Bristol Women’s Voice Wonderful Women Award’s were presented as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations on the 3rd of March. We celebrated over 50 women from across Bristol who had been nominated for their contribution to their communities.
Chlo Winfield received a Wonderful Women Award for setting up the Speak Out Project to raise awareness of domestic abuse in young people’s relationships. Chlo set up the project four years ago and since then she has worked across schools and organisations to educate professionals and support young people to build healthy relationships.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I think the same messages that I try and give young people I work with through the Speak Out project… How to recognise when a relationship is becoming controlling and abusive, and to know that experiencing abuse in a relationship isn’t your fault.
Which women have inspired you?
Everyone (there’s way too many to list!) I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the last few years since setting up Speak Out and getting involved in volunteering and campaigning. I’ve met so many incredible women who continue to inspire everyday. Maybe especially those who’ve dedicated their lives and careers to ending violence against women and girls. Contemporary feminist writers and campaigners like Laura Bates (The Everyday Sexism Project), Finn Mackay, Caitlin Moran, Laurie Penny, and Lucy-Anne Holmes (No More Page 3) initially inspired me to get involved in feminism. Finally, I think the women who have stuck by me and supported me through difficult times, my mum, my old sixth-form teachers, volunteers from Victim Support…because they’re the ones who’ve inspired to keep going when I most wanted to give up!
What do you want to see change for women in Bristol?
I’d like to see all girls and young women in schools receiving high-quality education on ALL aspects of relationships, there’s brilliant initiatives going on in Bristol like ‘The Bristol Ideal’ but I wish more schools would do it. Proper funding for all services supporting women – especially those working with survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse, mental health services, and services that do prevention work with young people. More in-depth training for all police officers on domestic abuse and coercive control. Because I think that would help ensure every woman who reports domestic abuse to the police would get the right response and protection every time, rather than the variable quality we have at the moment.
Is there anything that you have been read, seen or listened to recently which has inspired you?
The whole #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have been really inspiring and shown the power of women coming together. Justice for Women, a feminist legal campaign group, recently won leave to appeal a woman’s unfair conviction, because they were able to argue coercive control is a form of domestic abuse. Their determination to help women who’ve experienced the worst injustice, and the difference they’re making for all women, inspires me.