In 2010 of the Labour government made cuts to legal aid with deeper cuts by the coalition government in 2012. The deepest cuts coming after 2013 when LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was passed by Parliament. The cuts meant many people facing family, civil and criminal cases were defined limits imposed on their legal rights in aid. It would be fair to say those mostly affected were from poorer households. Cuts were accentuated in a time of austerity where the coalition government imposed huge cuts to disability entitlements, which saw thousands commit suicide. Into thousand 17 the Crown Prosecution Service declared they would be cracking down on social media hate speech.
Freedom of Expression guidelines broadly define hate speech as “forms of expression which incite violence, hatred or discrimination against other persons and groups, the tick Lily by reference to vet ethnicity, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation...” The guidelines make no reference at all to disability either mental or physical. The guidelines also acknowledge there is no universally accepted definition. This leaves interpretation open and vague, which could cause more problems than solve, as interpretation could be manipulated to fit an ideology or narrative. It would therefore not take into consideration other factors such as mental health.
As mentioned in M.L. Perlin’s book: The Hidden Prejudice Mental Disability on Trial, in chapter 12 Exposing the Prejudice, Perlin touches upon the law prioritising focus groups such as feminist jurisprudence, economics, critical legal studies and critical race studies, ensuring deep research, great funding and plenty of attention. These groups have been involved in criticising freedom of speech and demanding crackdowns on hate speech over the Internet. They argue that free speech can be offensive and runs the risk of causing psychological harm to otherwise healthy people.
However, what their arguments do not consider is whether the person causing offence is doing so intentionally. It is frequently assumed that offence is often done with intent. But what if the person who has caused offence does not understand this? What if a person who was caused offence is struggling with mental illness? Perhaps the person speaking undesirable fort suffers with depression, bipolar, personality disorder? Maybe they have suffered a traumatic crime at the hands of a person belonging to a marginalised group and are speaking publicly about that event. Speaking of such an experience will inevitably be offensive to some.
Perlin, who wrote this book in 2000 notes the extensive research provided to these various focus groups regarding law in comparison to mental illness which received its last research investigation in the 1980s. A two-decade timespan. Furthermore, research has been non-existent since the year 2000 and seems only to be done in America. Perlin discusses therapeutic jurisprudence and defines it as recognising rules, legal procedures and roles with consideration of those with mental health disabilities with anti-therapeutic jurisprudence providing a negative impact on that group. The CPS crackdown could be considered reflective of anti-therapeutic jurisprudence regarding mentally ill people using social media. It is not Perlin’s intention to create a therapeutic state but instead consider mental health with regards to legislation. This is not believed to be taking place.
It is also Perlin’s concerned that research will be limited to academic circles preventing necessary changes in the legal system or within the fast-evolving society. Despite the extensive literature over the decades regarding mental illness it has continued to be ignored by the judicial system. In Europe under article 14 of the European Convention on human rights individuals have protection against discrimination. However, the freedom of speech guidelines proves this to be wrong, displaying discrimination towards disabled. Perlin provided with research almost 2 decades ago identifying very little research in Western society is provided or considered regarding mental health and the legal system.
So why is this?
Perlin identifies sanism as a dominant psychological force which distorts rational decision-making, encourages pre-textuality and teleology, and prevents focusing on questions are meaningful to therapeutic jurisprudence enquiries. Sanist decisions operate in an anti-therapeutic world. Until this system sanist biases are confronted and social science data is intelligently weighed and assessed, mental health will lack consideration in this way. Perlin has also criticised sloppily drafted law as further evidence to the problem facing therapeutic jurisprudence, which highlights the lack of care and attention legislators devote to mental disability. Also identified is the age of legislation still used in action today as sometimes decades, even centuries old. Apathy towards and disinterest in precision and accuracy in terminology reflects the sanist ways that both legislators and judges subordinate mental disability law issues. So why does this matter?
Is history repeating itself?
Mark P. Mostert wrote “useless eaters: disability as genocidal marker in Nazi Germany” in 2002. Mostert’s chilling first sentence states, “the methods used for mass extermination in the Nazi death camps originated and were perfected in earlier used against people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.” Mostert observed the focus remaining on the extermination of Jews with little attention paid to precipitating events serving as a catalyst to the Holocaust. Societal and scientific perceptions of difference extended to state policy, which was intensified and codified with the rise of national socialism and Hitler's assumption of power in 1933. Notions of difference were first expressed in state sanctioned killings of children and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. Mostert examines the manipulation of key variables which allowed a highly sophisticated Western society manipulate via state law and policy to sanction and eventually murdered phase with disabilities.
