Street harassment in the UK is an epidemic, with women and girls as young as eight years old faced with intimidating and unwanted behaviour on a daily basis.
66% of girls in the UK have experienced sexual attention or sexual or physical contact in a public place. 38% of girls experience verbal harassment like catcalling, wolf-whistling and sexual comments at least once a month. And 15% of girls are being touched or grabbed every month.
It’s not a part of growing up and it’s not ok.
To mark International Day of the Girl, our Editor-in-Chief Trish Halpin joined Plan International at the House of Commons for the launch of their new campaign against street harassment of girls and young women in the UK, encouraging us all to drive social change by sharing our own experiences alongside the hashtag #ISayItsNotOk.
‘A shocking 66% aged 14-21 have experienced unwanted sexual harassment in a public place & what’s so awful is that girls like my daughter are growing up to think this is normal and something they just have to put up with,’ Trish explained. ‘But it’s time to say it’s not OK, to encourage girls to talk about it and report it to a parent or teacher.’
She continued: ‘Tell your friends, daughters, nieces to speak up and report it, tell the men you know about the devastating impact this behaviour can have – they might think a wolf whistle, cat call or pat on the butt is harmless but the fear of what it could lead to is frightening.’
‘If you normalise and accept street harassment then you’re starting to say it’s ok for the next thing to happen, and it’s an escalating process,’ 28-year-old Lindsay from Edinburgh told Plan International. ‘It’s a basic human right to be able to walk around and just live your life. No one is taking it seriously.’
‘Girls have been told different ways to change ourselves to make other people less likely to harass us,’ 16-year-old Caitlin from Glasgow explained to Plan UK. ‘But boys have never been told what to do to stop them from harassing girls. What if you don’t want to accept that it just happens? Coz it’s been happening to women for like ever pretty much and it’s not right and it shouldn’t be accepted like that.’
Reading over the statistics and accounts provided by Plan, we were saddened here at Marie Claire HQ, especially as it is a sobering reflection of the sad reality that we all normalise on a daily basis.
Here are some of our own accounts of growing up with street harassment, something we don’t want for the generations of girls ahead of us…
‘I am now in my mid twenties, but from my early teens I have always made a conscious effort each morning to dress for my journey home that evening. If I know that I will be walking home past 9pm, I won’t wear a skirt or a dress or anything that could attract unwanted attention or street harassment. While it seems outdated to have to wear trousers to walk home alone, it’s what I have to do to make myself feel safe.’
Jenny Proudfoot, Junior Digital News Editor
‘My pal and I were walking home one night and we noticed that two men had started to follow us. With every corner they tailed us, we talked less then eventually went completely silent when they crossed the road to us and demanded to know where we were going. They then split off so that we were stuck between them, hemming us in as me and my friend said absolutely nothing as we were terrified – they were big guys. After we hit a main road, they disappeared but I always wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t.’
Megan Hills, Digital Lifestyle Writer
‘My sister and I will often call each other if it’s dark and we’re say, walking somewhere on our own or waiting for a taxi – even if it’s only for a minute or two. I wish I could say I don’t feel vulnerable in those situations and just get on with it but sadly I do feel like if I’m bust on the phone and in a rush I’m more likely to be left alone.’
Lucy Abbersteen, Digital Beauty Writer
‘There are three things I always do when I’m walking home after 7pm – I take my headphones out, put a key between my fingers and walk quickly. My sister and I also use the Find Friends app to keep an eye on each other if we know the other will be going home alone.’
Jadie Troy-Pryde, Social Content Editor
‘I have perfected the facial expression that leads to the smallest amount of harassment. Your eyes have to look straight forward, but totally avoiding eye contact: looking at your feet draws attention and making eye contact is clearly a no-no. I make sure that my expression is blank, but not blank enough to look vulnerable or cause people to suggest that I cheer up a bit. Late at night or in the middle of the day, you know I’m using the 1000-yard anti-harassment stare.’
Victoria Fell, Features Assistant
Join us and Plan International UK and call an end to street harassment by sharing your own account, alongside the hashtag #ISayItsNotOk.
Street harassment is not a part of growing up – and it’s definitely not OK.
Ahead of International Day of the Girl on 11 October, Editor in Chief Trish Halpin travelled to Ghana with her daughter Esme, 14, to meet the girls and women tackling teenage pregnancies and gender inequality. Here, they share their experiences
Smartly dressed in her yellow and brown school uniform, 15-year-old Victoria sits with her one-year-old daughter Angela on her lap, outside the small hut where she lives with her parents and siblings in Aboabo, a village near Koforidua in Ghana’s eastern region. Minutes earlier she was playing with her friends in the dusty schoolyard, but now at home she has to take over from her own mother to care for Angela. She looks nervous, ready to hand the baby back to a grown-up at the earliest opportunity – not unlike most teenage girls I know. ‘I don’t like being a mother because I am a child myself,’ she tells me, and as I look at her tiny frame beside my own 14-year-old daughter, it’s heartbreaking to imagine the toll pregnancy and birth must have taken on her.
