Who Will Hear My Cry
Life coach and founder of Who Will Hear My Cry traces the origins of her desire to be a voice for women and children and to raise awareness of rape, child abuse, and domestic violence.
It’s so funny how we have all these dreams when we’re little to be this or that and end up doing something we never imagined, yet always knew we’d do. I know it sounds like a complete contradiction in terms, but I was always the one to stand up and shout about injustice or square up to bullies, rarely counting the cost of speaking out or considering the dangers at the time. It was never about what was comfortable, but rather what was right and what I’d like someone to do for me.
When I was about three, I wanted to be a singer as well as a stand-up comedian, and impersonator. For many years, I pursued a career in singing and had the pleasure of performing with the likes of Donnie McKlurkin and Joe – one was a well-known Gospel artist and the other was an R&B Grammy nominee. The other part of the dream – to make people laugh – was never really pursued, but I settled for making people smile instead, and giving people hope whenever I could. It was in 2015 that I realised that all these things that I carried within me would find their rightful place in due course.
I had been running a health, fitness and lifestyle group called The Fit Chics Club and decided I wanted to reach out to more women. It wasn’t unusual for me to get messages on Facebook from women sharing their stories about being victims of abuse, and it resulting in a poor relationship with food. I would offer support and encouragement to allow them to see the correlation between their untreated trauma and their eating habits, helping them on their journey to recovery.
As more and more women shared their stories, I decided that it would be more effective all round if I were able to put up videos addressing these issues to reach a wider audience; little did I know that that decision would change my life forever. At this time, a case broke in Ghana (where I’m from originally) about a well-known media personality and a 19-year-old girl he had been accused of raping. It wasn’t the story that shocked me per se, but the condemnation and utter contempt that was shown towards this young girl, because she had been a victim of rape in a hotel room.
I was astounded by the abuse, the judgement, the total inability of even the women in that community to consider that this girl may have been telling the truth. I felt I had to say something, so I decided to do my first YouTube video, ‘Rape: To be or not to be? That is the question’, because to me, it was. I wanted people to think. I wanted people to understand what rape was and what it wasn’t. I wanted people to understand that location could not determine the guilt or innocence of a man, neither should location be the sole determinant of whether a woman or girl could be classed as a victim of rape.
For the first time, I heard the silence. People stopped to think and question what they had never given much thought to before. Women who had found their younger selves violated because they made the ‘mistake’ to trust a predator, were being a little kinder to themselves and choosing to forgive themselves for something that was never their fault. I was moved by how long many of these women had kept silent. That video opened the floodgates of women who had suffered the same fate as this young girl. So I asked myself, ‘What next? I can’t just stop now that all these women are coming to me to be heard. Who is going to hear their cry?’
It was at that point I knew that I had to help be a voice for women and children. The charity Who Will Hear My Cry was created to help raise awareness of rape, child abuse, and domestic violence in the United Kingdom and in Ghana. It’s been incredibly rewarding, draining, frustrating, and fulfilling. I never knew that it would take me this long to find out why I’m here; it is nothing but a blessing to serve. If we see ourselves as servants and not masters, what an amazing gift we can pass on to one another like a baton, encouraging and cheering each other to keep going, making anything possible.
Dilys Sillah is an Emotional Independence Life Coach, TEDx speaker and founder of the charity, Who Will Hear My Cry (WWHMC). She is also the author of the book Predator Or Prince – How To Find The Man Of Your Dreams, Not Your Nightmares, a book specially written to help women avoid harmful relationships by spotting red flags in men who may be sexually, emotionally, physically or even financially abusive. Dilys is passionate about working with people to help unlock mental and emotional blockages that hinder wholeness, confidence, and emotional independence.