The outbreak of World War I caused social and economic repercussions for Germany. With the need to ration food and provide care and medicine for those injured in the war effort, facilities became overcrowded with high-levels of neglect and deprivation on such ill funded institutes. Today, in a time of austerity the consequences are noticeable on our public services including our National Health Service and the prison services. The reallocation of resources saw a divide between those who were healthy and able to contribute and those who were not. That has been notable with the Conservative government review of disability entitlements in the UK in recent years, which sadly saw many suicides as a result to austerity cuts. In Germany it was seen that extensive and expensive care could not aid Germans economic recovery.
Therefore, inappropriate or undesirable behaviour by those who were disabled were often considered a threat to public decency and social order. Today, we have seen a remarkable compassion for most people of marginalised groups, but still notably reject compassion or empathy towards those with mental illness. This acknowledges that physical differences are frequently met with compassion in today’s public sphere, but hidden illness receives less empathy. Mostert states, inappropriate public behaviour by people with disabilities was often dealt with through legal action and the criminal justice system melding disability and criminality in the public mind. Even in today's society many people go undiagnosed with mental illness due to fear of stigmatisation. Furthermore, in today's society there is huge pressure on the public to conform with social ideologies and with this huge pressure anyone who does not conform is targeted and labelled negatively. Labels such as Nazi, Islamophobic, racist homophobic are often thrown out to shame and ridicule those who do not follow the social order. However, there is currently no label for those who lack empathy for those with disability or mental illness. Why is this?
It is rarely argued in today's society that those who are not conforming to social order might be emotionally incapable of empathising or intellectually ill-equipped to understand these new social orders. Why is this not a consideration? As someone who has suffered a traumatic experience by someone of a different race, I wish to speak publicly about this and warn others. In doing so I risk offending many other people and the law, in its discriminatory, sanist way does not cover me for the trauma which I have suffered and the offence which I might cause.
As discussed in a previous blog post, in his 2014 speech “What’s in a name? Privacy and anonymous speech on the internet.” Lord Neuberger reflects on history, observing the benefits of offensive speech actioned by a political critic who wrote under the pseudonym of Junius. It is important to question whether governments are ordering these crackdowns for their own narcissistic fears of being criticised, or whether it is sincerely concerned for marginalised groups. If it is for concern for these marginalised groups, why have they chosen to discriminate against one particular group? If governments fear history repeating itself, then why are they repeating history? John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism and came up with the harm principle. The basis of the harm principle was considered that as long as no one is harmed, the only justification for interference with other people's freedom would be to prevent harm to others. It is the marginalised groups who argue this and claim that freedom of speech can cause psychological harm.
But as it is raised in this post, it would be harmful to segregate those with mental illness and mental disability from others for fear that their freedom of speech may offend others with the possibility of causing psychological harm. As seen in history, to target and identify marginalised groups, such as those with mental disabilities would be far more harmful than the words they express. In today's society we see more discrimination against those with mental disabilities than any other marginalised group. What is distinctly disturbing, is that this marginalised group receives little protection under the law as it currently stands. This group is once again at the highest risk of being imprisoned for unintentionally offending others and therefore institutionalised.
Governments across the world tell us they are concerned that history is repeating itself. They are right to be concerned, for it is. But as has been seen in the past where governments have been responsible for the discrimination of the mentally ill, today's governments are repeating the exact same patterns. Governments claim to be concerned that history is repeating itself and yet they are ensuring that it does. It is up to us to question why.
the I wrote a blog post regarding Western pornography and its effects on African men, here. And here I would like to further the debate on Western pornography and discuss whether it should be considered freedom of expression, noting the limitations on freedom of expression including harm which may be caused. I would like to then consider the possible harm caused through pornography using the conservative argument, the feminist argument and compare it to the meaning of freedom of expression.
Speech should be context dependent a point illustrated by the judgement by the US Supreme Court in Schenck v Hodges , a case whether defendants were prosecuted for distributing pamphlets arguing against the drafting of soldiers to fight in World War I. “Whether the words used are used in such circumstances and of such nature to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent... If an actual obstruction of recruiting service were approved, liability for words that produced that effect might be enforced.” Proving that freedom of speech would be limited where a real danger or harm could be caused, the law will seek to limit it. But what accounts for freedom of expression?
Article 10 the European Convention of human rights states; everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Article 10 seeks to expand on speech by including the use of symbols, cartoons, plays, a particular type of dress et cetera in its use of freedom of expression. The first Amendment to the US Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a readdress of grievances. The ECHR expands its understanding of freedom of expression but limits it with responsibility and duty, where as the first amendment concentrate solely on speech with no acknowledgement of limits to that freedom.
It is therefore fair to say that pornography falls under freedom of expression under article 10 ECHR. However, Ronald Dworkin an American philosopher and jurist, questioned whether pornography should count as free speech, thus benefit from free-speech protections and whether it could cause harm to individuals of a wider society. In 1981, he wrote “the majority of people in both countries would prefer substantial censorship if not outright prohibition of ‘sexually explicit’ material with many of that majority themselves consumers of what ever pornography is on offer, who would strongly prefer that their children, not follow them in that taste.” However, since Dworkin made this statement the accessibility of pornography has progressed.
