Is this a fair fight?

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By Melissa Histon, The Sista Code

When I first started my photography business, about 5 years ago, I was smacked in the face with fear – a lot of fear: fear that I would fail, fear that people would think I wasn’t good enough, fear that they were right, fear that I wouldn’t get clients, fear that people would think I had a big ego, and the list goes on and on.

Six years down the track, I have managed to overcome many of those fears, thank goodness, because life is so much better and fun when you say good-bye to all that negative chatter going on in your head.

The funny thing is, though, that I am not alone. I speak to many, many women who all share similar struggles to overcome fear and try something new; to stand up for what they believe in; to make a difference in the world.

That is why I get cranky when I actually see other women having a go, pursuing a dream or a goal but instead of getting ‘high-fived’, they cop nastiness, doubt and criticism. I get cranky because I know what it takes to push past all your own critical ‘head stuff’ and go for it.

I see a lot of women that have a dream: a dream for how they want their lives to be, a dream to pursue their passions and turn them into a business, a dream of making the world a better place.

I recently caught up with a friend of mine, Karen Howard, who is one of those brave women who is standing up and choosing to make a difference.

She has decided to nominate to represent her ‘home town’ in a coming government bi-election. If successful, she will be the state government representative for our city, Newcastle.


Karen Howard

Political preferences aside, it is no easy thing to put your hand up to represent your city: to have people critique you, debate you, judge you and decide whether they will vote for you or not. It takes a lot of guts to stand up and say, ‘I believe I can make a positive impact and improve the lives of people and businesses in the community.’

People comment, critique and complain about politicians all the time: everyone seems to have an opinion but rarely do those naysayers actually put their own hands up to make a difference and represent the community.

I am writing this because I am so saddened to see another Sista, doing her best, having a go, and being slammed by people hiding behind anonymous avatars and spreading nasty, untrue crap about her.

Because that is what has happened.

On 3rd September 2014, Karen announced that she would be nominating to run for the seat of Newcastle in the coming bi-election. She spent most of the next few days dealing with a barrage of lies that some people anonymously posted on social media about her.

The really devastating part of this story is that the nasty comments weren’t about her policies or political views: they were about Karen’s personal and family life.

Then someone innocently posted a photo of her car on Instagram taken at an odd angle and looked as though she had parked in a ‘No Standing’ zone. She wasn’t, Karen was parked in a legitimate parking space. That didn’t stop the online attacks and condemnation of her again on social media for something that she actually didn’t do!

I call ‘bullshit’… this is so NOT cool! 

Karen feels strongly that she can be of service and benefit to the city, to help it prosper and provide jobs and services for its citizens.

Regardless of her political beliefs, Karen is a woman, a Sista with feelings and good intentions. She also has a little boy and loving partner who have now been dragged into social media onslaughts.

Please let me say that this article in not meant to a political one. I wanted to write about this issue because I am outraged at how another Sista has been treated. Karen – a woman, a mum, a businesswoman and loving partner – has had the courage to put herself out there to try and do something for her community.

Unlike many political campaigns, past and present, that are run by hopeful candidates, Karen has consciously chosen NOT to dish the dirt on other candidates and political parties. She has chosen NOT to spread lies and rumours about them.

She is campaigning like an honourable woman, an honourable Sista, and THAT in itself speaks volumes about her character. She is ethical in her campaign and is a Sista that we can be proud of, regardless of whether you vote for her or not. 

Hold your head high Karen and be the voice you need to be. As a Sista, I applaud you.

I wanted to write about this issue because I was outraged by the behaviour of ‘faceless’ people who think it is appropriate to publically comment about other people’s lives. It is rude and it should not be tolerated. Remember the code between women – The Sista Code!


Melissa Histon

Photographer, philanthropist, adventurer, blogger, avid permitter and social changer, Melissa Histon is a woman on a mission to make a real difference to the lives of women globally. Melissa spent 10 years working in the corporate world before leaving to establish a successful photography business. After experiencing a number of life-altering events, Melissa created The Sista Code in May 2014 with a dream to see women empowered, happy and connected. Whether it's building a house for the homeless in Nepal, interviewing inspiring women from around the globe, or creating events and campaigns to support sistas escaping domestic violence, Melissa knows that true change can only happen when we all stand together and boost each other.


  1. Nicole

    October 23, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Well said, so glad more women are standing up for what they believe in. Unfortunately there are haters out there but don’t them discourage you. I find it’s usually because they are too afraid themselves to stand and make a difference! Best of luck to your friend Karen and I love your posts!

    • Melissa Histon

      The Sista Code

      October 23, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks so much Nicole – yep I believe that women have the power to change the world, to make it a much better place to live for all. We just need to uplift each other and share the love!

  2. Clare Monkley

    October 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Well said Melissa, Karen is an amazing and inspirational woman.
    It is a shame that “dirty politics” get in the way of truth. Let’s get behind Karen and support her all the way to the top.

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