and anxiety that rendered me unable to attend vast swathes of my lectures. So when I arrived back for my second year alongside passing my incomplete first year courses I launched my own personal campaign to try to ‘be braver’ (This was a goal that is very simple to say but near impossible to realise).
The first step I took on my mission to ‘be braver’ was attending a Post Secret event alone. Whilst I was there the floor was opened up for people in the audience to be able to share their secrets, this was the first time that I spoke about my ex-boyfriend having raped me. I told my most painful secret to a room full of 500 strangers and I felt supported. Two people came up to me after the event and told me that they shared my secret; the first was a police woman who specifically dealt with cases involving abusive relationships, the second was a feminist blogger who I recognised and admired and it was this interaction that encouraged me to become as involved with feminism as I could. 

I knew I needed people around me who could provide me with a sense of support and community and FemSoc was where I found them. My mental health has been through ups and downs and I have had some awful ‘cannot get out of bed because the world is far too scary’ days and on those days it has been friends that I have made through feminism that have encouraged me and supported me and I have tried to offer them the same sort of support in return. Feminist spaces are where I feel at my happiest and most fulfilled and I mean it in complete seriousness when I tell people that FemSoc made me feel safe and supported at university and that is what saved my life.