Rape survivor who has such vivid flashbacks she’s had to be sedated says wearing a face mask triggers her PTSD – as she pleads with ministers to be ‘more official’ on exemptions
- Georgina Fallows, 30, was raped in 2018 while walking home late at night
- Waived her right to anonymity to campaign for people’s right not to wear face masks, saying she can’t wear a covering because it might cause vivid flashbacks
- During attack, her aggressor covered her mouth with his hand to stop her cries
- In a new letter to health ministers, the solicitor, from London, has joined forces with charities to ask for better education of the public on exemptions
The victim of a rape who had her aggresor’s hand over her mouth during her attack has written to the government asking for ‘greater public understanding’ on why some people cannot wear face masks.
Solicitor Georgina Fallows, 30, was raped in 2018 while walking home late at night and says wearing a face mask triggers her post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD).
She says she’s faced abuse for not wearing a covering since they were made mandatory in shops, cafes and bars and on public transport – and even avoids going to places where she might have to wear one for fear of being criticised.
Ms Fallows says she’s already had one person ‘screaming’ at her for not using a covering and another saying ‘people like her’ were killing others.
Solicitor Georgina Fallows, 30, was raped in 2018 while walking home late at night; she says she suffers with post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD) and wearing a face mask could trigger vivid flashbacks of her attack. In a new letter written with seven major charities, Ms Fallows is asking the Government to promote exemption badges more widely (Pictured on Channel 4 News in August)
With a second lockdown looming, the Government has tightened up restrictions on face coverings further, asking people working in retail and indoor hospitality to keep masks on during shifts and adding taxis and private hire cars to the list of places they must be worn in.
In a letter addressed to Public Health Minister Jo Churchill and other ministers in health related roles, Ms Fallows is asking for better education on the reasons people might not use a face covering.
The missive is written in conjuction with leading mental health and disability charities including Mind, Sense, Alzheimer’s UK and Disability Rights UK.
The communication asks that the current exemption badge be more widely promoted to help understanding.
Ms Fallows, pictured speaking to Sky News in September, has waived her right to anonymity to campaign for greater public education on exemptions from wearing face masks. She says she’s been ‘screamed’ at in the street for not wearing a covering
Exemptions on the Government website currently suggest people with mental or physical illnesses, or a disability do not have to wear a mask but Ms Fallows’ letter suggests the guidance needs to be made clearer and more official.
Explaining why she can’t wear a face mask, Ms Fallows told Channel 4 News in August: ‘My attacker literally pulled me off the street and raped me. Having something in front of my mouth feels like his hand.’
FACEMASK EXEMPTIONS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The current list of exemptions on the Government’s website says the following people don’t need to wear a covering in places where they are currently mandatory including shops, cafes, restaurants and on public transport:
Children under the age of 11
Those working as transport operators
Emergency responders including the police, paramedics and members of the fire service plus officials in the border force
Anyone with a disability or a physical or mental illness including people who help deaf people to communicate via lip reading
People in shops asked to prove their age can remove their mask to show their face
The flashbacks endured by the rape survivor since her attack are so vivid she’s been sedated by paramedics.
Last month, a Government scientist backed the British Medical Association’s call for face masks to be made mandatory outdoors as well as indoors.
Pictured being interviewed on Channel 4 News by Cathy Newman in August, Ms Fallows says she hopes that the government will make advice on exemptions seem more ‘official’ and promote badges that people who can’t wear a covering can use
Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said that people ‘should be wearing a mask’ even when outside.
He 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.’