Recently a friend shared a photo of her daughter on Facebook to highlight to people the horrible position she is put in when there are no suitable changing facilities for her. She shared the picture specifically because Haywards Heath train station had recently spent over £35 million on refurbishments and yet failed to provide suitable toilet facilities for disabled people.
When the photo below was originally shared on social media it was unedited and that is what caused such a stir on Facebook. (I have hidden the girls face this time to save her mother facing negativity again).
People were more horrified by the fact that this girl was being shown on social media wearing her continence pants than they were of the fact she was having to be laid on a dirty toilet floor!
In a world where no one bats an eye lid when a picture of a Kylie Jenner in a bikini is shared online I was shocked that a photo of a disabled person caused such outrage? This girl is not naked, the only flesh on show are her arms and legs and yet it caused so many people to feel they had to speak out.
The comments that were directed at this girls mother for making the decision to share the photo were unsupportive and negative and for that reason alone the post was removed from Facebook.
Because what people were forgetting when expressing their outrage was that this girls mother had already had a horrific day where she’d had to put her beautiful daughter on a disgusting toilet floor, she had struggled to get her there and struggled again to get her back in her chair.
She had then done something so brave she should have been commended and thanked, not judged. Sharing this photo with the world was brave and was done for the simple reason that she does not want this to continue to be the norm for her daughter and other severely disabled people.
Photos like this are not often shared publicly and when they are as long as people continue to react in this way everyone will completely miss the point of WHY it was taken and shared in the first place.
Unless people use shock tactics like this and show the reality of the world disabled people live in, NOTHING will change… NOTHING.
The Changing Places campaign has been running for 10 years this year and the UK still only has 840 fully accessible toilets in the whole country! 840 is no where near enough and is why people are being laid on toilet floors throughout our country every single day. Throughout the campaign there has been very little shock tactics to get peoples attention and I firmly believe that is why nothing has changed and why the law still doesn’t require accessible toilets to be provided everywhere.
Just because you’ve not seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. But now you have seen it help us to do something about it.
When this photo was shared last year people were more outraged about the photo than they were the circumstances. BUT it got peoples attention and it started a conversation which led to more people being involved in the campaign for Changing Places toilets.
Next time you see a photo like this, before leaving a comment think about why its there and what the person who shared it is trying to achieve. Negative comments do not help the person in the picture, they only hurt their loved ones.
Let’s not judge the mum who decided to make a stand, lets not accuse them of exploitation because comments like that detract from the real issue.
Instead, lets do something so that people with disabilities don’t have to lie on toilet floors anymore.
You can help us do that so easily..
You can sign this petition…
You can send a letter to your MEP ..
Thanks for reading, and please, if you’re leaving comments, lets make them positive!