I love Strictly Come Dancing. Seriously. I have the ringtone, my dog has a sequinned collar, Saturday nights are sacred. I. Love. Strictly.
What I love less is the rumoured “Strictly Curse”. The nonsensical theory that if you go on Strictly your relationship / marriage will die a grisly death. The absolute certainty that you will surely have an ill-fated relationship with your celebrity dance partner.
A Sequin-Covered Bubble
There is clearly provenance here. There have been many relationships forged through the hours of intense training that Strictly requires. And hey, I get that. It must be a very strange environment to exist in – like a sequin-covered bubble of glitter and sparkle and terror.
But the events of this week have surpassed anything I have ever seen in the 15 previous years of Strictly.
Now this post is not designed to go into great detail about what has happened. You’ll get it in a nutshell in case you aren’t aware (and you don’t need more than 30 seconds on Google to establish the detail, trust me), but the main focus of my point is on the fallout from it.
Here’s the nutshell
Katya Jones (Professional Dancer) and Seann Walsh (Celebrity) were caught on camera, enthusiastically kissing in an alleyway behind a pub. Katya is married to Neil Jones (also a professional on Strictly). Seann has a girlfriend of 5 years called Rebecca Humphries.
So there you have the catalyst. Both issued an apology on Twitter as soon as it hit the press. Katya publicly apologised to her husband within hers.
No judgement from me (in this post at least) on what they did, the rights and wrongs of it etc. Like I said, I am interested only in what followed.
A Time to be Strong
On Monday 8thOctober, Rebecca Humphries issued a statement, again via Twitter, in which she made it clear that her relationship with Seann was over.
But what struck the strongest chord with me – as a coach who is passionate about female empowerment – was the fact that she was so brave and forthright about how she believed she had been treated and what she felt she deserved.
To quote Rebecca herself:
“This whole business has served to remind me that I am a strong, capable person who is now free; and no victim. I have a voice and will use it by saying this to any woman out there who deep down feels worthless and trapped with a man they love:
Believe in yourself and your instincts. It’s more than lying. It’s controlling. Tell some very close friends who, if they are anything like my wonderful network, will swoop in and take care of the logistics and you.
It is important to recognise that in these situations those who hold power over you are insecure and fragile, and their need for control comes from a place of vulnerability.”
Dignity and Strength
Now as I said at the start, I love Strictly. But as I sit here and type this post, I have to tell you that I love Rebecca Humphries and everything that she stands for in that statement.
The dignity and strength that she has shown in the light of this situation is nothing short of inspirational.
I sincerely hope that her bravery and honesty, combined with the incredible popularity of Strictly will create a perfect storm. A storm where women (and men) who have an affinity with Rebecca’s situation will feel empowered to reach out for the help they need too.