In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor explore the face mask exemption in relation to survivors of abuse.
Although a vaccine is in sight, it is likely that face masks and coverings will be required for some time to come and it is important to raise awareness on this subject.
Over several months’ rape survivor, Georgina Fallow, has been calling for the government to “educate” the public about face-covering exemptions and for guidance to be clearer in relation to why individuals may not be wearing a face covering.
Ms Fallow wrote a letter to the government, which was co-signed by MP Bambos Charalambous and by charities including Mind, Mencap, Sense and Disability Rights UK, which asked the government to promote the Hidden Disabilities charity's Face Covering Exemption Card, and to launch an awareness campaign to publicise the exemptions.
Ms Fallow explains that there are a number of people who simply cannot wear a mask due to the psychological harm it causes. She, for example, experiences traumatic flashbacks that are akin to hallucinations. She describes them as “so real as to effectively plunge me back into the worst of the experience”. The flashbacks can be so severe that police officers and paramedics have had to hold her down, sedate her and take her to hospital.