Stop victim blaming!

 

So, I read this post today, and it really got my back up. It is about a Canadian Judge who asked a rape victim why she couldn’t just keep her knees together to avoid being raped. Not only is this disrespectful and upsetting in the extreme, but it is a prime example of a huge problem we have in today’s society. Our justice system is so geared up towards protecting the criminals, the victims are left hanging. It is disgusting. No wonder so many crimes go unreported, especially serious ones like rape, because people are too scared to come forward.

I once had a police officer tell me there was no point pursuing a prosecution because the lawyers would rip me apart due to my past, and he would very likely get away with it anyway. She suggested I save myself the pain. And before that, when I spoke up about the person that abused me as a child, for SEVEN YEARS starting when I was 6… the police spoke to him, gave him a caution and a few years on the sex offenders register… and just let him go. With ‘justice’ like that going on it is very easy to see why so few crimes are reported. It is also easy to see why vigilante behaviours start.

I understand that there are countless extremely dedicated and understanding police officers that do their best, but the justice system is stacked against them. Even the ones that are sent to prison get TV’s in their cells, 3 meals a day, access to a gym, plenty of social interaction with other inmates, a shop where they can buy anything from cigarettes to cards and sweets, clean clothes to wear etc etc. In my opinion, that is not a terrible life- in fact it is a far better life than many people are living. Sure, they might not get to see their friends and family much but aside from that they have got things easy!

Meanwhile, the victims have had their lives changed forever. For some of us, the trauma causes our minds to shatter and mental health problems like Depression, PTSD, BPD and anxiety disorders set in. And while the government are paying for TV’s for the inmates (and they get new ones if they get angry and smash the ones they have…), they are severely reducing vital funding for mental health services across the board. Leaving the victims of crime without much-needed help.

They face having their lives destroyed. And while all of that is going on, you have idiots like this judge. That poor lass, only 19 years old, was brave enough to report the crime, go through the whole prosecution service, relive the event over and over and over again, feeling the same fear and pain each time she has to go through it, then she went through cross-examination where her character was dragged through the mud… and after ALL that, she is asked, by the judge no less, why she didn’t simply close her legs. Wow… who knew rape could be eradicated all over the world if we simply close our legs?! Why didn’t these incredibly insightful men tell us this before?

This is a massive problem that needs to be addressed worldwide. YES, we can do things to help ourselves. Locking our front doors and securing our homes is a good idea. Not walking alone at night is a good idea. Not getting so drunk we make poor decisions we otherwise wouldn’t make is a good idea. But I don’t care if I was drunk, high, walking butt naked through a dark alley at 3 am on my own. NOBODY has the right to touch me without my consent. We need to be teaching our children to respect all other people from a very young age. We need to teach our children, by example, that stealing from other people is WRONG. That hitting anyone is WRONG. That trashing other people’s homes is WRONG. That hitting elderly ladies on the bus is WRONG. We need to show them that whatever language they speak is beautiful, and that they should use their words rather than their fists. The crazy thing is that all the parents too lazy to raise their children properly will be the one’s suffering when they are old and frail and their disrespectful children do nothing but steal their pension and refuse to help them out.

Victim blaming is NEVER okay. Every person on this planet has the right to live without fear… and bringing up our children properly is the only way we can improve the world.

And yes, I know that dream is unrealistic. But wouldn’t it be nice? We can make our own contributions to making the world a better place, and you never know how much a kind word and a hug could help someone. Not that long ago, I offered to help an elderly lady with her shopping bags… and had to convince her I wasn’t trying to rob her in the process!!! How sad is that? That you can’t even trust an offer of help these days. She was so grateful she kept trying to push money in my hands afterwards, which of course I refused. We need to be the best we can be and encourage our children to do the same. Only then can we tackle the bigger issues.

Have you ever been subjected to or witnessed victim blaming? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to use the comment box below or write a comment on the blog itself.. Your email address will never be disclosed to anyone else.

 

Is victim blaming ever okay? Share your thoughts below!

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Stop wasting the time of the NHS!

I love the NHS. It is one of the finest institutions in the world, and it is so popular people come from all over the world to try to take advantage of it. Free at the point of use. Magic words! Unfortunately, we face losing our beloved institution. Unlike popular thinking, this is not just the fault of our government. It is OUR fault. It is astonishing how many people abuse the system.