To define what pornography is, Justice Stewart a US judge famously said in 1964, “I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it”. The Oxford English dictionary defines pornography as “the explicit description or exhibition of sexual subjects or activity in literature, painting, films, et cetera in a manner intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic feelings.” However, feminist thinkers Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Macakinnon (1988) defined it as “the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women whether in pictures or words,” further explaining the representations dehumanising women as sexual objects or commodities, or as experiencing sexual pleasure in being raped. The problem with this definition however, is it excludes gay and child pornography and also assumes wrong morality with no evidence to prove this. Therefore igniting controversy surrounding the definition of pornography.
Should the law restrict pornography? With this question comes the moral, harm and feminist arguments. So we should explore the Conservative argument first. In 2012, West stated the main opposition to pornography from moral and religious conservatives, was due to its sexually explicit, obscene and morally corrupting content. He explained that according to conservatives, “pornography is deeply offensive to decent family and religious values and citizens who hold these values. Consumption is bad for society, undermining and is stabilising the moral fabric of decent and stable society. It encourages sexual promiscuity, deviant sexual practices that threaten traditional family and religious institutions. It corrupts the character of those who consume it preventing them from leading a good family life... The state is justified in using it is coerces power to uphold and enforce a community's moral convictions understood as ‘legal moralism’, to prevent citizens from harming themselves. Conservatives believe it is legitimate for the state to prohibit consenting adults from publishing and viewing pornography, even in private.” It will also be argued that not all conservatives feel this way about pornography or the prohibition of pornography.
With West’s argument in mind, it is necessary to explore the harmfulness of pornography. Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University created a survey of 20,000 young people of which 75% were men. It was observed young men, who played videogames to excess, excess being about five or more hours a day, and their average viewing time of pornography. That viewing time equated to around two hours per week, but Zimbardo, recorded the psychological change in mindset through excessive use of video games and pornography. He noted how rather than concentrating on work in class boys minds drifted to wishing they were playing computer games. And when in the presence of girls, boys would rather be watching pornography due to never getting rejected. Zimbardo, therefore claimed that this was leading and had already led to a crisis. He noted the change in brain function, the change to the reward centre in the brain and the evidence that it happens more in boys brains than girls brains. He claimed that boy’s brains were becoming digitally rewired.
It was argued that we currently see young men of today drink less than they once did, take less drugs than they once did, they are less violent than they once were, and in other words the picture is not as bleak as what Philip Zimbardo was claiming. Zimbardo argued the less violence is due to their not leaving their room. They are not drinking alcohol because they are drinking Coke and addicted to sugar. He argued young boys are becoming ‘fat arses’. With the increase in obesity, that also increases the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes a consequence of which is reduced libido. Kids are getting turned on by watching video but physiologically they are less aroused. It is called PIED, porn induced erectile dysfunction. The solution offered by Zimbardo, is for parents to become aware of a number of hours the child spends doing these things. He recommends using a time journal and listing how much time children spend with friends, spend exercising, spend reading and writing. The point which will become realised is that the parents will be alarmed when they do this and therefore set more stringent rules, such as don't do play videos until you finish your homework. Zimbardo, believes media especially American media is to blame providing negative images of men being slobs, or being undesirable. Here Zimbardo has provided mental and physical harm created by pornography.
And now we arrive at the feminist argument. As previously mentioned some feminist writers argue pornography should be censored due to the detrimental impact it can have on the women within society. One such author is Prof Rae Langton. Rae Langton uses the feminist definition of pornography explaining the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women portraying women as sexual objects, as things, or commodities, enjoying pain or humiliation or rape. She goes on to clarify she is concerned only with the type of pornography that does subordinate women and acknowledges not all pornography does that. Rae Langton believes the solution lies in certain material being justified in censorship but prefers an opt in system rather than an opt out system within obtaining pornography through the Internet if you really wanted it. Her concern is not so much that it turns men into rapists but that it dehumanises women and changes the views towards women within society.
As Zimbardo’s study acknowledges, men have become more fearful, not of women but of rejection and therefore avoid them out of preference to their own psychological needs. However, my concern raised in my previous blog post regarding the impact of Western porn on Third World men does reinstate the fear feminists raise with regards to men turning violent having watched pornography. The problem here in lies that those proven to act violently having watched pornography are those who we are deliberately inviting into our society. It would infringe on human rights for studies to take place on particular segments of society to reach a more clear perspective with regards to the effects of pornography on particular societal demographics. With these men now being invited into our Western culture but political correctness suppressing freedom of speech, to dispute this action or discussion the feminist concern with pornography has now become legitimate.
