Is truth too much to ask ?

It’s beginning to feel in the world today that whatever you speak up about you will be criticised. A world where we are supposed to be more educated, more aware seems a lot more narrow minded than before. The live and let live attitude is lost under the intense noise of keyboard shouters and newsfeed want to be’s. Sectors of the media saying what it wants without fact checking, it seems asking forgiveness is better than permission.

I truly love that marginalised communities are being heard, not finding their voices, they have always had them but actually being heard. Yet the anger and hate directed towards them is hard to watch ( I’m privileged I know). 

I know it’s wishful thinking that the core of who we are is what will be celebrated, that our differences are special, but our hearts, our souls are ultimately the same, one source, one love.

Yet with this wide reaching social media the world seems louder and crueller. The hate that was hidden in shadows is now out in the light, radicalism is greater than ever. Telling people who they should be, what they should believe and how they should look is now classified as freedom of speech, our right. Do we really have a right to be cruel to be destructive, to harm others?  Morally and it should be legally not. We don’t have the right to destroy another, to mock, to insult, too troll.

From princes to not princesses the world has an opinion yet under the noise their are people. People that hurt, people that cry, people that die due to the words shared openly and cruelly. 

I follow the criteria of “don’t write what you would not say to someone’s face” it’s simple but it’s true. Would I impact another with my words if they stood there in front of me, would I mock their child, would I slander their reputation? Would I openly insult their lives, be racist, be sexist, be cruel if their eyes could see mine?

Let’s be honest I hope I wouldn’t do any of these things anyway but you get the point.

Social media and the news seem to be full of opinions but no facts. It’s crazy that our newspaper articles have not fact checking their sources. Is this true, did this happen, was this the reason? When I studied journalism at college I was told “do not speculate” I wonder if today’s course’s state “write the most explosive story ever and fact check it later”. The amount of lives I’ve seen ruined by guilty by public persecution and the media only for the criminal trial to prove innocent. 

Lives ruined by headlines often not true.

Yet why is this still allowed, why do we still read the headlines, why do we still click the links?

What worries me is those being lost in the noise, those whose voices that should be heard . Those making a difference in the lives of others, those in need of help. Lost in the noise of ego, hate and more ego.

How do you change the overflowing tirade of misinformation and false opinion? Should we close ourselves off from the internet, stop writing, stop reading? 

I don’t think so,  I just feel a two strand approach is needed. Firstly the law does need to change, anyone causing harm, being abusive online should follow the same rules as in real life. If something abused you in real life they would be prosecuted so being behind a keyboard does not make you less destroying. 

Secondly I think as a society we need to be holding our media to account. Headlines should be truth not fiction, the law should be holding those in power accountable. I want to read my news and read an unbiased evidenced based truth not speculation.

I just really want change, social media especially has become such a big part of peoples lives, yet if we are going to allow the words of others to impact our perceptions please let those words be truth. 

Is this too much to ask? 

Would It change what I believe? 

As I placed my lottery this weekend I was wondering about what I would do if I won the jackpot. A dream i’m sure we all have had at one time or another. I was wondering if being a millionaire would change my political view point. 

It’s easy I guess to say tax the wealthy when you are poor. Would my view be the same if I was one of the elite?

I didn’t have to think about it that long because I truly think my answer would be no.

I don’t think my viewpoint would change.

You see no amount of money can replace my compassion or my empathy.

But most of all money couldn’t replace my need to feel part of something.

You see we have all been sold the lie that being individualistic is the only way to live. To only think about oneself and our own wants and needs. But this only leads to one thing loneliness. 

The consumerism lie that things can make you happy has been pushed down our throats way to long.

Yet the truth is far from it. 

The newest model phone can be fun, but will it hug you close as you fall asleep?

That gorgeous designer handbag will look good on your arm but will it laugh out loud at your stupid jokes or wipe away your tears when you are sad?

Community and relationships are the greatest of things and money cannot buy them. 

