silencing

Racist Twitter and Silencing

“It’s not about you Sam, stop being such a princess. Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and think about someone else for a change? Well, if you really were a feminist you’d be thinking about the greater good not just your own problems all the freakin’ time..”

I’d like to be the magnanimous diplomat you’d all prefer me to be. I would like to focus my energies on changing policy, make changes from the top down but that was never going to happen was it? Not with my turbulent past and the colour of my skin. Sorry, what? You’ve seen Europeans with darker skin than me? You think I have light skin privilege? Where have you been my whole life?! I WISH you’d been around when I got called a Paki recently, if only you’d been there to set them straight.  You could have shadowed me at school and that job where the platinum blonde admin assistant serenaded me with “there’s a brown girl in the room” whenever I walked in. You could have corrected her “it’s beige, blonde admin girl” but you weren’t there so you know.

I joined Twitter for social justice. In the beginning I was so afraid of racism; I would actually mute monitoring accounts when they were RT’d into my timeline. It was too much, too close to the bone. I started tweeting about feminism and was a little shocked at the level of abuse I encountered but I had the support of my feminist sisters, acting as shock absorbers, sharing the load.

One day however, perhaps because I was beginning to challenge the inconsistencies within our movement, feminism turned its back on me. I was abandoned. Why? Well, racism, of course. Prominent white feminists like Caroline Criado Perez excused their friends for using problematic language and denied that it had anything to do with race. Of course we know now that we were right but those feminists are now outside of our reach. They have the support of the newspapers, the authorities and politicians. People like Helen Lewis set the standard for the sort of abuse I would be subjected to; all white men with the odd white woman (white feminists generally have white men do their dirty work for them) and token black person for ‘balance’. She lied about me and white people everywhere (including those gullible skeptics) believed her because she is white, nothing more or less. You don’t have to call me a Paki in order to be racist, you can just use your power to silence me and leave me open to attack which you did, Helen. I’m not holding out for an apology anymore, this enmity runs far too deep for me now.

Then you have the politicians accustomed to bending the truth for personal gain. Perhaps Louise Mensch had the best of intentions.. No, scratch that, that sentence doesn’t even make sense. Employing the fullstop at the start of her tweet she channelled increasingly more abusive racists to my online spaces and yet has not, even once, responded personally to a single tweet from me. Her intentions were not to understand or defend or debate but to flame the white knights of Twitter into defending her honour which they did. Nobody batted an eyelid. None of the supposed comrades of mine on the mythical ‘Left’. No, in this instance a white woman takes priority over any seen to be doing socialist intentions on the part of the white middle classes.

I refused to be labelled in any way that allies me with any of these people anymore. I am not an anarchist, socialist, leftie, feminist. I cannot subscribe to an ideology that is untruthful in its very foundations; the trendsetters, the commentariat; the academics seem to have abandoned the kind of person socialism seeks to support. I am not white, I am working class, I am a woman with disabilities; mental and physical and yet I am completely on my own. Social support is not extended to attention seekers like me. I hasten to add I have been pleasantly surprised by the support extended to me by some white feminists. People I have preciously launched myself at who actually do understand what it means to prevent violence against women. I’d like to acknowledge that support and the women extending it; @planetcath and @drlangtrygirl

(I will never do this for the point scoring Cathy Brennan because she actively encourages traumatised people to self-harm and suicide – some women really are just complete bastards)

However, I am keen to point out where I have been deserted in this recent wave of abuse. I initially made a report to Twitter regarding an account that was clearly transphobic. I learnt from friends that they were already aware of the account and had tried unsuccessfully to have it suspended. When I approached Twitter about it, the account in question @TrixiiSabine used an argument between myself and my real life best friend to illustrate the point that “you can’t be friends with a Paki”. I think we’re in agreement that this is racially abusive. I think we all know that racist abuse is an arrestable offence. So what did Twitter do about it? Nothing. They still haven’t responded to me on any of this. Not even when I tweeted them to let them know I had been in contact with the police who were baffled as to why it had been ignored when it’s a clear breach of their terms and conditions and ILLEGAL.

I asked these questions before and I’m going there again. Is it because I am brown? If it’s not that, and maybe it’s because you think I am stupid, why so bothered by my opinions? All I’ve ever asked for is justice, so that we are all considered human and afforded the same basic respect regardless of fanbase or identity. I’ve asked for you to understand how your privileges have given you opportunities I would have been so much more grateful for, things y’all seem to take for granted. In doing this however, I left myself wide open to abuse.