With Mills argument in mind, that is the state should only limit individual freedom if harm is caused to others and having considered all the arguments raised, I now handover this information to you for you to reflect upon and come to your own conclusions as to what should happen with regards to pornography and censorship.
Her eyes started swelling with redness all around. Tears were making their way to the edge of her eyes as our friend spoke loudly with no concern for the humiliation she might be causing our friend. “How often did you eat it? The dog food I mean.” I had been momentarily distracted from the conversation when I rejoined it only to feel somewhat confused by the discussion we were now having. Previous to this, my Romanian friend was insisting that she should teach us both how to make bread from scratch.
“It is important we learn to make bread from scratch. It is an absolute necessity. It was all we could afford and thank goodness we knew how to make it. It scares me that so few people know how to make bread from scratch these days. Anyway, come round mine and I will show you both how to do it.” My friends are Romanian, Hungarian and Polish. I actually have few friends who are British and the majority of my friends grew up in communist Europe. Yes they are white, but far from privileged. When I returned to the conversation, the shocking conversation, I could see deep humiliation growing in my friends face.
I felt terrible for two counts firstly that the despair on her face was so obvious and she was clearly embarrassed that I had learned about this significant point in her life, which she clearly wanted to keep discrete. And secondly that I was learning about something she was not ready for me to learn about. Indeed, I know all about keeping things secret and not wanting to reveal those secrets until feeling absolutely ready. Rightly or wrongly, I pretended to be distracted from the conversation pacing away from the two friends speaking and then returning every now and again. Unfortunately one of my friends has a very loud voice which makes discretion particularly hard for the two of us.
It was all too clear what my friends were discussing. They had both grown up in rural areas of their communist countries. They had obviously had discussions as to the problems they faced in these communist countries in particular with regard to food. They were children when their countries were run by communists, and they still have memories of the Russians or the Soviets driving vans to their farmland, taking their supplies and in return selling, yes that's right selling these families tins of dog food for their meals.
I had no idea. I had no idea this had taken place in European countries. This had been going on until the 1990s and yet we weren't learning about it in schools and we were not learning about it in the news. In fact we still don't learn about this side of recent communist Europe. In this bizarre conversation between my friends, which I was pretending not to be listening to, my louder friend stated, “we were lucky we didn't get sold tins of dog food. But bread was mainly what we ate. Oh, and rice.” She added with strange delight as she recalled her alternative food supply.
I have never raised the conversation with them since they had that discussion. I get the feeling that they will open up when they are ready. Or perhaps they would never be ready to discuss it with me, but that's okay. I understand that. I just want to say with regards to my friends who I love and care about deeply I am so sorry that your childhood was that way. I am so sorry for the way you were treated by others who were meant to care about you. I am so sorry that it clearly still effects you. I am so sorry how it affected your family and I am so sorry that this progressive society in which we now live belittles your horrifying childhood by claiming you are privileged because you are white.
Through various conversations I know that they had a very difficult relationships with their families due to the environment in which they were held. I am glad that they are out of that situation now and I am glad that they feel they have found at least some freedom. And in their efforts to flee from the environment in which they were held previous, they are aware of the impact it has had on the British people who can't get employed. It has had a very real impact on myself and my own self-employment. Not an easy discussion to approach between people who are trying to escape one life which other people who are sinking into. I just wanted to say I understand, I am here for you, I love you, and I am sorry.
The Rwanda genocide, otherwise known as the genocide against the Tutsi saw the Hutu majority government commit mass genocidal slaughter of the Tutsi in Rwanda, over a 100-day period in 1994. It is estimated 500,000 to 1 million Rwandans were killed resulting in 70% of the Tutsi population and 30% of the Pygmy Batwa population. The genocide was planned by members of the political elite occupying positions at top levels of national government. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, during the period of the genocide requested that militias be sent from the capital, Kigali, to her home region in southern Rwanda. She directed her son to organise these malicious ordering the massacre of the Tutsi population and ordering the militias (including her son) to rape women and young girls and force people to remove their clothes before boarding the lorries that would take them to their deaths (BBC News, 2011).
Pauline Nyiramasuhuko was convicted of genocide by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and sentenced to life imprisonment. Other genocidaires were convicted of genocide by the Rwandan courts. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko the Minister of family and women's affairs in the Rwandan government had previously been a social worker. She was found living in a Congolese refugee camp after the genocide in 1995. When questioned by the BBC she denied involvement in the killings. “I couldn't even kill a chicken. If there is a person who says that a woman, another, could have killed, I will tell you truly and I am ready to confront that person.” (BBC News, 2011). Interestingly she used her gender as a defence to explain why she, a female would not find it possible within herself to commit genocide on up to 1 million people and order rape against them. This is therefore worth remembering when considering other female political leaders who may use their gender or other so-called oppressed feature as a shield to encourage loyalty and promote a false sense of empathy to mankind.
