Close up of Shana outside

Consent and MS

At the pub last weekend, l was approached by someone I'd never met or seen before. Without introducing themselves, they grabbed me.

In front of crowd of onlookers, they touched my body in ways and places that I didn't want. They physically hurt me. And they ignored me when I repeatedly said, "No, no please don't do that".

I was left feeling very upset, with my legs shaking uncontrollably.

A frequent occurrence

Yet this happens to me very frequently, and l'm expected to be grateful.

It happens because I'm physically disabled.

The person who grabbed me at the pub had seen me struggling to get up and they were genuinely just 'trying to help'. Whilst it was traumatising and horrible for me, l'm certain they would be utterly mortified if they knew that's how I'd experienced the situation. Their intentions were only ever good.

People just need to ask

If only they had introduced themselves and asked if I needed help... I would have been genuinely grateful. I would probably have said, "Yes please!!" and explained how to help me.

Offers of help are always really, really appreciated. I need help all the time and often have to rely on strangers as well as my friends and family to help me. If help is offered and l don't need it, l just give a big smile and say, "I'm OK at the moment, but thank you so much for offering!"

I just need people to ask.

Shana has MS and lives in Brighton.