I’ve had to deal with it all by myself and it’s just not on.

Sincerely,

 

Disgusted, of British Asian origin.

twitter-icon-1

Death Threats (and the rest)

I’ve been tweeting at Twitter for more than 24hrs to remove the account in the first screenshot with no success.

This account has been functioning for quite some time and it is our belief it was set up to harass and intimidate one of our friends.

When I became aware of them I asked Twitter to suspend the account for transphobia. The person behind the account tweeted those words about me, taking advantage of a disagreement between me and a real life friend.

24 hours I’ve been tweeting, as have many of my supporters and nothing from Twitter.

The other tweets, the death threats, those were aimed at me for telling a friend that she could report the death threats leveled at her, to the police and if they were taken seriously, as was the case for Caroline Criado Perez, then they were looking at jail time. So how did they respond? As if they knew it didn’t matter.

I was surprised to see the most recent perpetrators were swiftly suspended yet the account that called me a Paki yesterday shows as an ‘internal server error’. This leads me to believe Twitter has not deleted the account, but the user has suspended to lay low perhaps?

Well, I’m doing what I am always advising others not to do because there clearly is no alternative; I have reported these threats to kill to the police.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Update: Wishing bigots would just die is not the same as white men routinely threatening to rape/kill me Cathy. But nice of you to clarify your position.

 

definitelynotracist

358694_Britain-sexism-culture

White Britain, Now Will You Listen?

So the UN have released a report which has confirmed what I have been saying for years; that Britain has a pervasive culture of sexism and that it is more in your face than any other country, placing it ahead of countries normally vilified by our civilised Western leaders; places like Algeria, Azerbaijan and India (what say you now Sunny Hundal?) Of course I was excited to see that, even if they silence those like me, the truth outs eventually. However, I was not surprised in the least as to how this news was received by the ‘indigenous’ peoples of this land (only read the comments for inspiration).

Women as well as teh usual menz have responded with indignation. On a phone in to The Wright Stuff (I never watch this bilge, an acquaintance provided a fairly comprehensive takedown of the problematic discourse on this morning’s show), ‘Outraged’ of England proceeded to miss the point entirely of what she was being asked and instead confirmed what we already know.

“I don’t agree at all. I’m 26 and I’m a female electrician and the boys I work with love it! They treat me equally, I get the same pay, and on a Saturday night I wear fake eye lashes and heels and become a proper girl! I’m sorry but I agree that girls should be girls, I love being treated like a girl!”

You go girlfriend, tread that tightrope of what it means to be an acceptable woman in this country, by having it all and laughing at bantz even when they’re joking about your pubic hair or your period or your mood swings (or whether you eat).

“I love being treated like a girl!” I don’t. I want to be treated as the intelligent woman I am (I say this as someone who is frequently labelled stupid and deranged). I want the right to pick and choose my own partners without having my space invaded by entitled menz who feel I should be grateful for any attention they force on me. I don’t wanna giggle at your stupid ass bullying ‘jokes’. I don’t want to know why, in this allegedly progressive country the phrases “asking for it” or “she made me do it” are acceptable excuses for those poor browbeaten menz.

What does it mean to be a free woman on this little island? Freedom to wear whatever you choose? As we have discussed, the margins leave little room for error. Too many clothes and you have something to hide, be that your expression or cup size. Wear too little and “you’re asking for it” (well, if it is ‘on a plate’). I can’t believe anyone would be so pig ignorant to believe white men respect white women for having the right to present themselves as they see fit (as the media sees fit). Yeah, they routinely physically assault hijabi women, pulling their scarves away from their heads in a bid to liberate (victimise) those put upon brown girls. Yet white girls, from when they begin to physically mature are policed by one male relative or another who will assert “you’re not going out in that” with a look of disgust at this blossoming young slut. How many ‘Angry’ of Tunbridge Wells will rage-type a letter to the local gazette at the sight of a breastfeeding mother, their sensibilities shaken to the core at this harlotry (how intelligent are these people, exactly? What would they rather, that the baby starve? Oh, they should just stay at home and sit in the dark in case a nosy neighbour catches sight of their tempting breast?)