Prosecutor v Akayesu
Akayesu was a landmark case in international law, the judgement marked the first time that rape was prosecuted at an international level as a crime against humanity and as a genocide. Jean-Paul Akayesu, a mayor of the Taba province in Rwanda was accused of encouraging, aiding and abetting criminal acts including sexual violence which amounted to genocide as well as to crimes against humanity.
14. On 2 September 1998, trial chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, composed of judges Laity Kama, Presiding, Lennart Aspergren and Navanethem Pillay, found Jean-Paul Akayesu guilty of nine of the 15 counts proffered against him, including genocide direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination, murder, torture, rape and other inhumane acts). Jean Paul Akayesu was found not guilty on the six remaining counts, including the count of complicity in genocide and the accounts relating to violations of article 3 common to the Geneva conventions and of additional protocol II thereto.
16. The trial chamber held that rape, which it defined as “a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive”, and sexual assault constitute act of genocide insofar as they were committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group, as such. It found that sexual assault formed an integral part of the process of destroying that of Tutsi ethnic group and that the rate was systematic and had been perpetrated against Tutsi women only, manifesting the specific intent required for those acts to constitute genocide.
The importance of this case is significant to myself, in that I was raped by a migrant in my own home. Not only this but there are estimated to be 1 million British women and children of white race who have fallen victim of the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs throughout Britain across 72 towns and cities. In this case rapes were encouraged through enabling due to the authorities’ refusal to act upon these crimes despite knowing about them. These crimes which had been taking place ‘at a systemic rate’ against predominantly white British females, and continue still today. Not only have these crimes taken place within UK, but various countries across Europe in various forms and the political elite, continue to enable ongoing rape of European women and children.
Media is actively suppressed by the political elite on such subjects so as not to report on the crimes taking place against white European natives by opposing cultures actively invited and encouraged to our continent by the political class. It was in 2010 that Angela Merkel admitted that “multiculturalism had utterly failed”. That was closely followed in 2011 by then Prime Minister, David Cameron also stating that multiculturalism had failed. Despite these public acknowledgements the European political class including Angela Merkel continue to encourage more migrants to our European shores fully aware of the harm caused against the native women and children.
I therefore bring your attention back to the fact that under international law and recognised by the United Nations UN, sexual assault constitutes acts of genocide destroying a targeted group. Our European leaders and British leaders are very aware of the genocide which is taking place against us recognised by the UN international law and rather than prevent it they have chosen not only to enable it but continue it by encouraging more possible perpetrators. I also bring to your attention to just because many of our leaders are women, we should never underestimate the wickedness those in power hold regardless of gender or race. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko who started in a care career is evidence of this.
It seems clear to me, considering past international cases and the mounting evidence the mass rapes of British girls and Europeans across our continent, it could be not only linguistically defined but also lawfully defined as genocide when considering the legal aspects of previous cases. Definition in that case including International law alongside the evidence, rather than just acknowledging the definition within a dictionary make this a very real statement. However, as previous international crimes such as illegal wars have concluded, it is unlikely we will get justice as victims. This is more evident in how few victims are speaking out about the atrocities against them. This is likely due to the suppressive effects of political correctness which enabled such genocide in the first place. It is likely due to fear that they will not receive the necessary support should they find the courage to speak out.
For these reasons and the current effectiveness of political correctness but also some radical remarks made by the far-right, I can only foresee the political class of our Western society who have by legal definitions at least, committed genocide against the European peoples will inevitably get away with these brutalities.
It is a really nice feeling to know that my tribunal is nearly out of the way. Taking your case to tribunal is emotionally exhausting and prevents you from moving forward. I have also learned that should I win the tribunal I still have to go through the process of fighting for how much compensation I should win, a further battle. It therefore feels as a victim of rape, as if from the moment you do get raped you are constantly persecuted by all and everyone around you. This includes the authorities and the government who are meant to be there to protect you. So the reality here, is that although I may win this part of the battle, there is still a further battle to be won.
For this reason, I see 2018 as being a slow year for progress for me. But this is something that I am prepared for and have acknowledged early on. And with that realisation that it will be a slow process this year I have set myself some targets, you might say baby step targets to help with a feeling of self achievement. It is safe to assume that having been through this whole situation, I am lacking somewhat in self-esteem, so baby steps are the ideal self-medication. I had hoped to find the confidence in myself to tell the rest of my family what had happened to me. I had hoped to find this confidence at the beginning of 2018, while my family were around me during the holidays. This was not to be, and I was not able to find the courage to tell them at this time. But it is only January. What I did manage to do, which I felt was quite an achievement was tell one family member that I have voted Brexit. It probably seems quite laughable that a person would be so worried as to tell family members they voted in such a way. However, it is also worth considering that some of my family currently live in other European countries. And that is where the problem lies in my vote.
