Wednesday 26 June 2024

Q&A with Aimee Wilson, Founder of Shake My Hand, the Media Campaign for Survivors of Rape and Sexual Abuse

TW: Mention of rape and sexual abuse.

What is Shake My Hand?

Shake My Hand is a media campaign I have created with the goal and mission of increasing the number of Survivors of rape and sexual abuse who report their traumatic experiences. Currently, the statistics (courtesy of Rape Crisis England and Wales) show that sadly, five of six women who are raped don’t report it.

In a bid to achieve our goal, Shake My Hand will provide 1:1 peer support sessions with rape and sexual abuse Survivors. This would be with the hope that if a Survivor feels they have someone who truly understands how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, they’ll feel encouraged and reassured to a point where they might then be willing to report their experiences. We will also be offering to facilitate training packages, workshops, and awareness sessions on both rape and sexual abuse and mental health including suicide and self-harm, because we recognise that over 60% of all Survivors of rape and abuse have a mental health problem and over 10% attempt suicide (these statistics are also from Rape Crisis England and Wales).

Other work the Campaign will do is endorsing other organisations, charities, and signing and promoting petitions which are all relevant to our cause.

Where did the idea come from to create the campaign?

Well, I have personal experience of both rape and sexual abuse from when I was fifteen until sixteen and that obviously had a huge impact on my life and — more specifically — on my mental health. Having that experience, I’ve always wanted to do something in my life that helps others going through that same trauma, and I think I’ve tried to do that throughout my blogging career. However, a lot of my blog’s content has been centred around mental health more generally and with simple mentions of what I went through — occasionally, I have published pieces that have focused on advice around abuse; but they’ve been rare.

Then, as my blogging has led to me developing a huge interest and passion in the communications and marketing industry that has led to me gaining employment experience as well as qualifications in the field. Through doing that, for the last few months, I have wanted to do some sort of project that was more formal than a collaboration on my blog or a series of blog posts, but I struggled to find inspiration and actual ideas! Then, a girl I have followed on Twitter for a number of years was on TV discussing the fact that her abuser’s Lawyer treat her so poorly in the cross-examination when she took her abuser to court. It made me think about how many times a rape and/or sexual abuse survivor is asked why it took them “so long” to report their experiences and why everyone’s answer could very justifiably be “because we get treated like this when we do!” This frustration set off the distinct feeling that there must be something I could do about it and so — just like that — Shake My Hand was created!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of Shake My Hand so far?

Just, how much I’m enjoying the entire process of creating it and beginning to run it. So many people refer to me doing these things as “work” and I always say that yes, I suppose it is a bit of a job or a career, but I don’t feel like the things I actually do are “work” in terms of the fact I enjoy them so much. I think “work” has a negative connotation that you’re doing a task or assignment that you don’t really want to do but, for some reason, you’re compelled to do it anyway, and that can make you resentful and frustrated. These are things I definitely don’t experience — and haven’t experienced in creating Shake My Hand! I’ve loved the creative necessities to it too! It’s taken a lot of work on Canva and that’s a real favourite of mine for online creative tools, so I’ve really enjoyed using it so much and the amount I’ve done on it has meant I’ve actually learnt about a lot of functions on it that I haven’t needed to use until now, and I love learning new things!

Do you have a most memorable moment in the creation process?

Yes! Some people might deem it to be a bad element to find the most memorable, but I’ve found a lot of good in it too! So, I was creating — or trying to create! — the Facebook Cover Photo for the Campaign’s Facebook account (which you can visit here) on Canva. Now, if anyone is reading this and has never used Canva, on it, you can actually search for a “template” which is where you type in what you want to design, and Canva creates a blank (or you can choose from already-designed documents and edit them to your own criteria) piece for you that is of the correct sizing by width and height. (You can actually even — if the website doesn’t have a design of the size you require — create a custom size document.)