A&E should NOT be the first port of call for every minor grievance. We complain of long queues in A&E, but that is because people go in with colds, mild headaches, splinters (that are easily removable), sore throats, bad period pains, because they are drunk, and with issues that have been going on for weeks.

A&E should be for EMERGENCIES only. You should only ever go to A&E if you feel your life is in danger or if you have had accidents that can’t be treated elsewhere, like broken bones. But even broken bones can be sorted in some walk-in clinics. It really should be for when you are at death’s door or fear you are becoming seriously ill.

There are many branches to the NHS, and some are underused. For mild conditions like athletes foot, thrush, the morning after pill etc. you can see any local pharmacist that is part of the minor ailments scheme. They are able to prescribe treatments for a number of illnesses (a list can be found on the NHS website). Your GP should be dealing with any ongoing issues, you shouldn’t just decide you have had enough of feeling under the weather and go to A&E.

However, the GP’s are overcrowded, again because people go in for silly reasons. If you have a cold, don’t spread your germs around, have some paracetamol and hot lemon then go to bed and rest it off. Doctors can’t give you antibiotics for a virus. Stop asking for it. They wont work, and in fact will do you more harm than good, because one day we will run out of antibiotics since their overuse has made bugs immune to them! That is why we have super bugs like MRSA. You don’t need to walk out of the office with a prescription every single time. Honest!

There is also your out of hours doctors for when symptoms worsen when your regular doctors is closed. They should be used before going to A&E if you don’t believe you are seriously ill and need to be admitted to hospital. They are there to help!

We also have 111. The new ‘NHS Direct’. This should be used when you have an urgent problem that doesn’t require a phone call to 999. They will help figure out where you need to be (out of hours doctors, A&E, in bed at home etc). They can provide advice to help make you more comfortable, and about how to treat at home if that is what’s best.

This is a decent website to look at and it covers more of what the NHS offers.

Not everything is simple, and I understand that. Sometimes a cold is pneumonia, a headache is a tumour and sore throats are throat cancer. Ultimately the choice of which service you pick is yours. Only you will know how bad you feel. I think many people who use A&E know whether they are there for the right or wrong reasons. We live in a world where people don’t expect to be unwell and when they are feel they should just get some tablets to feel better instantly. It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes we need to feel rough for a week or two while our bodies do their amazing thing and defeat the virus.

If people would only accept that, and accept we don’t have a cure for everything, perhaps there will be less stress on the NHS. We have the power to make the choices that are best for us. And the fact that it will benefit the NHS too is great!! When we pick the right service we are making sure we get the best possible care. If we all did it, it would reduce waiting times across the board and ensure we are getting the best possible care for our needs. Don’t forget, in A&E you often get trainee doctors that are trained in emergency medicine, not the more mundane ailments. You will find the service you receive is better when you pick the right place.

There are talks of making people pay to go to A&E to try to combat this problem. That goes against the very nature of the NHS but is a real possibility if we carry on abusing it. So I say now is the time to take action and think before you start that drive to the hospital.

Say you are having a heart attack, and you are waiting to be triaged. If the three people in front of you were all there for minor ailments that a pharmacist could have solved, would you be happy? Knowing that the damage from a heart attack gets greater the longer it is going on for? Or what if you were the patient going in with something minor and you find out the guy two people behind you in the queue just dropped dead and may have been saved if he hadn’t of had wait for you? These aren’t just theories. I was genuinely in a triage queue with a man having a heart attack… and the guy in front of us had a cold. Fortunately in this instance the man having the heart attack was fine. But it could have been worse.

To save our NHS, we need to change our behaviours before we start campaigning against the government.

Home grown heroes, our emergency services

emergency services

Here is something that gets on my tits. People moaning about our emergency/ front-line services. So I am going to break it down, because I am exceptionally cool like that.

NHS

Ah, the NHS. Possibly the greatest institution in the world. Famous world wide, celebrated in our Olympic Opening Ceremony, and so good people risk their lives illegally entering the country to receive treatment. So why do we moan about it? Perhaps you had to wait 12 weeks for a scan to see if you have PCOS. Sure, that is very important to you. But what if you thought you had cancer? Would you be happy knowing you couldn’t have your scan for 12 weeks because someone needed a scan to check for a non fatal disease? Prioritising is one of the hardest things the NHS does. It means that if you go to A&E because you have a paper cut, you don’t get to moan because the person vomiting blood gets seen before you. And if you have to sit there for 12 hours (I have been there) you don’t get to moan.