Again it was only one person in my family, and they did not react. This is obviously a positive thing, but I do question if they think that I might have miss spoken. However, if you look at my bookshelves which this family member did it becomes all too clear what I likely did vote Brexit. Therefore, their lack of reaction is in my opinion a very good thing and quite encouraging for me to speak about the unspeakable- the rape. I guess it is quite reasonable to expect family to not get irrate with regards to other family members politics. But it likely depends on the devotion and loyalty of those you speak to not to mention other members need for your vote to benefit them (like my family living in Europe).
I am not sure that this is something I've ever mentioned, but I struggle with agoraphobia. I think I can safely say that my fear isn't so much leaving the house, but rather returning to it. My fear for returning home is due to the possibility of being followed and what might come of that. Obviously, I have bared the brunt of such a thing. It therefore currently in my mindset, seems far more logical option to remain at home and only leave when necessary. Thankfully I am self-employed, and with door-to-door services these days and the ability to do a lot of things online my work is quite achievable under such circumstances. However, as you can probably imagine, this is not an enjoyable life to live for myself or for my young son. For myself I would probably find it bearable and not aspire to fix this problem. However, for such a young child to be put in such a situation whereby their parent fears going outside with them, this is a problem. It is therefore a problem which needs fixing.
It was last year; my driving license was removed due to stress which caused seizures as a symptom. When I had learnt to drive, it completely changed my life and my sons life. I felt safely cocooned by this piece of protective machinery, safe in the knowledge no one would walk behind me and follow me home. The stress which caused my seizures, has been put down to the ongoing case with regards to the tribunal. So, I will be very happy when this tribunal does end, which will hopefully be this year. And it will hopefully be by the end of 2018, when I will be able to drive again and enjoy the freedom in my safe cocoon. But until then, it is my duty to my son and also my own health to ensure we both enjoy the world around us. We do go out occasionally, but I restrict my area, and it is not as frequently as is healthy. Of course, I take him to school and pick him up as well as pop to shops and local amenities. But these are within my restricted area and even still cause great anxiety on my part. But at least I am pushing myself. And pushing yourself is by all means the best remedy.
When I learned to drive, I was also dealing with great anxiety. I constantly feared that I may have a seizure while driving and possibly kill myself and the driving instructor. Yes, pretty extreme! But it is quite incredible when throughout your childhood and adult life you have experienced seizures every day, to suddenly experience none. In fact it is quite surreal and with it comes the questioning. So, to push myself into driving, I bought a Satnav which for me was relatively expensive and therefore came with an expectation to push myself in to having to use it and not waste it. It definitely had the desired effect, and although learning to drive with that kind of thinking in the back of my mind was hard, I still managed to achieve it. Bizarrely the fact that I had learned to drive is one of the key points being used against me in the tribunal. Well much of my health records is being used against me but that is a story for another time.
So now, I have bought myself a fancy camera which I intend to use with the expectation of using it outside of my home, and hopefully beyond my restricted area. The intention here is to encourage me to go to new places with my son and help take my mind off my anxieties while I learn a new skill. I don't know how effective this will be, but I'm not willing to let my son down. I had brain surgery to have that tumour removed on the basis that it would ensure my sons safety and bring him a better life. I was certainly able to live with the daily seizures and the life limits they brought with them. But if I have the ability to change someone else's life, someone I love dearly, for the better, then it is my job to ensure that positive change. Even if that change is made only by me changing myself.
On reflection that is quite a dramatic statement to make. But reflecting on it further it is obvious that this little boy has himself brought incredible positive change to my life. That, in my opinion needs rewarding and acknowledging. So, I hope to embrace the wonders which Britain has to offer and records that with my camera. One day all that history, represented in castles and architecture could be demolished. All those green rolling mountains, could be built upon. I don't think it's safe to assume anything these days. But I do need to ensure that my little boy gets to enjoy his country before it is destroyed any further.
When I received grief for speaking out about what has happened to me, there are moments when I wonder if that person who is calling me a racist is in fact a family member. I have not spoken to any of my family members about what is happening to me since I revealed the incident to one friends and didn’t feel I got the support I should have. So, knowing my family's political leanings and where they stand on immigration, refugees and migrants and knowing how infuriated they become by those who oppose it, I am sometimes left wondering if perhaps it is my family members who give me grief from behind a computer screen. Which then leads me to wonder, how would they feel if they found out that it was myself their own family member and a genuine rape attack, who they were verbally attacking? Is it therefore better to assume that someone who tells such a story about rape is being genuine? And if that person who alleges such a crime is clearly of a similar racial background to yourself and from the same continent or country as yourself is it not wise to try to be empathetic towards what they are alleging whether it fits your own political beliefs or not?