Each year, 7.3 million girls worldwide become pregnant (20,000 of those are in UK), and Victoria is one of the more fortunate ones. With the support of her family and the charity Plan International, she stayed in school during her pregnancy (even sitting an exam the day before giving birth) and returned after having her daughter. Often, the stigma means girls are forced to stay at home, with teachers refusing to allow them into class; or they are made to marry and have more babies, and the cycle continues.
One woman we meet who is determined to break that cycle is Sefia, 34, mother to Kelvin, 17, and Rhoda, 14. As a child, she dreamed of being a nurse, encouraged by her mother who told her stories of the female doctors, nurses and teachers who worked in her hometown, before she moved to a village as a teenage girl to be married. ‘I don’t want Rhoda to go through what I did,’ says Sefia.
‘Seeing my little sister, who is more empowered to approach gender issues, makes me feel hopeful’
‘I wanted to do something with my life, but I had to drop out of school to work and feed my children. When they are grown up, I will go back to school and become more successful.’ And I believe she will: articulate, smart and determined, Sefia beams with pride as Rhoda shows us her exercise books, filled with pages of neat handwriting in perfect English.
Fifty miles away in Ghana’s capital, Accra, we meet Lillipearl, 25, a journalist at the Business & Financial Times. Over a lunch of fried fish and jollof rice, Lillipearl explains how Plan International’s Girls in Media programme at her rural school sparked her passion for journalism and gender advocacy. ‘We were taught how gender is different to sex, and looked at how roles are gendered in society. It’s going to take 270 years to close the economic gap in Ghana [the UK is predicted to take 100 years], but even seeing my little sister, who is more empowered to approach gender issues, makes me feel hopeful.’
‘Teach a girl, change the world’ is one of my favourite sayings, and supporting girls like Victoria, Rhoda and Lillipearl surely has to be one of the best investments any of us can make for the future of this planet.
Above: Editor in chief Trish, second from right, and her daughter Esme, second from left, talk to students on the Girls in Media Programme at Manya Krobo Senior High School. Top: Esme with Victoria, who gave birth to daughter Angela at 14 – the same age Esme is now
When my mum asked me to go with her to Ghana on an assignment to meet girls my age and see what life is like for them, I was excited but had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to Africa on a safari holiday, but knew that this would be completely different. We flew into the capital Accra and the next morning, drove out to the town of Koforidua, our base for the trip.
The first village we visited was Kwamoso in the district of Akuapem, where we turned off the main road on to a bumpy dirt track and I saw the tiny school building, not even the size of my school gym. The headteacher introduced me to a girl my age called Rhoda and we chatted about school and how much she loves reading – she gets top marks for everything, not like me! Rhoda wanted to show me where she lives with her grandmother – her mum has to work away from home to be able to afford to send money for food and keep her and her brother in education, which I think must be so sad for her. Her grandmother’s home was along another dirt track just minutes from the school. They have no electricity or running water, and Rhoda is not allowed out after 6pm so she can focus on her studies. Her mum doesn’t want her to become pregnant like so many other girls.
‘Back in London, I realise how lucky I am to have so much education ahead of me’
The next day, I feel glad for Rhoda when we meet Victoria, who became pregnant a year ago at my age. Her baby Angela is really sweet, but I can’t imagine wanting to have a baby until I’m at least 30, if at all. It must have been so scary for her to give birth and now her whole life has changed, but at least she still goes to school.
I remember first having sex education in junior school, but in Ghana they don’t teach it even to teenagers. When we visit a senior school, my mum asks the headmistress about it and she says that instead they promote abstinence – she gets the class to sing a song about it, which is entertaining but I doubt it’s very helpful.
Back in London, I realise how lucky I am to still have so much education ahead of me. Rhoda and I have been emailing each other and we’d like to meet again one day – hopefully when she becomes the nurse or doctor that she dreams about being.
Find out more about the Because I Am A Girl Campaign or sponsor a girl at plan-uk.org
Continuing our Women Who Win series is Hannah Shergold, an award-winning artist and former Lynx helicopter commander in the British Army
Some people struggle to find the one thing in which they excel – Hannah Shergold is in no danger of that.
