Rape survivor who has vivid flashbacks says wearing a mask triggers her PTSD

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A rape survivor who has traumatic flashbacks when her mouth is covered has called for the government to educate the public about face mask exemptions.

Georgina Fallows says she is re-traumatised when something is over her mouth struggles to wear a mask in public following her attack in 2018.

But the 30-year-old has faced abuse for not wearing a covering since they were made mandatory in shops and bars in a bid to stem the spread of Coronavirus.

Georgina has avoided going to places where she might have to wear one through fear of being criticised.

The solicitor, who was raped while walking home, says wearing a covering triggers her post-traumatic distress disorder.

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She has written to the government urging for more education for the public over the exemptions for not wearing a mask.

Georgina says she's already had one person "screaming" at her for not using a covering and another saying "people like her" were killing others.

She has written to ministers with several mental-health and disability charities as England braces itself for lockdown 2.0 on Thursday.

They are asking the government to promote a "recognised badge [or] identifier to signify the wearer as exempt," the BBC reports.

The letter adds that a badge "is no substitute for greater public understanding" of why people might not be able to wear face coverings.

"My attacker literally pulled me off the street and raped me," Georgina said previously.

"Having something in front of my mouth feels like his hand."

Georgina suffers from PTSD and flashbacks, some so extreme she has had to be sedated by paramedics.

She has waived her right to anonymity to campaign for greater awareness, the BBC reports.

Ms Fallows wants the government to consider backing the Hidden Disabilities charity's sunflower lanyard, which is already being used for this purpose and is widely recognised.

It comes after a Government scientist pressed for masks to be made mandatory outdoors as well as in.

Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told Sky News: "We now appreciate the importance of face coverings and masks in an indoor environment, particularly where ventilation cannot be guaranteed.

"In reality, if you're outside walking your dog on your own and you're many metres away from other people then wearing a mask is making no difference.

"But if you're in a city centre shopping precinct, or you're queueing outside the shops then yes, you should be wearing a mask."

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.https://www.victimsupport.org.uk.

  • Face Masks
  • Crime
  • Lockdown

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