The definition of what it means to be a free woman in the Western world is an illusion. Except I suppose if you’re a white woman of the banknote variety. But even they can fall victim to male perpetrated (enabled by society) violence against woman. Would it surprise you to learn that 1 in 10 British women believe violence against women is acceptable (Women’s Aid statistics)? Imagine being that low in self-esteem and lacking in self-worth that you believe you may sometimes deserve male violence. Surely this is one of the symptoms of a diseased Britain? It is the way we condition victims of male perpetrated violence in this country to believe that they are in some way complicit in the abuse against them, that if they didn’t provoke something, then they absolutely have the power to change their menz if they give him the love of a good woman. This message we are drip fed about what it means to be worthy of love and non-violence, the goal posts are forever changing and get this, it’s not actually our job to rehabilitate entitled menz. It’s impossible to do in a society that is so steeped in male privilege, where everything can be blamed on victims (even when they cannot legally consent).

What if you’re made to focus on issues where othering is par the course? Britain is the top of the league when it comes to pointing the finger elsewhere. Yes, there have been successful campaigns tackling FGM and we have added our voices in the global condemnation of India’s rape culture but what did that achieve for us over here? Well, a whitewash of our own pervasive culture of sexism to be completely honest. A precedent has been set here where despite widespread reporting of the true nature of rape statistics (the number that go unchallenged, the incredibly rare ‘false reports’ which we believe to be the norm) it appears that the reverse is true when analysing the outcomes of various high profile acquittals. This travesty of justice has empowered the entitled to push for an increasingly perverse lowering of standards, where indecent assault can be reframed as ‘drunken overfamiliarity’, where supposed deterrents such as naming of potential abusers can be overturned if championed by the immensely privileged. Where we have to foot the legal bill of a Tory fatcat who, brazen in his newfound powers, wants to change the law so that it protect rapists. What a façade.

1.2 million British women suffered domestic abuse in the past year.. Still think we haven’t got a problem? 30% of these women have endured their living hell since the age of 16. So of course our government consisting mostly of rich white men would slash funding to women’s services by 50%. This is an entirely appropriate way of handling patriarchal terrorism right? Factor in the biggest pay gap in 20 years and you have a situation where there is no way out for victims, they are financially dependent on their abusers. Especially seeing as independent living has been eradicated for the under 35s; couples are entitled to housing support; singletons under this age have been abandoned. What happens when you leave victims without support? According to these police statistics we’re expecting the death toll to top 10,000 and that’s just the figures we have data for. What about the many more who will never report because the police are corrupt and actively encourage rape culture? The majority of victims do not report, we already know this. We’re to expect a plague of patriarchal terrorism that will result in the murder of vulnerable women and children but y’know, let’s just sit around and defend ourselves as being some kind of world leader in women’s rights.

To admit there is a problem would be a turning point. But why would ‘Great’ Britain admit that? You may well have told yourself my mission is self-serving and bitter and you may still think this now there are hard facts. If I see you though (and I’m probably somewhat biased with my experience of having a foot in both worlds – white and non-white) then how the hell do you think you appear to the rest of the world? If someone as academic, well-travelled, well read as a UN rapporteur can face criticism (and outright abuse – never read the comments) for sharing concerns that affect all of us, then am I really surprised I was treated in such a malicious and dishonest way myself?

Nah. I wouldn’t expect any less from these historic benders of the truth under the Order of The British Empire. It does however thrill me to witness the sinking of this shit.

Everyday Sexism for a WoC

Further reading:

Die Clarkson

Helen Lewis fanclub

Rape Rape

White feminism and its inappropriate use of the word girl to describe brown adult women

This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are the persistent trolls I have chosen to ignore because what they want is a reaction from me, even the slightest indication they’ve hurt me arouses them, chauvinists like Nazarat Hussain and Elevatorgate. Never mind the countless egg accounts that are deleted before I get the chance to gather evidence. This is my everyday sexism, where run ins with white feminists produce the nastiest catalysts to outright misogyny and malice from predominantly white men. What do projects like Everyday Sexism do for me people like me? Am I not a woman too? Oh, it’s not about me, but for the greater good. The greater good for them, the white pen pushers cashing in on their self serving campaigns.

I have been silent because I thought I’d give the “greater good” concept a go. Maybe a project like Everyday Sexism could help every other woman, if not me. However, it is failing to do even that.

