[EVENT] Collecting Material from #OutOfControl Conference

Yesterday, I went to the #OutOfControl conference organised by Natalie Collins, tied to the release of her book. I shared my material yesterday, but also collected the tweets together in Wakelet (have now told Natalie about this tool, and think she may be doing a more curated version) – they are in reverse order, and aside from taking out tweets not related to the event, not curated:


[SPEAKER] Abuse in a Digital Age: Does social media help or hinder in dealing with abuse? #OutOfControl

This afternoon I will be presenting at Natalie Collins’ Out of Control event, along with a wide range of exciting speakers!

Domestic Abuse in a Digital Age fo #OutOfControl from Bex Lewis
If you download, you should be able to read the notes below the slides.

Content Added in Response to the Day

I scribbed a few other bits of content onto my slides as I was listening to other speakers (and yeah, my timing was a bit shot, but it’s important to go ‘with the room’ sometimes)…
  • May not be an ‘expert’ on the domestic abuse topic, but I can used my social networks to support/amplify others – including enabling inclusion of those not able to physically be here today (and I would have presented by pre-recorded video if I’d been unable to attend because of treatment)
  • Note that I see digital/social media as ‘different’ but not better/worse than ‘offline’ – we need to judge it on its own terms – as someone tweeted earlier, much of what is happening online is ‘same old shit’ in a new medium.
  • Think about how Andrew Graystone went viral this week (unexpectedly) – see how social media can be powerful, and need to be ready to respond quickly.
  • Thinking about ‘trolling the artist’ event that I chaired, and how the women involved feel silenced and disempowered – need to be ‘strong’ to engage.
  • Thinking about Helen’s session, speaking her own story online – has found a community online – challenge of sticking head above parapet as gets a lot of trolling return. We need to be thinking of our friends who are prepared to do this and support them and their mental health. Support others – whether publicly/privately – who are involved in this work.
  • We might need to go into online spaces that we’re not comfortable in – and echoing what Elaine Storkey had said about this being a global, systemic issue (set within patriarchal violence to women) – there are bigger problems too behind this – including thinking about those in the Phillippines who have to deal with ‘cleaning up the internet‘ for us.
  • Re-emphasising that much abuse is not physical/visible (especially online), and that technology gives both new tools for control/isolation of victims (and the language we use is key) – but if we think about it – also opportunities to help.
  • Encouraging people at the event to share via the #OutOfControl hashtag on that day, or with Natalie later – useful sites – she has good advice on her site, but if there’s more… the importance of having people in this space re-educating us.
  • The church doesn’t want us to think that this is happening – was privileged to pre-read Natalie’s book and my big takeaway message was that most churches assume it doesn’t happen, and need to assume that it DOES HAPPEN.
  • Didn’t get to say – though did emphasise that this needs to be in sermons – that can use various people via pre-records on videos to help present these views to your church – e.g. I’ve been one of 4 people responding to a verse so people can see different interpretations – can be done very simply on mobile phones/first thoughts.


I’m not sure how usable this is, as I recorded this in my pocket. If I’d been thinking more, I would have put it on the speaker stand!!

Review of Natalie’s Book

And here was my review for Natalie’s book:

Out of Control: Couples, Conflict and the Capacity for ChangeOut of Control: Couples, Conflict and the Capacity for Change by Natalie Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was sent this book pre-publication to review, and to see whether I would endorse it.

Will I endorse it, 100% I will! There are so many people who could benefit from the book. I knew some of the issues already as I have been talking to Natalie on/off for several years, especially about things that concern the digital, but I have learnt so much, and I think domestic abuse is something the church cannot keep avoiding – and Natalie is very clear that the topic is ‘domestic abuse’ and not ‘domestic violence’, because otherwise the focus is on physical violence, rather than emotional abuse, which is often more prevalent/damaging.

The audience of the book includes church leaders (the theological preaching/pastoral decisions that encourage people to stay with abusive partners), although there is a huge amount of information in there for people whose lives are not informed by Christian faith. Another audience includes people who are/have experienced abuse (specifically women in this book), helping them to recognise abuse, how to plan to leave abusive partners, encouraging recovery once abusive partner has been left.

Whether you are an abuse survivor, or someone who is interested in helping those stuck within or escaped from an abusive situation, the book is packed full of the years of knowledge that Natalie has – both from her personal experience, and the work she has been doing for the years since. I found the book hugely informative, albeit with some very challenging examples of what domestic abuse looks like – Natalie does not mince her words, although she also finds space for humour in what is otherwise a very dark topic. You can tell that Natalie has heard it all, and has the research to respond to the challenges and excuses she is frequently given, and challenges the stereotypes.

Overall, I found it powerful, challenging, accessible, informative and very protective of its readers. The book is hugely powerful in accessibly offering space to a very complex topic, at the heart of which are issues of control and power, giving many practical examples, and at the end of each chapter encouraging readers to recognise that they are dealing with difficult topics, and to take time out for some self-care … it’s not necessarily a book to be read in one go, but also highly readable, so you could if you can cope with the heavy content! I turned down quite a few page corners to return to….!!

View all my reviews

Media & Press Media - Text

[PRESS] Engaging with Violence against women and girls – with @Rest0red

The CPS has just published a new report focusing upon Violence Against Women and Girls, a report to which Mandy Marshall, of Restored, an international Christian alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women, has responded in this blog. There is encouragement that more prosecutions are being made, but disappointment at the number/range of possible ways in which violence are shown – including a rise in online abuse, to which I was asked to respond:


I recently submitted a chapter on digital culture for the second edition of the Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour, edited by Brendan Geary and Jocelyn Bryan. Expected publication date Spring 2017, with Kevin Mayhew.