A man was threatened with a five-inch-blade and told he was going to be ‘shanked up’ after intervening in an argument at the Brighton open market. He stepped in to try sand help a woman in a row with her boyfriend, and got tea thrown over him along with an advertising board, before having a knife pulled on him and threatened with his life.
It makes you wonder what to do in these situations. I remember watching a man spit in his girlfriend’s face in Portslade high street. I didn’t know whether saying something would help or make it worse, so I left it. It’s always bothered me, but what can you do when you don’t know if someone has a knife? I have three children, putting myself at risk to protect strangers seems foolish in some lights, and inspirational in others.
A pub in Patcham has been escorting female staff and customers home after reports of a woman being followed home and raped. A notice in the pub reads “Most recently, a” young lady was targeted by a cream Mini which drove past her several times before pulling alongside her. Fortunately, she was able to run away and is safe, however we would strongly recommend you take a taxi home, or at the very least do not walk home alone, especially at night.”
The publican of ‘The Long Man’ did not have to respond this way to the rape.
They do not have to put women in taxi’s or offering lifts. How often do we do things for others with nothing in it for ourselves? I know when my husband goes to London each week he always buys the Big Issue and offers to help women struggling with pushchairs and suitcases on the Underground, even if it makes him late. I pick up litter on the way to school and put lids back on recycling boxes that have blown into the road. When my daughters ask me why I’m picking up other people’s wrappers I tell them ‘why not?’ We do not have to do big things to make big changes.
Brighton and Hove manager Chris Hughton has joined forces with a host of football bosses to help raise awareness of prostate cancer.
He said: “Prostate cancer is an opposition like no other. Just seeing stats like one man dies every 45 minutes shows why we all have to take action to change this. This disease does not discriminate. Albion have always embraced their community and that football family can come together to nail their colours to the mast in this fight.”
If only more people used their profile to help others not just themselves, what a wonderful world it could be.
Lana, an 18-year old student from Brighton was abused by her boyfriend for over five months before a friend called the police. Taylor, 22, who was breaching a conditional discharge for an incident against a former girlfriend, was given a two-year restraining order and told he would have to complete a course on “building better relationships”.
Taylor, 22, moved in with Lana, 18, at her student residence in Phoenix Halls, then began to take control of every part of her life - forcing her to get rid of her phone and computer, accessing her social media accounts and forcing her to leave her job.
The five months of torture Lana endured will shape the rest of her life. Where is her support to build better relationships? Abuse doesn’t end the day the insults or punches stop. It can’t be washed away by a hot bath. It’s a weight carried for life.
Crown prosecutor Martine Sherlock told Brighton Magistrates’ Court: “Miss Milner had suffered extreme emotional trauma. She felt she was being watched all the time. She was too afraid to leave the flat and go into the police station itself. She was cut off from all her friends. If she stood up to Mr Taylor he became aggressive. He shouts at her, spits on her when drunk, pushes her out of bed and laughs at her. He punches her and claims its a joke. He wouldn’t let her talk to or have men as friends. When he found out she had spoken to a man from home he shouted at her; making her scared.”
Taylor pretended to have been a Marine and in the SAS. His real job was as a glass collector at Pryzm nightclub in West Street, Brighton.
Easy to think Lana was a fool to stay right? When you read the above and are not the one he worked over with a mix of adoration and control. So easy to say “I’d have knocked his teeth out” and maybe you might have done, but what would he have done back?
Have you ever been scared of someone, ever ‘put up’ with behaviour that deep down you knew wasn’t right? Have you ever not made a big deal out of someone’s behaviour because it’s not worth the hassle they’ll give you? That’s emotional abuse. More common than you think, and tolerated daily in all walks of life.
Taylor admitted engaging in coercive and controlling behaviour - a new offence introduced in December 2015 for which Sussex Police only secured their first conviction in May. Coercive control is a relatively new offence to try and tackle the patterns of abusive behaviour that stop short of physical violence.
The law does allow offenders to face up to five years behind bars, but Magistrates decided Taylor’s fate had no sentencing guidelines on which to decide a proportionate punishment for his crime.
Do you ever think Facebook should be called Fakebook? I often wonder how everyone else is making amazing home-cooked food, enjoying the sunshine or looking perfect in selfies while I am struggling to get through the day without crying. Is any of it real, and if so, why not enjoy the moment rather than wasting a moment sharing it with other people? If my kids were good at quietly drawing nice pictures in a spotless house, I wouldn’t take photos, I’d dance round in my underwear doing fist punches.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a 'Realbook' instead, full of honest posts like ‘Just spent twenty minutes trying to pour myself into skinny jeans and am now stuck in the changing room at Topshop….HELP’ or ‘My kids are having Weetabix for dinner because I forgot I have to feed them.. again’ or ‘Drunk on the school run on Monday morning’ or ‘I’m so lonely I think of The Game Of Thrones cast as my (only) friends’.
Sometimes the fake happiness of others only make my struggles more real.
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media. I lose hours watching videos of people scaring cats with cucumbers or sausage dogs dressed up as Star Wars characters, but it’s not helping anyone.
