Why speaking out is important

When I made this blog, I was wary and nervous. Still, every time I post I am nervous. I am hoping that will improve as time goes on. The reason I stick with it is because my own anxieties are unimportant when it comes to sharing the truth. I know my story is not unique or unusual, and that’s where the problem lies. I know there are loads of us that have been left frustrated and felt stripped of control whilst wondering how so many faults exist in a system designed to protect us – social work.

The idea of being able to change things seems so out of reach sometimes. My family have wrote countless letters, spoke to department heads and even met with a lawyer yet still felt like our situation was not only unresolved – but getting even worse. Most of the time, we have felt like another bit of paper on a desk. Another case they can’t wait to get off their hands. Social workers see and hear of horrible situations every day, so it’s easy to imagine how they may become numb sometimes and lack empathy. Targets and budgets seem more important and this is at the expense of children and families.

With the #metoo movement going on at the moment, all it took was that first person to speak out. All of a sudden, hundreds of people came forward to share their stories of sexual abuse. The courage of one person became infectious and hundreds of people felt brave enough to speak out and expose a huge issue in Hollywood. The truth created a chain reaction.

Similarly, my courage to speak out was passed on to me from Laura Beveridge. Laura spent years living in a care home and after witnessing the faults that exist in the system first hand, she decided to speak out until it could not be ignored. Since then, Laura has featured in a documentary on ITV, met with Nicola Sturgeon, shared her story on radio and given TED talks on issues in the care system to raise awareness and bring about change. Just this week Laura announced that she is starting a new role working for the care review to bring about much needed reform to the system. Laura’s bravery empowered me to share my own story.

“And even when they refuse to listen, I’ll keep talking anyway, hoping on a slim chance that the things inside my head are worth something to someone” – Nadege Richards

It is scary to put yourself out there and share personal stories to strangers, however I hope that I inspire others that read this in the same way that Laura inspired me. If enough of us speak out, the issues can’t be swept under a rug. With all the crap we see on social media on a day to day basis, let’s start using it as a tool to share ideas and fix issues that we otherwise wouldn’t have known existed. With the above quote in mind, even if my writing only helps or empowers one person, then it is worth doing.

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