How would you feel if someone confided in you as a stranger searching for help something that contradicted your political beliefs? And on that basis you condemned them rightly or wrongly. With condemning them you ultimately shame, humiliate, and belittle the trauma which they may or may not have faced in reality. The fact of the matter is you may never know whether it was fact or fiction. But what if having handed out that type of abuse you learned sometime later not only that the person, the stranger on the Internet has not only been telling the truth but unbeknown to you and unbeknown of them you were actually related. Try to consider all of the times which you have kept significant secrets from your relatives and immediate family. Now consider why you kept such significant secrets from your relatives and immediate family. And finally now contemplate why a relative or immediate family member might keep something secret from you. It is usually those with strong belief systems we fear exposing to our own truths on the basis that we are unable to predict their response.
It is not unheard of that people are under the misconception that their belief system is a moderate one. This might be particularly so politically in those who are lacking in any religious beliefs. It may not. It is these groups who may consider that because they are open-minded from a religious perspective that they are open minded on the political front. So, consider whether you follow a political pattern and follow particular political beliefs or whether you are also politically open-minded. Do you scorn those with opposing political ideologies on the television or YouTube? Are you unwilling to listen to their thoughts and opinions? I suspect that in the same way I fear telling my left-leaning family that I was raped by a migrant man, I would also fear telling a white nationalist family member of rape by a white man or a Muslim family member about a rape, had it have been the case.
On this basis it could very much be considered the case that it is politics as well as religion which is divisive within our society as well as our families. Referendums such as the Scottish referendum and the UK referendum as well as the Catalonian referendum all show how divisive a yes, no question can be in such a politically passionate climate that we currently have. This political passion and climate has without a doubt been devised by multiculturalism, a feeling of being overprotective towards certain groups and minorities and a yearning to enforce that overprotective feeling onto others. In fact it could be regarded as a cultural and a societal passion as opposed to a political one, but simply dressed up as that. So if you have a deep passion for particular groups in society or specific religions or political movements then you might be someone who is unapproachable to others.
So how can we become indifferent not only to politics but to the experiment of multiculturalism and religion when we live all side-by-side? For myself I have lacked any interest in mainstream media, I have kept out of politics and I have distanced myself from religion in an effort to prevent any of those becoming my identity and surrounding myself with similar like-minded people. The difficulty which I have come across is when I am sharing something so personal such as the rape with somebody and speaking of his different racial background. His race is his identity. As is my racial identity. It is part of his description. He was a stranger to me. How else do I describe a stranger than to note their appearance. If that appearance is different to mine, does that observation of such difference make me racist? He spoke with broken English. Does that observation to describe him make me xenophobic? I’m sure a stranger would describe me as a Caucasian female with green eyes and brown hair. And that would not be offensive to me or anyone else.
It therefore becomes questionable whether in situations like this where many people have distanced themselves from politics, religion and societal confrontations in an effort to integrate into this new diverse world how unreasonable is it for a person of a certain race who is treated cruelly by a person of another race to speak of that cruelty? At the end of the day we could abandon all our possible belief systems, but our different skin colours will always indicate to us all our different identities. Not only that but it will always indicate similarities therefore if someone similar to yourself has experienced significant cruelty at the hands of another, rather than disbelieve and accuse it might be in your interest to be helpful and empathetic without criticism. This is by no means an easy task to take on. It could even be considered unachievable but let's try to be positive and make it our aim.
We live in a society where everyone is keen to judge. Labels are being flung left right and centre which inevitably means, everyone wants to label another. This means that we have stopped listening to each other and conversing with each other and I are now seemingly very passive-aggressive with each other. In our fast-moving world and society, it is far easier to listen to a couple of words, make a judgement and throw a label at a person than to listen and ask questions. The importance of questions in our society today, amongst a variety of cultures, races, religions and abilities will help us all clarify and understand each other as individuals. In today's society with the invention of social media and providing our thoughts within 140 characters, expression for the individual has become brief, reactive and misunderstood. With a thought passed in a minuscule 140 characters, it has helped enable the suffocating judgmental culture within the various cultures. Insults are thrown with no thought given as to why the insult should be thrown. Rarely when someone sees a comment they don't like, do they stop to ask why that comment was made. Why is that? Why are we so quick to insult, but so slow to ask questions and discover the reasoning behind comments we may take offence to?
Being quite new to social media myself, I found the use of twitter by some to be quite absurd. It had not occurred to me how challenging both mentally and emotionally social media would be. Now, we see governments wanting to intervene on the use of social media which could now be seen by many as a public social utility by many. We must question, is it fair to intervene like this? As an adult who is new to the use of such media I can see both sides of the coin regarding this question.
Most people who turn to social media are not adults but are instead youngsters. Of course, youngsters are likely already to be subject to far more bullying than your average adult. They will likely face bullying in school, socially and to face more bullying online, which could and indeed does tip some youngsters and teens over the edge. It is also well reported that children are groomed by adults through social media by paedophiles. It is well documented that it is frequently white paedophiles who work alone through the internet on social media grooming the children. Rotherham shows the other side of paedophilia and child sexual exploitation within gangs a different method used by a different ethnicity, Pakistani Muslim.