The rate of male suicides is rising, with men between 29-44 being three times more likely to take their own lives than women. Each day in our country, twelve men will commit suicide. Gender should not mean a death sentence. Men should not be pressured to ‘man up’ and never show any signs of weakness, while us women get to yammer on about how we feel all the time with no judgement.
I’m a staunch feminist, which to me means equal opportunities. How is it fair then, that women are encouraged to share how they feel but men are told to ‘shut up and deal with it'. Most importantly, what can we do to change it?
We lost a friend to male suicide. When I heard the news I didn’t believe it was true, how could it be? He always seemed so happy, so laid back. It made me rethink everything I thought I knew about everyone I think I know.
Now when I look at Facebook, all I see is pressure to pretend life is great. It isn’t, whether male or female, life is not great. It’s hard and messy and confusing and painful. It’s mostly repetitive, exasperating grot and we need to talk about it.
We need to start sharing our bad moments and feelings of inadequacy. We need to stop using ‘Alright?’ as a greeting for one other, and instead ask ‘How are you doing today?' And we need to feel that we can answer honestly. Being anxious, depressed or suicidal is not wrong or shameful, it’s real. Far more real that filtered selfies.
Until we break the mold and start admitting our failures and fears, start talking about our problems, then suicide rates will keep rising, people will starve themselves on ‘clean’ diets to look good on Instagram and our children will grow up believing they must be happy, or they are failing in life. In the words of Bowie, it’s time to ‘turn and face the strange’.
I am writing this from France during my annual pilgrimage to my parents house. As usual, everything that could go wrong has. It started two days before we were due to fly out, when 'we' realised that the youngest's passport had expired. I say 'we' because neither of us will take the blame for the oversight. After 'discussing' the matter for a while, we realised we had less than an hour to get new forms and photos before everywhere closed for the bank holiday.
The only passport office that had an appointment within a week was Liverpool, at 9am in the morning, obviously.
So I flew out with the eldest two, while the husband went off to Liverpool with the youngest one. I spent two days being served my favourite childhood sandwiches by the pool while he did a tour of Premier Inn's with an irate five-year-old. When he finally booked a flight to join us (from Luton - 190 miles from Liverpool, and leaving in three hours) it was delayed, and then could not land because of the sudden, yet severe storm that started, minutes from the airport, and has been ongoing ever since. I swear he bought it with him, like that Crowded House song 'Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you'.
I told my dad to batten down the hatches because the big toe on my left foot had been throbbing. I call it the weather vane and it never lies. My dad called it...well I can't say, but he's not laughing now. He's busy hooking leaves out his swimming pool and moaning.
Meanwhile in Brighton, a bus crashed into a telegraph pole, with no one on it. A 14-year old girl from Portslade broke into Hove school and smashed a TV. There has been a scramble for permits as free parking ends in Hanover and Elm Grove and a burglar was found hiding in a freezer in a Chinese takeaway. Thank god I'm away from all the madness. I'm busy reading the Game of Thrones books and getting fat on cheese.
SO Brighton’s key attractions are not hitting the same visitor rates as last year. Hiked up entry fees by the council have been blamed for the decline. I agree.
I had to pay to get in to the previously free Pavilion museum, and had I not been able to prove I lived locally, taking the kids to the Pavilion would’ve cost me £40. Add to that the cost of a sandwich and a cup of tea, plus parking and the dreaded gift shops, an afternoon out in Brighton will set you back over £100, and that’s for us locals.
Councillor Morgan said things were not so gloomy; “The feedback we have had is that despite some of the factors we are contending with, and the fact that there is a lot of work ongoing on our seafront to improve it, reports are that we are having a very good summer.”
But Anne Martin who runs Brighton Palace Pier and heads the tourism alliance said, “It’s a warning sign that we have to stay on top of our game… the tourism alliance is always concerned that the city isn’t always as clean as it could be…and we don’t have a very good welcome to the city, we don’t have hosts or enough city greeters.”
John Baldock, of the Theatre Royal, said: “If people have queued in traffic and then they are met with dirty streets and the social issues the city faces it’s not good.”
I’m not sure what the city greeters would say though? “Welcome to Brighton, please ignore the constant sound of roadworks, the hundreds of malnourished homeless we refuse to help, the filthy streets we don’t bother cleaning and the jacked-up parking prices. Keep a tight hold of your cone of chips by the way, our seagulls are quicker than that cop out the terminator. Ghost tour of the streets anyone?”
Perhaps the dirty streets are thanks to the giant recycling bins the council recently delivered that have not been emptied since?
The union claims on average, three bin lorries have been sitting in the depot every day over the past five weeks, due to a lack of staff to operate the vehicles, and are talking about strikes.
I’m that I’m sick of chasing my recycling down the road I’ll operate the van myself for free. I can’t have people knowing I don’t make my children homemade fish fingers or humous. What if they see my Birdseye potato waffles boxes? I’ll never live it down!
No one wants to go back to the summer strike of 2013, when nappies, condoms and food waste rode in waves down the streets while a pay debate raged on.
Am I the only one sick of the backbone of our society getting shafted? Our rubbish collectors, nurses, postal service, teachers; all of them underpaid and understaffed to do the jobs that keep our country functioning. These heroes need recognition and recompense for their work now more than ever.