phone-call - If our lines are closed or busy, call the 24-hour National Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 027 1234

TED Talk week at CASWA - 19th to 25th October

Do you like TED talks? For one week in October our social media channels shone a spotlight on some of our team’s favourite TED talks. We’re big fans of TED talks here at CASWA, we find them such effective ways of conveying information about a range of topics.


A core and important part of our work at CASWA is shining a light on domestic abuse and associated issues such as violence against women, trauma, feminism and gender equality and promoting better understanding and awareness of these issues within the Caithness & Sutherland community.

Our awareness raising team picked out some of their favourite talks (and quotes) and posted one talk a day as part of our 15 year anniversary. We invited people to grab a cuppa, get comfy and join us for a daily TED talk.

Day 1: Leslie Morgan Steiner – Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave

Our first TED talk during CASWA’s TED talk week addresses a question often asked, but poorly understood: "Why doesn't she just leave?". A complex question which deserves to be answered and understood with compassion, sensitivity and awareness.

Leslie Morgan Steiner describes herself as a women with a story to tell: her story about her experience of an abusive relationship. She discusses the fact that domestic abuse happens all around us, it is everywhere - regardless of race, religion, income and education levels. She shares her experience to put a spotlight on domestic abuse, to break the silence surrounding it and challenge the victim-blaming culture we often hear reflected in the questions people ask. In doing so, Steiner powerfully answers one question so many ask, “Why doesn’t she just leave?”

Day 2: Nadine Burke Harris – How Childhood Trauma Affects Health across a Lifetime

Day 2 of our TED talk week at CASWA focuses on how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime. This highly thought provoking talk looks at how when we experience long term trauma during childhood such as domestic abuse, neglect, parental mental health issues, substance misuse as well as other adverse experiences this can impact our health outcomes later in life.

Burke Harris discusses the study into Adverse Childhood Experiences which asked 17500 adults questions about their exposure to ACEs. The study found that ACEs were common among the participants and concluded that the higher the ACE score, the poorer the health outcomes.

Burke Harris sheds light on the impact of exposure and experience of toxic, chronic stress and pervasive trauma during childhood and explores how such exposure and experience chronically triggers the fight or flight response. This response can be a helpful in the short term when a child is living in a dangerous or unpredictable home environment, however in longer term in everyday situations becomes maladaptive affecting our stress responses, immune system, brain development, emotional regulation and health outcomes.

Perhaps if we as a society understood trauma and its impact better we could and would change our questions from "What is wrong with you?" to "What has happened to you?". The team at CASWA adopt trauma-informed working practice. This means we use a non-judgmental, understanding approach to our support delivery which is embedded in our knowledge of trauma and its short and long term impacts to enable women, children and young people to recover and move on from their experience. As Burke Harris explains, "This is treatable, this is beatable. The single most important thing that we need today is the courage to look this problem in the face and say: this is real, this is all of us"

Day 3: Jackson Katz – Violence Against Women – It’s a Men’s Issue

Day 3 of our TED talk week re-focuses attention onto men in Jackson Katz' "Violence Against Women: It's a Men's Issue". “The culture of male violence and misogyny affects everyone” says Jackson Katz, “not just women.”

In this informative and fascinating TED talk, Katz argues and persuades his audience that domestic abuse & sexual violence are seen as mainly women’s issues. He highlights how we often focus on women, who are most often the victims, and argues that we should focus on the men, who are most often perpetrators. Katz goes on to explore why we don’t analyse perpetrators as closely as we do victims and sheds light on how social constructs have enabled this to happen.

Katz calls on men to challenge the culture of degrading, abusive language and behaviour when they see this happening, causing men who act in sexist and harassing ways to lose peer status because of their behaviour and views. This Katz calls the “bystander approach”.

Grab a cuppa and join us for our third evening of TED talks - an interesting and informative re-focus of the attention in relation to violence against women.

Day 4: Chiara Lisowski – Survivor of Domestic Abuse Speaks Up: I Left on a Tuesday

Day 4 of our TED talk week at CASWA features an incredibly empowering talk by a survivor of domestic abuse. It is a message of hope.

Chiara Lisowski gives an extremely powerful and honest account of her experiences of domestic abuse. She tells her journey towards realisation of what she was experiencing, which may ring true for a lot of survivours. Lisowski talks about leaving the abusive relationship and beginning her new life. Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for women - please watch the TED talk featured on day 1 of our TED talk week.

CASWA provides support to women if they are in a relationship or if they have left a relationship. If you need support, please do reach out.

Day 5: Soraya Chemaly – The Power of Women’s Anger

Day 5 of our TED Talk week focuses on anger, specifically women’s anger. This powerful, sometimes humorous yet honest talk looks at the reality and impact of gendering emotions. It asks, “what if we thought of developing emotional competence for boys and girls?”, noting that we continue to socialise children in “binary and oppositional ways” and discusses the very real and problematic consequences of doing so.

Soraya discusses how anger is socialised out of women and while this does not mean that women do not feel angry, what it does mean is that women are limited with regard to how they express and experience anger and the vast consequences that this has.

A TED talk with an at times humorous edge for a Friday evening with thought-provoking content. This one might make you think. Grab a cuppa, join us and feel free to feel angry!!!

Day 6: Tony Porter – A Call to Men

Day 6 of our TED talk week features Tony Porter and his call to men. Tony Porter is the founder of A Call to Men (The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women).

In this TED talk he shares a powerful message about manhood and the role of men, as a group, in preventing domestic abuse. Telling meaningful stories from his own life, he highlights how the message “act like a man” is a mentality drummed into so many men and boys. Porter goes on to say that this message can be twisted and lead men to believe that to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other is how to “act like a man”.

His solution? Break free of the “man box” and “don’t act like a man”. Some of the "rules" Porter discusses as the foundations for the “Man Box”


• Men are stronger than women.

• Men are tough and don’t experience pain.

• Men don’t cry.

• Men shouldn’t “act like girls.”

Porter challenges men to think more deeply about themselves and about their own anger, insecurity, jealousy, and vulnerability, which too often leads to a need to exert power and control over others (namely women and girls).

Porter hopes, as we do, that one day through education and awareness we will be able to shift these unhealthy social norms and promote a more healthy and respectful definition of manhood.

Day 7: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should all be Feminists

Our final TED talk this week is an important one to us, it is about feminism and why we should all be feminists. Conversations about feminism and gender equality are not easy (believe us: we know this from experience!), but they are so important and we commit to keep having these conversations.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shines a humorous, tongue in cheek lens on gender and feminism. She takes us on a journey, with anecdotes from her life, about the lessons and rules we are taught about gender, explores what it means to be a feminist and puts forward a powerful argument of why we should all be feminists.

This TED talk is abundant with powerful, quotable lines. We want to have these conversations, we want to shed light on feminism and gender as we, as Chimamanda puts it, “dream about and plan for a different world…a fairer world…a world of happier men and women who are truer to themselves…and this is how to start: we must raise our sons and daughters differently”.