As a parent myself who hasn't taken much interest in the past with regards to social media, I am on a steep learning curve. Not only for myself, but my child who I want to be able to protect. However, protection and the use of legislation against true criminals such as paedophiles has become politicised. The politicisation of social media, presumably done in an attempt to direct children into a political understanding and acceptance, has eradicated the recognition for our governments to protect us but instead has made us sceptical of our governments and corporations. There is an obvious use of propaganda within social media, as children and teenagers switch off the television and consume this new media.
For this reason the scepticism shown by parents is understandable. The excuse used to control social media due to paedophilia and online grooming appeared to be predominantly aimed at people who shared comments which did not fit a political agenda. In fact it was frequently reported that this was how the laws were being used not just by the papers but by the corporations themselves. Indeed people risk being sent to jail on the basis that they offended someone. But is it easy to prevent offence with so few characters available? Isn’t it inevitable with so few characters? So, did we need laws, or did we need questions?
I have tested this theory myself. I first noticed the problem when I made a comment that I did not want more migrants coming over, in a social media comment. Quite abrupt comment to make but regardless it was how I felt and with the right to expression, I expressed my thoughts and feelings. Obviously, my abrupt comment regarding a newspaper article about migrants, upset some people as I had expected. What I had expected next were questions asking why I felt that way. Perhaps that expectation was too high because what I got instead was insults, accusations and judgemental labels. As these were thrown at me, not once did those people making these insults ask why I felt that way.
Further to my surprise, the insults did not stop after two or three minutes but continued for a week or more. Hundreds of comments were exchanged and an ever-growing string of insults. But no questions. Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobe, racist were words and insults I would receive in most comments. But no questions. No one inquired as to why I didn't want migrants coming to the country. So instead I had to tell them. I wonder how easy it is to say sorry when you have spent over a week insulting someone? Someone vulnerable who has experienced something quite traumatic? I wonder if it's easier to continue your argument on the basis of a person, the person you judged and insulted without understanding why, for the sake of saving face.
Of course, I am not a malicious person. I am not hateful. I am not a Nazi, or a racist perhaps somewhat Islamophobic and yes quite xenophobic too, but no malice is meant by that. It is simply what the name says it is, phobia, fear. And with ongoing terrorism, and ongoing Muslim grooming gangs and ongoing migrant rapes let's not pretend this fear is irrational. It is not. With our laws leaning towards greater protection for children of different races, religions and ethnicities then it is understandable that the British natives fear what protections they will receive. Yet again, biased and propagandist laws directing citizens in a certain politicised manner.
What I found when I tested this theory is that despite being insulted, I was able to question those who insulted me and in doing so we learned more about each other and came to accept why each of us felt the way that we did. In fact, some people when they put themselves in my shoes were able to understand my position on my feelings a little easier than they had when they had insulted me after presuming the worst of me. What this proved was that when people were faced with questions, their position and their outlook was also questioned not only in someone else's mind but in their own mind. Indeed they seemed to be unsure of their political ideology. Things weren't as black-and-white as they had thought.
So, to apply law and legislation to political thinking and comments is not only extreme but infringes on human rights. And yet governments and corporations want to apply such laws and infringement, why? Why not instead, teach people to talk, converse, debate and ask questions? Would this not be far more productive? Would this not mean unnecessary laws and legislation? Would this not expand the minds of those who use social media? Would this not help create an open and free society? Would it not be far cheaper on the taxpayer? And would it not keep the focus on real criminals such as paedophiles? Why? Why are they so scared to teach people to reply to comments with the question, why?
As a child, I remember growing up believing that asking questions was rude. This belief was implanted somewhere. Where, I cannot be sure. But I grew up with a strong belief asking someone questions about their beliefs and their feelings was rude and insulting. Of course, I am an adult now and it wasn't until recently that I understood why asking questions was actually so important. There are likely millions of people, including adults who truly believe that to ask questions of others who they do not understand and possibly judge, is rude and insulting.
Many people are not taught philosophy in school. They are not taught critical thinking, possibly ever. And certainly not on political issues. The vast majority of us tend to accept what we are told. We tend to follow the agenda and the propaganda barely questioning it. We tend to follow what our teachers say, they are after all rewarding us with grades. It is perhaps not ideal for one's future to grate on those with the power to make it a good one. With such compliance, this no doubt makes us easy to mould. All of which is likely intended. And that is why, I believe legislation and hypersensitive laws have been put in place over the idea of educating people to simply ask questions. So, it's time to wake up generation alpha. It is time to teach them critical thinking and philosophy at home. It is time we teach children ourselves.