Been a busy few days here at United Disabled Resistance Movement
The welfare and work reform Bill has terrified those of us who are once again being targeted by the harsh ‘its better to work’ rhetoric when we are never ever going to be fit for work. It has been soul destroying knowing we are at the mercy of people who will never understand the diversity of the label disabled. Feeling powerless, helpless and hopeless some of us decided we would leave our mark on the government by sharing our very emotional and personal stories, about how we became disabled, what we go through daily being disabled, the painful treatments we endure, the side effects of these treatment, how Welfare reform over the last 5 years has impacted us, and what potentially this new reform will do to us.
It has not been easy, but for anyone out there who claims that those who cannot physically attend demo’s are second class activists, have no idea how arduous this has been. This has cut deep, touching on things that emotionally we are unable to even face ourselves and share them, Sharing things we are ashamed of, like incontinence of the bowel. Then sending 340 emails, mostly getting generic answers, which we have then had to rebut! But so far we have 130 Mps supporting us! Ok so far the tories far outweigh us, but who knows yet where the others may swing.
Following this success we then contacted all newspapers and media channels to inform them of this with a copy of our own private stories. They do not include every detail because we wanted them to be concise, but we hope we got our point across… here is MY story, with our media letter attached!
I am writing to you concerning the second reading of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015/16 which was originally scheduled to be held on 21st July but is now to be debated on Monday 20th July.
I am a member of an online protest group called the United Disabled Resistance Movement which holds all of it’s demonstrations and protests online due to the limitations imposed on us by geography and our varying impairments.
Our latest action, held between 16th and 19th July 2015 has been for several of us to write or email our own life stories about our impairments and the restrictions placed on us by these impairments to every MP in the House of Commons. We have told them how it feels to be branded a skiver and a scrounger for something we were unable to change made us feel. We told them how losing financial support or having it reduced, and being interrogated as a criminal until we could prove our innocence as genuinely sick, has impacted on us. We then went on to explain how future targets, as seen in the provisions of the Bill, would devastate us and may mean that we would have t live in residential care instead of in our own homes.
We have received considerable support across all parties for our action so we each wish to share our ‘real’ stories anonymously with you because we are human beings, with additional needs who deserve care and support, not hate crime and Welfare cuts. We also feel that it is only right for us to share the names of the MPs who have supported us and who have said they will be voting against the Bill.
This is my story. You have my permission to quote from it if you wish but I do not give you permission to use my name or address.
I am called a benefit skiver, yet all my life I have been a striver. From the age of 3 years I strived to not be anally sexually abused, then I strived to not have bowel incontinence. I strived academically so hard I repressed the memories of my abuse. I went to Law school for 3 years doing my Llb hons Law, working and paying tax as I had done since I was 16 years old, to support myself through Education.
Rebecca Long Bailey