Following a degree in pre-clinical Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University, she became an internationally-exhibited bronze sculptor. Three years later, after what she calls a ‘whirlwind of an experience’, Shergold decided that she needed a new challenge, and joined the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
During her tours as a Lynx helicopter commander, Hannah combined her passions, now working with the WWF as well as recently being selected as the only Wild Card artist for the 2019 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition.
Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Hannah Shergold and her refusal to let anyone or anything stand in her way is that in a nutshell.
We sat down with Hannah to talk about tours of duty, her Sandhurst experience and the words that she lives by.
What inspired you to join the army?
‘My father has been in the army, and his best memories and friends and stories are from that time. I liked the idea that you form such strong relationships with people when you’re going through the same experience. My cousin’s boyfriend at the time was at Sandhurst then, and he’d tell me heaps of stories: the things that most people would say, “Oh my god that sounds horrendous!”, I thought, “That’s awesome!”’
How tough was Sandhurst?
‘There were hundreds of moments at Sandhurst when I thought, “What am I doing?” I remember being on guard in the middle of a night in the woods and it was pouring with rain. I was sat in a puddle, starving hungry and couldn’t fall asleep, otherwise we would get punished. I thought, “One day, I’m going to find it really funny how miserable I am at this moment, but definitely not right now.”’
What was it like living and training in such a heavily male environment?
‘The army is full of the most awesome people, and the majority of them are really, genuinely good, but as in any organisation, you come across some people that really don’t think that women should be in the army. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t encounter any prejudice – I didn’t really notice it at first and found it much easier to brush off earlier in my career. I suppose in hindsight I was in survival mode, and also I was so busy I didn’t have time to sit back and think about it.’
Why did you choose to be a helicopter pilot?
‘The short answer is because helicopters looked really cool. My piloting course, which was 18 months long, was the toughest thing I’ve ever done: if things start going badly, you can go from being absolutely fine to being chucked off the course in less than a week. I’m very self-deprecating and would be quite honest about it, and sometimes I found with the guys they would always say that their flights were fine, so I got into my head that I was the only one that was struggling. But I only failed one flight in the entire time I was training: my last one!’
How did you get your start in the art world?
‘My secondary school had the most fantastic art department, with a wonderful old building that looked like a proper old-fashioned artist’s studio. We got to use oil paint and do sculpture: a friend of a friend tried to buy some A-level pieces that I’d made from clay. In 2006, after I’d finished university, I booked myself a stand at Bleinheim Horse Trials to sell statues cast out of bronze – when I booked it I didn’t actually have any pieces to show… I went to Dubai to sell my pieces for three summers, but the credit crunch hit in the autumn of 2008 and luxury products are the first thing to go.’
Copyright Andy Barnham
How did you balance art and the army?
‘I was in Kenya for six months on medical duties, which means a lot of sitting around, waiting for something to go wrong. Some people read, some people played on the Playstation, and I drew. I did pen and ink sketches of life out there; I just found it so beautiful out there.’
What’s your mantra?
‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. I’m a massive believer in things happening for a reason. If things are genuinely disappointing or go wrong, my fall back is, “Well that happened because something else amazing is going to occur as a result of not getting it.” Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start something new!’
How should women ask for more?
‘Have proof that you deserve something. You shouldn’t necessarily be expected to cite that proof, but if someone has the audacity to question why you deserve something, you can back it up quickly with the reasons.’
‘At the rate I’m going, I’ll spend 7 years of my life on it’
How much time do you spend on your phone in a single day? If the results of our in-house challenge are anything to go by, it’s probably a lot longer than you think.
A week ago five Marie Claire team members downloaded the screen time app Moment for a week to measure exactly how long they spend scrolling every day. For most of them, the results were a big wake-up call.
Lucia Debieux, fashion editor
Daily average screen time: 4 hours 55 minutes
Waking life: 36% per day
Pick-ups: 46 per day
Day of the highest use: Tuesday
Most-used app: Instagram
Lucia says: ‘I feel mortified that I’m spending 36% of my day on my phone! It’s a long running conversation in my family that I have a problem with my phone and these stats really bring it home. I did expect it to be bad, but in my head I was thinking the results would show 2-3 hours per day, when in reality it’s 4-5.
I’m relieved that it shows I barely use my phone on the weekend when I’m with my daughter as I worry that I’m not present enough when I’m with her.
I’ve got into a bad habit of using my phone while walking along so I’m going to start leaving it in my bag zipped in a pocket while listening to a podcast, rather than constantly having it in my hand.’
