Wednesday, 8 January 2014


Honoured to be  at Southbank in an audience of (mostly) women who are there to find out about this year's One Billion Rising. This year we're rising for justice for all women.

A domestic worker tells how she saved herself from being raped by her employer. Warm tears start rolling down both cheeks. Helena Kennedy catches my eye and I see her clear eyes are cloudy with tears too. The Philipina domestic worker's pain catches us both, probably all, by surprise and we have all been there.

Fucked by the patriarchy whether it is by being compromised to our own truth and under selling our value as women,  catering to a narcissist who steals our light for his vanity, or in a death lock with Eros, love with conditions and constraints. Helena asks poignantly what makes for an appropriate woman? How can the criminal justice system work for women?

Stella Creasy hard headed MP and former shadow equalities minister says she's ashamed of the Britain that locks up asylum detainees and treats women the way we treat asylum seekers who are women. I tell her she's brave and thank her for inspiring me and others to not shut up or back down. She says she's not brave, "I'm just bolshy."

I find myself uplifted,  these women with our stories find a common place to come together to weep, to shed our pain, to laugh and rise again.

This year, one billion women will be raped across the world. More than one billion men and women will rise for justice for these women and will dance.

I wish you'd been there. My heart spilled over with love and I reconnected with who I am and why I'm here. I'd forgotten, living in his grey world and shadows.

Thandi Newton finished with some freeflow about fear, and why the trolls on Twitter had taken against Stella and Caroline Criado-Perez  with such vengeance. Fear of the unknown,  fear of change and fear of losing control. We are being controlled by fear.

How refreshing to assert that we are not afraid, that by "pooling our voices we liberate each other," says Stella into Eve Ensler's river of justice.

Tonight my heart sang in poems and reflected love all the colours of the rainbow. I find Helena and the woman ex offender who also spoke and  I'm so happy to see both. Helena and her book  Eve was Framed, have inspired me for years,  before I know her, to have a voice and to speak out loud for those who can't.

Tonight I feel connected to the me I've abandoned, the woman my children love, my friends celebrate though the success they project,  the words they use to comfort me- warrior woman, fighter and champion for human rights, passionate believer that justice can prevail.  I don't know how I've been living, like a stray, eyes wide shut in a dangerous world, letting someone treat me and talk to me and others in a way I can't accept. I had to cut him out like a cancer and let him go back to his sleeping state in suburban purgatory. Not for me.

I get home and blast the theme Rising.  Michael Turner QC calls. He's shocked by something I tell him, he assures me it will be alright and offers to call the person who is lashing out and in pain. I ask him not to,  this person doesn't belong in our lives. We showed him love and acceptance.  He abused it with easy intimacy and power games.

"Promise me you're going to stop picking men who need saving?" He says, "I'm in Southwark,  I'll see you after court? I'm around." I tell him to send dates to go and see Helena Kennedy so we can plan our book launch for Women vs. The State (UK).

I can't argue with that,  really. No more fixer uppers. "Let me meet your friends first," he offers helpfully.

"Yeh. You really liked Dan." We all did.

"Yes, but you crossed the rubicon,  Farah."

I have a life beyond my wildest dreams, with love and people who remain, through thick and sin. I want all women,  I want my beautiful daughter and her friends to know what safety feels like,  what boundaries and trust with men are about. I want them all to have a great man,  at least one,  who loves them entirely unconditionally,  without judgement when they serially fuck up, like a Michael Turner in their lives.

Mr Gove: in case you're reading this,  our mission this year, one billion women will rise for sex and relationship education to be made compulsory in all schools. We don't care about compost and fractals, empower our children to learn safety in relationships in order to end all forms of violence against women.

To all the women there tonight who made me feel safe again, grounded and in my core, I love everyone of you.  To all the billion women who will be raped across the planet this year,  we will rise for you.

Sometimes you just have to dance it out.