I appealed to the project myself one day (a long time ago now), well, me and a bunch of other people. Despite numerous tweets from my Twitter account and from others pointing to my tweets as well, I was expected to believe the reason for not engaging me but RTing a white face with the same information was down to luck and not a decision affected by the colour of my skin (or my reputation). Apparently the founder of the project was bombarded with thousands of tweets everyday so it was impossible to extract me from the sea of faces yet somehow she saw the tweet where I called her on my suspicions that she was prejudiced in her practice. Of course I was wrong and she was deeply hurt, after all she suffers all this abuse for being so selfless in the fight against the patriarchy. Even though she publicly admits she has only identified as a feminist the last couple of years. I left it there really. Until just now.

Here, if you haven’t already read it, a nice analysis from a white woman (is she bitter too?) explaining why I was right to feel uneasy.

0 Nigel Evans

TW: Rape Culture the British Way

Another day, another rich white man acquitted of rape. I’ve developed a psychic ability for predicting the outcome of these trials, without listening to a shred of evidence I can say without hesitation, they are all not guilty (well, at least the ones without photographic evidence).

It doesn’t matter that there were SEVEN victims. Nigel Evans, Conservative MP was found not guilty on one count of rape, FIVE sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults.  The seven victims clearly colluded to dishonour the former deputy speaker, what other reason could there be for this miscarriage of justice? Perhaps it was all a big misunderstanding. For example you say “indecent assault” but of course it has been established that it was merely a case of “drunken overfamiliarity”. The victims clearly couldn’t take a joke or make allowances for the fact that Mr Evans was so inebriated he could not possibly be held accountable for his actions. Unless of course he was in fact female, then he’d have to avoid getting drunk in case someone stuck their hand down HER trousers. “What do you mean you don’t remember consenting to sex? Why get so drunk you can’t remember?” In this scenario being drunk means you are asking for it but hey ho, one rule for women.

I like how Evans, not guilty on all counts, found the presence of mind for a little humour in the courtroom. “Do you appreciate how absurd that sounds?” He enquired of the prosecution in reply to a question regarding his non-consensual touching of another person. Non-consensual touching is hardly absurd, it’s called indecent assault but somehow you’re either innocent of any wrongdoing or a “cross between Alan Clarke, Oscar Wilde and Benny Hill”. Did he mean to invoke an image of a rampant gay sex pest? What a massive leap but in a surreal twist, this endeared him to the occupants of the courtroom. Imagine that eh? He didn’t behave like an innocent man accused of such a heinous crime, casually, nonchalantly putting the QC back in his box, a ripple of laughter giving the accused the approval he desired, no, he was bold as you like. But let’s not split hairs on what it means to behave in a guilty or innocent way; that is how we treat victims remember?

Patriarchy is brazen enough to label your violations with words to suit their agendas. Take Richard Dawkins for example; his belief that victims of religious indoctrination suffer more than childhood victims of sexual assault where the violation can be described as ‘icky’ compared to the damnation one fears belonging to a religious order. I’m sure Dawkins is convinced this is the way innocent children feel when they are touched without knowledge of why they are being touched in a place no one else seems to bother with. Especially when they are told it’s their little secret and if they do disclose then someone close to them will die. Yes, this is a tactic used by child sex abusers to silence their young victims and having actually worked with some of them I can say ‘icky’ is not a word that has ever been used. But y’know, rich white men know all there is to know about what is and isn’t a violation against individuals who are asking to be controlled (and of course one victim will feel exactly like all the others, no..?).

They like to stick together, these not guilty men of considerable power. In a not-bizarre-at-all move, Evans nodded to the exoneration of a man not unlike himself, “As William Roache said on this very spot, there are no winners in these cases, so no celebration”. I think this is a bit disingenuous. I think this was another huge victory for the rape culture. Despite the information we have been bombarded with the last couple of years, on the back of campaigns such as Everyday Sexism and #Ididnotreport in which the information was made clear enough for even the most stubborn to understand, society is still giving us the loud and clear message that victims lie. There is no clarification of law for the public, that a not guilty verdict does not mean the incidents did not take place (because if this was the case then we’d be looking at a trial of the victims for perjury). No, instead there is this blind belief that being accused of rape is a “horrid experience to go through”. I’ll tell you what’s even more horrid; being touched without your explicit consent, living in a system where rich white men can behave in any way they see fit so long as they describe it in a way that presents them as the injured party. “I’ll accept that he’s tactile,” said Brian Binley MP (Evans’ flatmate), words that echo a similar sentiment to the supporters of that other definitely not guilty sleb David Lee Travis. Oh, that’s all it is, just some friendly touching that people should be grateful for.

