28-year-old Atholl Mills, born with cystic hygroma says having people stare at him is a common occurrence but we should be educating people about showing compassion rather than hostility.
Although not technically a disability in many peoples eyes there is little doubt the trauma that people will live through when not allowed to simply be treated normally.
Atholl states “There’s been times in shops where I’ve tried to hide behind pillars or behind stalls, and people have actually moved around the stall to try and continue looking at me.”
“Both my sisters used to get really upset that people would be staring… they’d try and stand in front of me. So it doesn’t just affect me, it affects the people around me as well.”
Cystic Hygroma is a condition that causes cysts to form on his body.
He’s part of a new campaign raising awareness about the impact of staring at people with disfigurements.
A rise in hostility
There’s been an increase in hostile behaviour towards those with visible differences, according to new research.
The charity Changing Faces says reports have risen from a third of people with a visible difference reporting hostile behaviour in 2019, to more than two in five in 2021.
A third of people with a visible difference say they’ve been stared at because of it.
The charity says one in five adults self-identify as having a visible difference such as a scar, mark or condition, with over a million estimated to have significant disfigurements
The charity surveyed over 1,000 people with visible differences.
“Sometimes people don’t realise they’re staring. I was told it was rude to stare. I think some people have clearly missed that and they do it anyway. This is about raising awareness and educating people.”
What has happened to the compassion in our country?
It seems that other people are noticing the degrading of our moral values with one Twitter user commenting: Britain has turned into a horrible country in the past 8/9 years.
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