Hot on the heels of the launch of her first book, ‘Be The Change: A Toolkit for the Activist in You’, and her success in getting the law changed to make upskirting illegal, Gina Martin shares her advice for budding activists
You’re never going to be given permission to rock the boat. No one is ever going to turn around and say, ‘Absolutely, go and make those people do that thing that’s going to make their lives harder’. I think as women, we often feel like we have to wait for permission to be in spaces, because we’re not always in those spaces or given those opportunities. We have to push past that if we’re going to make radical or useful change.
You don’t have to go and change the law – you can take care of your street, take care of your community, work with someone local. We need our communities to be taken care of just as much as we need our rights to be taken care of. Activism is a muscle – you can train it if you start small, but just start. That’s the hardest part.
It’s never a bad thing to ask for help. The amount of help I asked for during my campaign is unbelievable – I didn’t do it on my own. I had a lawyer who was there with me all the time; my boyfriend had to put me in the bath while I was crying. Resilience comes from the people around you too, and there are always people around you that can help.
It’s down to all of us to build a good support system around ourselves and have the right people there to support us, because sometimes you’ll struggle to pick yourself back up again and it’s down to the people around you who love you and care about you to help you get back up. As women we’re used to saying, ‘I am dealing with all this stuff that angers me and I’m going to solve it. I’m going to have it all and be strong and be the thing they think I’m not’. Which is great, but you can’t do it all on your own. You need a really bulletproof support system.