What is it with the entitled class, that they can just get away with painting this picture of an innocent man who is just too goddamn nice for his own good? It’s rape culture if you’re wondering. The kind of culture that breeds the attitude where people accuse each other of rape to “settles scores”, and victims are “vindictive liars”.

Let’s say, hypothetically that one would be cautious to treat all allegations of rape with the highest level of suspicion, that victims routinely make false allegations cos they have been spurned or in some way jealous of the successes of the accused. What motivation would the CPS have for bringing forth a case? Given my extensive experience of working closely with the CPS in cases of rape and sexual violence, let me assure you that they do not take these decisions lightly and in fact only take cases where they are mostly sure of a conviction. This means actual evidence of harm, numerous witness reports, DNA. The CPS does not want their conviction rates affected by unreliable (traumatised) witnesses or incidents where the defence can successfully prove the victim was asking for it (drunk, asleep, in their underwear).

There is a precedent being set here. In the aftermath of the Savile enquiry (where members of the British public accused 1300 victims of “making it up”) and Stuart Hall was imprisoned for just 18 months for his crimes against 13 victims (which was obviously not as serious as Savile’s 1300 and therefore deserving of a much lesser sentence), subsequent alleged offenders have been able to successfully claim there is a “witch hunt” and with their adoring colleagues and fans have silenced the victims of these perpetrators. Well of course if they don’t even “regard themselves as victims” then is there a case at all? Not everyone feels comfortable with the victim label. It suggests you must behave in a certain way, that you will always be labelled in this way (so long as you tread the fine line of what it means to be violated). Some people prefer to think of themselves as survivors because of how it is empowering following an incident where they were powerless. Most of the time people do not even regard unwanted touching as an offence because of court cases like this where it is reinforced that some people are just misunderstood. Yet this is still being used as an argument to prove ill intentions against perpetrators of sexual abuse.

I cannot say for certain whether or not something happened if I was not witness to it myself. But I do know the rape culture inside out. I know victims and I believe all of them. Every case since Savile has been a lesson in rape culture 101. The same excuses are churned out and the savages of this great green land lap it up with the cruellest of intentions; to maintain the hierarchy of patriarchy and kyriarchy, where rich white men do whatever the hell they like whilst those with far less privilege have the rule book thrown at them, often with little proof.

We won’t end rape by pointing the finger at India, or Sudan or the Arab uprising, no, not at least until we accept the very sick notion of what it means to be entitled in this country and what it means to be the right sort of victim. Without this very basic first step, one that recognises autonomy of EVERY individual and enthusiastic consent as the only way of conducting sexual relations, we are the international leaders in the maintenance and evolution of power and control and coercion. Nothing has changed.

If you don’t believe a survivor of abuse because of some ‘instinct’ or ‘hunch’, remember these feelings are part of the rape culture we all live in, that tells you to doubt survivors, that tells you that abuse is rare, that people, especially women lie about abuse and that abusers are never people who you would know. If the abuser is someone you know, or someone who shares your politics, it’s more convenient for you to think they’re NOT an abuser. This is why it is really important to think about abuse politically. To find out how abusers operate. To educate yourself about how common and well hidden abuse is, and how survivors do not always act in the way you expect them to. Also, educate yourself about how rare it is for someone to lie about abuse. Look at how women who have come forward with accounts of abuse have been treated. Ask yourself if someone would put themselves through that without good cause. Ask yourself why you are so convinced that it is bound to be one of the incredibly rare cases of ‘false allegations’ when it involves your friend, a member of your party, the candidate you want to support in a election. Yes, any time someone tells you anything, they may be lying, or if not, they may lack the evidence to prove what they are saying in court.”

 

rape_statistics

housingbenhouse

My Housing Crisis

It’s a difficult place to live in, Britain. Despite the claims of the Daily Mail readership, social support is at an all-time low following disastrous Tory cuts to services for the most vulnerable. We should all know by now asylum seekers do not drive around in free cars paid by the national insurance contributions of job seeking working class white people. Social security barely provides a safety net for its own citizens so it’s a bit rich to assume the racist home office would allow such luxuries for forriners. Take me for example (why not, it’s my blog?).

