Emily Writes, host of The Courage Club. (Photo: Supplied)
Emily Writes, host of The Courage Club. (Photo: Supplied)

SocietyNovember 7, 2023

The podcast nobody wants to listen to

Emily Writes, host of The Courage Club. (Photo: Supplied)
Emily Writes, host of The Courage Club. (Photo: Supplied)

Emily Writes is the host of The Courage Club, a podcast for brave chats about kids, disability and sexual safety. If it sounds daunting, it’s not – well, not really.

What’s this then?

The Courage Club is a podcast hosted by me, Emily Writes, where we discuss our kids, disability and sexual safety. It’s made in partnership with HELP Auckland and Rape Prevention Education. It’s not a topic that will get us on the top 10 most-streamed but if it helps to empower just one parent, and helps prevent just one instance of sexual harm against a child, it’s totally worth it.

Who is it for?

If you’re a parent of Deaf, disabled, medically fragile or neurodivergent children, this podcast is especially for you. But really, anybody who is parenting or caring for children will get something from Courage Club.

This sounds full on. I don’t think I wanna listen to such a grim podcast when I could just listen to that one about the couple who had a wedding where someone shit on the dance floor.

No parent wants to think about any harm coming to their child. We’re hardwired to want to shut down thoughts about anyone hurting our babies. Sexual harm as a topic is a particularly terrifying one to confront and personally, I felt really afraid to face it.

But I also know the stats around sexual harm in the disabled community. In Aotearoa, our disabled and neurodivergent tamariki are at increased risk of sexual harm. We wanted to try to create a space where we could begin the conversation.

Host Emily Writes with parent Lina Beech (Photo: Supplied)

I’m a survivor, I’m neurodivergent, and I have a neurodivergent child and a medically fragile child. So it was incredibly daunting to even think about starting this conversation. Did I want to reexamine how I survived? No. Did I want to think about what I, along with the support of my community and fellow parents, could do to make sure no other tamariki suffer sexual harm? Well yes. Absolutely.

So, The Courage Club is somewhere that we, as parents, can courageously talk about the hard stuff: keeping our medically fragile, disabled and neurodivergent children safe when it comes to preventing child sexual abuse. But I promise you that you will feel more empowered after listening to it. After our convos, I did.

Parents Angela Walter and Kiki van Newton. (Photo: Supplied)

What should I expect?

For the first four episodes, I sit down with three other parents of disabled children, and we chat about our own experiences navigating this stuff and some things we’ve learnt along the way. We cover lots of topics, from how to manage naming the awkward stuff, helping tamariki understand their body and their needs, navigating carers and visitors in and out of the home, and building the foundations for our kids’ positive sexual wellbeing and identity.

In the fifth episode, I chat to two knowledgeable advisors in this space who offer some helpful takeaways to add to the parents’ insights.

During recording, there were tears but also laughter. There was joy, jokes, heavy stuff, big truths and epiphanies. You’ll hear us trying to navigate this in our own ways, because every guest is in the same place you are. I mean I’m in the same place you are. But we all decided that no matter how hard it is, we’re doing it. We’re all taking that first step – together.

Where can I listen?

You can listen to The Courage Club on Spotify, Apple or YouTube. You can also find more resources and info at The Courage Club.

I hope you’ll join us and share the podcast with your friends and family. My greatest hope is that we all feel a little braver. We are all part of a club – The Courage Club – and I know that we can make a difference.

We understand that more often than we like, many people have an experience of trauma. If you need some free and confidential support, the team at HELP Auckland are available 24/7, 365 days a year. You can contact them on 0800 623 1700.

Keep going!