Having money won’t stop me loving on children who have no place to call home.

Stop me fighting for services and support for my friends who are either disabled or raising disabled children.

Having a full bank account will not stop me encouraging those who need support or guidance. 

I’m not going to lie and say winning the lottery wouldn’t be amazing. My adapted home on a farm depends on it. 

Yet whilst the money would make life easier it wouldn’t make me complete.

It’s my, family, friends and passions that do this. 

   

Autism awareness week – Speak Up

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This week is World Autism Awareness Week and we are Speaking Up and standing up for autism.

Its not just about raising funds for autism support it is about spreading the word and raising awareness.

Here are some facts and statistics about autism.

  • Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition. Without the right support, it can have a profound – sometimes devastating – effect on individuals and families
  • It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.
  • Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK with autism – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of 2.7 million people every day.
  • Autism doesn’t just affect children. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism.
  • Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone has it.
  • While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

 

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Raising two children who both have a diagnoses of autism has made me really realise how vast the spectrum is and its this degree of variation that leaves many struggling with little or no support.

There need to be more investment placed in early and true diagnoses and support given.

There also needs to be more support to those who care for children and adults with autism.

I can honestly say that why I love my children with all my heart at times autism has led me to some isolated places. Its hard watching your children struggle to understand, get frustrated or anxious. Its also hard when you are the receiver of their frustrations. Having the right support and guidance is invaluable.

So that is why this week I am Speaking Up to raise awareness of Autism.

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Please visit the The National Autistic Society and learn more about Autism

 

 

Don’t forget to join in with this weeks Speak Up and tell me what your are passionate about and let us support and encourage each other.

Speak Up – A stitch in time

For the last 14  years I have been working with professionals within the social care field where there is a majority opinion that funding given in early support services would make savings later on and make a more dramatic difference to children’s lives.

Investment in the health of pregnant women leads to healthy children.

Support for young, inexperienced mother’s lead towards more educated, healthy happy children.

Guidance and support in youth services leads to less in the juvenile correction system and so on.

Yet for so long services seem to be funded in a catch up manner, fighting the fires when the fire is at full blaze.

So this is why I am getting behind a campaign being run by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, and NSPCC called “A Stitch in time”

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We say it’s time for change.

Responsible government must invest in services and support that prevent problems before they start — to improve the lives of children and families and save money for taxpayers in the long run. That is why we are calling for all political parties to make a commitment to shift the emphasis of public services to early support.

We want the next Government to focus more on early support
 to help children, young people and their families.

1.

More stability into children and family
 services – five year spending plans

Making five year funding commitments — from one election to the next — would allow the Government, local councils, and other service providers to make longer-term plans. Most importantly, children could stick with the same support staff as they grow old.

2.

Help your local £ work – promote
 Community Budgets

Community Budgets allow providers of services to pool their budgets. This reduces waste and makes it easier to work together
 to help children. It’s a relatively new way of working, so the Government needs to support its development and promotion.

3.

Show us what’s
 happening – more accountability

With spending moved towards early support, we would like to see annual progress reports. Parliament should be involved in scrutiny through the Public Accounts Committee.

4.

Acting early to avoid crisis – shift public money towards early intervention

There is so much evidence that acting early avoids expensive crises that it only
makes sense to invest a bigger slice of our public money.

 

Our support services are struggling and many are reaching breaking point, people are not getting enough support,  getting support to late or simply getting none.

Investment is needed in early support and intervention and it is needed now.

A stitch in time is asking you to Take action Now. 

Visit the website and help protect children from crisis.

 

 

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Together we can raise our voices louder.

So join me each week writing about what has touched you enough to speak out about.

Share news, campaigns, petitions and so much more.

As a community we can support and encourage one another.

After you have linked up visit at least one other blog of those who have linked up.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. “

Haile Selassie

Lets do this ……..

 

 

Speak Up on FGM.