The house I grew up in, my Hotel California (currently my haven), is being sold and divided between my dad and his siblings. It is being sold because my father would rather pocket his share of the sale than care about whether his kids (or any of the extended family being as it is my grandparent’s house) have anywhere to seek refuge. ANYWAY this means I am going to be homeless in the foreseeable future. It has been a long time coming, in fact I have been looking for somewhere to lay my roots for over a year but it is nigh on impossible for someone in my position.

I originally had plans to move back to London (I lived there before my breakdown). Whilst I was looking for a place to live, a good friend gave me a place to crash on a futon on their living room floor. This was great to begin with but my back injury would eventually get worse from not having an orthopaedic mattress (or even the space to install one). Also, when you have a mental illness it is advisable that you have a little space you can call your own, locking the door if needs must. As grateful as I was to have a warm dry space, it didn’t provide me with the stability I need to heal. With a budget of £500 to rent a room in a shared house (a very good friend raised the cash for a month’s rent and deposit), I assumed it was only a matter of time before something came up but it never did.

London landlords do not want tenants claiming housing benefit. Professional tenants do not want to share with people claiming benefits. One advert even stated that they were after someone who would be out during normal business hours (save on bills? Who knows?), not so coded language for no-layabouts-please-we’re-capitalists. For the few that would consider DSS, an additional fee was incurred for guarantors, references, additional admin costs (licking a stamp should not cost £100). It’s not like the rent was even affordable, you’d be lucky to find a box room for less than £550pcm. Confronting these facts was terrible for my mental health; I am a useless burden, why can’t I just sort myself out and make some money? Round and round the unmerry go round of feeling worthless, having it confirmed because of social exclusion, ending up back at square one terrified of going anywhere, speaking to anyone because I don’t make the grade.

I applied to a housing co-op who refused me on the grounds I was too mentally unwell. Also they couldn’t help me if I wasn’t willing to share with anyone regardless of gender. I admit I specified I did not want to share with men; considering my politics and mental health with regards to patriarchy, you could hardly blame me. In a last ditch attempt to show they were being helpful, they offered a property in Northolt (no local connection, beyond zone 4) sharing with a man. As if they hadn’t heard me at all. Defeated, I returned to Birmingham and reassessed my needs.

Initially I was excited to find you could rent a whole property for the price of a room in London. For less than £400pcm properties boast all mod cons AND tasteful refurbishment in areas you could liken to Shoreditch; young, wealthy, with a buzzing nightlife.  Imagine my frustration then when none of these would accept housing benefit. You know they have a hatred for benefit scroungers when they explicitly state in caps ‘DSS NOT WELCOME’, it reminds me of ‘no blacks, no Irish, no dogs’, that there are sections of society who turn their backs on you with their noses in the air; no one has any time or space for scum like me. I began a search for DSS friendly landlords and was shocked to find that whilst there was some provision in this area, the rent was much higher for housing that was just not up to standard. On average DSS friendly landlords claim about £100 more for significantly poorer conditions in scarier parts of town.

Having been priced out and pushed out from renting the kind of place I deserve (one that isn’t covered in mould, where the wallpaper isn’t torn off and the walls aren’t stained with poo or blood) in London and Birmingham, I don’t fancy my chances anywhere.

Let’s say by some miracle I do find my ideal home, where they’re happy for me to claim housing benefit; how can I then convince them that despite my being under the age of 35, I will scrimp and scrounge the shortfall between what they are charging and what the government thinks I am entitled to in the way of housing support. At age 31 I can only claim for the cost of a room in a shared house. All landlords (private and agency) providing DSS properties want you to pay the full amount of housing benefit (and they know this does not cover under 35s), there are no exceptions unless you are part of a couple in which case, you’re fine. What is this subtle re-enforcing of co-dependent relationships through various rewards?

What am I to do? I could approach the local homelessness unit but considering my experiences of them through my work, I would not want to put myself through that, I know I would not cope mentally. I attempted to contact an advisory service for victims of historical abuse, maybe they could signpost me elsewhere but I slammed the phone down on the telephonist in tears when she commented on all the forriners coming over here taking all our housing. She thought she was talking to a ‘Sam’ y’see.

I made a claim for Personal Independence Payments which I’m hoping will help with the cost of renting somewhere given the obstacles I face because of my disabilities. Maybe then I would not need to claim HB, the landlord need never know that I am a lowly benefit thief. But what happens if in this instance I’m not mental or disabled enough? Surely the fact that I am in the ESA support group would establish this fact. I wouldn’t dare assume.