So, I had the exact correct size for a Facebook Cover Photo and yet when I would look at it once applied to the account, I found that it cropped the design and cut out a lot of details where I’d added the link for the website, the Campaign’s email address, and the taglines for its other social media accounts. I kept moving the text backwards and forwards and up and down and closer to the centre of the graphic so that there was no way it could be missed out! But then it started cropping the other side of the graphic! It took a good hour or so to realise it was because I was creating it on my laptop, but then looking at it on my phone! And I remembered that in creating my blog, you could alter the perspectives from which you were looking at it and that in doing that, it changed the appearance of the design. So, on realising this, I googled the size of a Facebook Cover Photo on an iPhone and used the “custom size” feature on Canva to create the graphic in that size because I believe that people are more likely to look at a website on their phone now rather than a computer or laptop so I’d rather it was the right size for the phone.

I’d had a Carer at my home the entire time this was going on and when I finally sussed it out; I said to her “have I been a drama queen saying this took forever?” And she was like; “no, you’ve been trying loads!” Then, I went to empty the Recycle Bin on my laptop and found I’d made FOURTEEN attempts! So yes, that was pretty memorable; but, like I said there was a good element to it too; and that was that I sussed it out in the end! I accomplished something and learnt something — which, to me, makes a really stressful situation really worthwhile, more memorable, and actually rewarding!

Have you faced any challenges in the creation process?

At first, I thought I’d take this question out because I thought “can anything beat that previous example?!” But then I thought of something else, and it’s not exactly one particular instance or action that was challenging: but more of a collection of them. So, a number of times, when I’ve spoken to people to tell them about the Campaign, I’ve always found myself talking about the fact that it’s definitely a lot more work than I had anticipated. There’s a lot more to it which I hadn’t thought of or considered. This doesn’t mean I regret the decision to create the Campaign, but I do wish I’d perhaps researched the idea more thoroughly first!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a Media Campaign?

Based on that previous answer, my advice for someone would be to research their idea — not just to ensure they’re fully aware of the potential workload; but also, to ensure that their idea is original too! Having an Instagram account for the Campaign, has meant I’ve actually seen a ton of accounts from charities, support groups, well-known individuals, and organisations that are in some sort of support or awareness-raising for individuals who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. So, I think I’ve been incredibly lucky to have stumbled across a seeming gap in the market with Shake My Hand.

How will you balance your personal life and your blogging career with Shake My Hand?

I have no clue! Haha! I think that a lot of it is just going to be a “learn-as-I-go” type of process in that I’ll develop balancing acts with my commitments depending upon experiences with them. I think it’ll also really depend upon my calendar and my day-to-day and weekly schedule. I mean, if I have a ton of meetings one week — I’m also doing a lot of work with HumanKind in their merger with my support service provider, Richmond Fellowship — then other things might have to pass by and receive less focus. Or, if I’ve got a lot of free time and only support sessions, I will be able to dedicate more time to Shake My Hand. At the minute, I don’t want it to overtake, or be prioritised over, working on my blog content; I really want to do all I can to maintain them equally. But, I think it’s going to be something I learn along the way.

How has technology and the digital world played a role in Shake My Hand?

I think the most influential aspects of technology or the digital world there has been on Shake My Hand, have been Canva and social media — particularly Instagram. I think that the two have really had a big impact on the popularity and success of the Campaign in its early days. Canva has impacted the reception the Campaign has received — particularly in partnership and endorsement emails where the Campaign Strategy (designed completely through Canva) has been attached. Then, Instagram has impacted the audience that are hearing about the Campaign first and becoming its first support.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and dreams for Shake My Hand?

I really hope that Shake My Hand becomes genuinely influential in the realm and industry that I want it to be relevant to. I hope that it helps at least one person and that it secures at least one endorsement from a well-known and personally meaningful organisation.


Further Reading

The Shake My Hand Campaign encourages survivors of rape and sexual abuse to report their experiences. For more information and to receive help and support:



Facebook: Shake My Hand Campaign

Twitter/X: @shakemyhanduk

Instagram: @shakemyhanduk


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