Writing this blog and others for the last 8 years has granted me many opportunities.

I have been lucky to experience some wonderful moments and make some fantastic friends.

Still one thing I am really grateful for in this online space is the freedom to use my voice, to share my passions, my beliefs and my heart.

Yet having such freedom should never be underestimated or undervalued when still in many places in this world many do not have this opportunity or freedom.

So with this in mind I am creating a new weekly linky called “Speak up” I want us all to come together and use our voices to speak out about things we are passionate about, those we wish to change and those we wish to support.

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Together we can raise our voices louder.

So join me each week writing about what has touched you enough to speak out about.

Share news, campaigns, petitions and so much more.

As a community we can support and encourage one another.

After you have linked up visit at least one other blog of those who have linked up.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. “

Haile Selassie

Lets do this ……..

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This week I am Speaking Up about FGM or in its full Female Genital Mutilation.

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

FGM is when parts or all of the external female genitalia are removed or injured for no medical reason.

It is also sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. There are no health benefits to FGM and it is recognised internationally as a human rights violation.

Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types:

Type 1 – Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

Type 2 – Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

Type 3 – Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

Type 4 – Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area.

 

Its hard to get your head around isn’t it.

 

Honestly I read this and still cannot accept or understand why this is still happening.

I was actually talking to a friend a week or so ago and somehow we got onto the subject of what injustices we struggle with in this world today. When I mentioned FGM she asked in which countries that this still happened now. She was shocked when I replied here in the UK.

My friend like many others were under the belief that this abuse had been outlawed here in the UK. The fact that FGM has been illegal here since 1984 would allow you to believe this.

But you would be wrong.

A  local Birmingham hospital has dealt with 1,500 cases of FGM in last five years.

This means that six victims have been treated each week.

The fact that this is illegal seems to have no effect on the amount of mutilations occurring.  In 2014 regardless of the rise in hospital cases and reports given to the police there was not one single conviction in the UK.

This is appalling, even the fact that since 2003 anyone taking a child out of the Uk for the barbaric practice could face up to 14 years in prison has not slowed down the rate.

In fact The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it

•illegal to practice FGM in the UK

•illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia

•illegal to take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for  FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;

•Illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad;

An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.

Yet still no convictions.

Girls as young as five are being subjected to this heinous act.

Let me share with you some more figures.

60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK

137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK

Over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM

FGM is practiced in more than 29 countries across Africa, parts of the Middle East, South East Asia and countries where migrants from FGM affected communities live.

This needs to stop.

So that is why I am Speaking Up this week against FGM in hope to raise public attention to the fact that this is still happening right now in 2015.

Speaking up to support organisations like Forward UK who are working hard in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected.

Speak up against FGM with me.

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Join in with my new weekly link up and Speak Up for something that moves you and don’t forget to go visit the other linked up. blogs

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Audre Lorde

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Words of truth

Have you ever played back a video recording of yourself and been shocked at the sound of your voice.

That can’t be me you say. It your mind you sound so different.

How is it that whats in our mind isn’t always what comes out of our mouths.

Sometimes in my mind I’m a confident women who knows exactly what I want to say. Then the words tumble out like some crazy nervous ramblings.

That’s why I love the art of writing. The chaotic thoughts of my mind becomes words on the page. They can be corrected, erased, altered to the place where I want them to be. My words are my voice.

I was watching a film the other day where the actor was playing the part of a lady who had lost her voice. She was communicating using her notepad. Writing the things she needed to say. No space for general chit chat or small talk using the pad for words she needed to be spoken.

I need that notebook at times. I need to be reminded to say what really matters.

Our voice is a gift that we take for granted.

Yet which is my voice,my true one ? The one people hear or the one inside my head.

I need to focus on finding my voice. Making sure that my words are true to the person I am the person I wish to be.

I learned this weekend that words have power. I want to make sure my words are for a reason for good. My voice to be used for the voiceless.

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Let my words be truth.