Viv’s Story


What is consent?

Is it a carer deciding what you are or aren’t going to eat. Is it when in a queue the person standing with you is asked what your order is although you are the adult!, is it when a nurse decides that you don’t need continence care so refuses to assist, thus leaving you in distress, is it when someone you have never spoken to before in a social environment wants to know ‘why are you in a wheelchair’ is it when a shop assistant insists you can’t possibly be able to push a trolley around a store or carry your shopping so insists on doing it for you, is it when someone decides that you would be better at a table your chair won’t fit under so you can see the nice view, rather than a table the chair fits under so you can eat easily, is it when someone starts messing with your hair when in a queue, or who decides that you can’t fit down a foot path you have used for decades, and so your forced onto three main roads, to go to the same place as they know best.. is it when a total stranger starts to tell you how to park the van you have been driving for years, is it when people in the hospital don’t know how to use a hoist so when they do it wrong won’t accept guidance putting me at risk… so often people think they know what’s best for me…. so often they are wrong….

Author: Hannah Mason-Bish

Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex

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