Do you know the best bit? You can go private. If you want less waiting times and ‘better’ consultants, pay for it like everyone else in the world. There are plenty of private hospitals around.

I have heard stories from friends across the pond, about being unable to go and see a doctor about a lump because they don’t have insurance or the funds to do so. We are so lucky we don’t have that. It is easy to moan when it’s there, but we would be lost without it.

Sure, there will be times when mistakes are made, things are not up to standard and you don’t get seen quickly. That happens in private hospitals too. And we also have to remember that there is a serious lack of staff. One solution is to increase taxes. But we would moan about that too. It isn’t because the staff are rubbish that you get left alone, it is because there are not enough hands. I have been in wards before when there have been times that one member of staff is managing and treating 12 patients on her own. Did you know there is one person managing the pharmacy at my hospital? ONE. That one pharmacist has to do  rounds every day delivering medication to the wards. One person. He takes all the orders, mixes the appropriate medicines, orders new ones in, fills prescriptions from the staff that have to go down to him to pick up medicines for patients that can’t wait until next rounds. For example, in my care the nurse had to go down and pick up both my drips herself and then administer them.

Personally,  I love the NHS!! And I have had my share of bad experiences. The truth is, if people used their GP rather than running up to A&E because of a nose bleed, if people did not brawl in the streets, or get so drunk they hurt themselves, then the NHS would be less stressed and we would get a better standard of care!

Police

Someone has broken into your home, and you are devastated. Naturally, you phone the police. 2 Hours later, you are sitting in the mess, unable to start clearing it up as you need the police to see it. You are upset, and you are getting angry that the police are taking so long to show up. You might even ring again to see when they will be coming. What you don’t know, is that a child has just gone missing, and all available units are working to locate the child.

Now flip it round again. Your 7 year old son is missing, he has been gone for 3 hours now, but the police have not shown up because they are looking round a house that had been broken into. They loose valuable time (the golden hour) taking statement from the burgled victims.

In an ideal world, police would turn up where they are needed within 10 minutes of a call being made. They would find the perpetrator before the day is out. They get locked up for a million years. But it just can’t work like that. Again, not without a significant raise in taxes. We have to take in good faith that the police genuinely are trying to get to you. They are just extremely busy. And again, there is a lot of red tape. The police have to jump through certain hoops to make an arrest. And even more to take it to court. It isn’t like the old days when police had more power and didn’t have to have ever footstep they make approved.

I am happy knowing the police will attend more serious incidents as quickly as they possibly can, rather than knowing they race to the rescue when someone walks past your house smoking a spliff.

Firemen

I hear less complaints about the fire service than anything else. But we should still take a minute to show appreciation. Because they will literally run into a burning building to rescue you. They regularly put their lives at risk just to keep us safe. They work in appalling conditions with extreme heat, unstable grounds, risk of things falling on their head and with appalling visibility. They are the good guys that will climb up a tree to rescue your cat. They will saw through a car so you can be removed from it safely. You have to love those men and women. And, they wear a sexy uniform just for us (don’t burst my bubble, they wear it just for me). Oh yes!

Coast Guard

Many miss the coast guard off their list of emergency services. Not everyone knows you can ask for them when dialling 999. These are more unsung heroes. These men and women will search for hours to try and find someone that went missing in the water. These are the ones that will come to the rescue if something goes wrong at sea, these are the ones that will tow you back if you run out of fuel. These are the ones that will warn you if anything bad is happening in the waters. They will go out no matter how bad the weather, no matter how big the waves, no matter how dangerous it is, to save you. Yay coast guards!

Conclusion

If we are injured, we can get treated. If we are in danger, we can get help. If we have suffered an attack, there are people there. If someone we love goes missing, there are people to look for them. If we get cancer, we will get treatment. If we are trapped in a burning building, we will be rescued. If there is a dangerous person on the street, we will be protected. If we break a bone, we will have a cast. If we fall down a cliff, we will be lifted back up. If we are injured in the middle of nowhere, a helicopter will take us to the hospital.

In all the situations when our worst fears happen, we have help. Sure, none of the services are perfect. Mistakes will be made, you wont always be happy with the service you received. But you are never alone. And you don’t need to think about whether or not you can afford an ambulance before you ask for one.

Now, I am British, and a love a good bloody moan more than anything on this planet, I find it brilliant for the soul, but perhaps there are better things to moan about than people trying their best. Drum and bass, for example. I could moan about that vile noise all day.