I've always been a person that when a situation occurs that I tend to stand back a bit for a moment and think.  Firstly I try to put myself in the shoes of all involved before making a decision on my feelings. I have all the facts at hand too. I also take into consideration what my dad taught me. " there is always 3 sides to any story, yours, there's and the truth" I believe that using this gives you a clear view of what is going on, even if its not what I want to believe at the time. I only wish that some others would use this approach too. Or at least, a bit of EMPATHY. So this is where the campaign really came from. Empathy. I could personally feel the pain from every story I was told, read, saw of yet another person being a verbally abused for using accessible facilities that are there for them to use! Secondly I felt the strong need that an education campaign to get the word out that not every disabled person is in a wheel chair and that not all disabled facilities are for only wheel chair users. Now, I'm still supporting our friends in wheel chairs before anyone thinks I'm not but I have to get the word out about the unseen disabilities. The painful, agonising, crushing ones that people fight through every day and have to "fake well" to even attempt to get out the house. If only people knew the huge efforts required to just make that big step. Leaving the house. Never mind going to a shopping centre, full of busy people, looking at you, judging you. "but you look fine". "there's nothing wrong with you" " your too young to be that ill" Ahh we are so familiar with these statements. If only our bodies knew these too and took them on board, when we try to walk, sit or stand. The effort required to walk just a few steps into a restaurant to a table some days feels like, to a normal person a marathon. Then to be faced with abuse for using a disabled loo. Ah again, "but your not disabled, you can walk"! If only they knew that if you used the regular loo, you might get stuck and be there for a long time before you get  help, never mind the other issues. So, it occurs to me our disability signage is dated and needs to be changed, and an educational advertising campaign run along side to get the message out for all of those who are struggling and are now scared to leave the house after this abuse. Keep in mind the ones I quote are really nothing. The real stuff would break your heart. Where did our Empathy go, or is the problem that people think they are standing up for "the real disabled folk" not knowing what they are doing. So we go round in circles. Let hope this campaign can make change, not for one group or another but for all off us.


Is this the end of empathy? Or can we make change for the better?

Bev Burns