Lucy Pavia, entertainment editor
Daily average screen time: 3 hours 14 minutes
Waking life: 22% per day
Pick-ups: 54 per day
Day of the highest use: Thursday
Most-used app: Instagram, Twitter
Lucy says: ‘My husband shared a fantasy of his with me recently. No, not one of those. It’s this: we’re on our way somewhere in the car and I’m using the quiet time to scroll through my emails, Instagram or Twitter feed. In one smooth motion, he plucks the phone out of my hand, rolls down the window and flings it onto the kerb.
I know I look at my phone too much, and I know it annoys my husband, who would happily leave his upstairs for most of the day. The results of this test don’t surprise me, but they’ve helped reinforce the new rules I’m imposing to cut down. We’re buying an alarm clock so we can instigate a no-phones in the bedroom rule. We’re banning multi-screen time, so when we’re watching something on TV together the phone stays in the kitchen, and I’m buying a stash of physical books to read (rather than downloads) to stop me scrolling through social media on the train.
But I do have to be realistic: staying on top of things through my phone is a big part of my job as an entertainment journalist, so a total detox isn’t practical, but I’m hoping these steps will help to chip away at my average screen time. There are days when I feel like Gollum, obsessively tapping and swiping. And we all know what happened to him.’
Victoria Fell, features assistant
Daily average screen time: 1 hour 56 minutes
Waking life: 12% per day
Pick-ups: 68 per day
Day of the highest use: Sunday
Most-used app: Safari
‘I’m a bit shocked at myself to be honest – I thought the maximum time I’d be looking at my phone would be an hour, considering I use my laptop at home and spend most of my time at work in front of the computer.
The fact I used my phone the most on Sunday was a bit sad, as it was my weekend and I hope I didn’t miss out on anything through using it.
Moving forward, considering I use my phone to read a lot of news sites and Twitter, I’m going to try and start picking up actual newspapers and books to keep myself entertained and cut down on screen time.’
Penny Goldstone, digital fashion editor
Daily average screen time: 3 hours 14 minutes
Waking life: 22% per day
Pick-ups: 71 per day
Day of the highest use: Monday
Most-used app: Instagram
‘I knew I spent a lot of time on my phone (I have a long train commute and I use my phone a lot for work) but the results still came as a shock. Some days I spend four hours on my phone, which is insane!
I use my phone the most on a Monday, which I think is mainly because I catch up on everything on my 45-minute train commute in the morning. I need to make an effort to put it down and read books more.
It’s so easy to fall down the Instagram rabbit hole in the evening too, so I’m going to install a post 9pm digital ban. My app tells me that if I don’t cut back, I will spend 7.2 years of my life on my phone – I really don’t want that.’
Lori Lefterova, picture editor
Daily average screen time: 2 hours 49 minutes
Waking life: 17% per day
Pick-ups: 71 per day
Day of the highest use: Monday
Most-used app: Safari
Lori says: ‘I’m really surprised how much Safari I use, I expected social media to be my most-used app, and I definitely thought I use my phone more than I do.
I’ve just found out that the new iOS update will have similar feature to Moment, called screen time. It will show in a graphic how much you’ve used the different apps on your device. I’m looking forward to seeing the results over a longer period of time.’
As part of Marie Claire’s new #screenbreak campaign, influencer and actress Tanya Burr tells us how she keeps a digital balance
If you’re with your phone, you’re not actually alone: in the same way I sometimes need space from my friends or my dog, I also need it from my phone. Without it, you can just breathe. Being on your phone all the time can cause physical conditions like repetitive strain injury, and, mentally, I think it’s really good to be by yourself sometimes and not constantly hooked into technology.
Bizarrely, since I started acting more three years ago the amount of time I spend on my phone has actually increased – I used to not work on weekends at all! Any audition you get offered, you feel really lucky, and sometimes you get less than 24 hours notice, so you spend all day on an app learning lines. When I was just doing digital work, the only thing I really had to switch off from was emails – my social media postings were just little snippets of my life.
One of the best ways I find to switch-off from my phone is through exercise. I like to do Barry’s Bootcamp classes, which are great because you can put your phone away in a locker. In general, though, I just try to be mindful in each individual situation. I don’t really have hard and fast rules, but I don’t like being on my phone when I’m with people, and my husband [Jim Chapman] and I try not have our laptops out in the evening.
If I find I’m on my phone too much, I usually go and put it on charge in my bedroom, then hang out downstairs. I find that technique useful because there’s three flights of stairs between me and my phone so it’s a lot of effort to go and get it! Though if I’m waiting for news or an important message I tend to carry my phone around with me to all sorts of weird places.
Although acting isn’t great for the amount of time you spend on your phone, when I was acting on stage recently [as Ella in Confidence], I hardly spoke to anyone for two months! It was the most time I’ve ever spent off phone and people began to notice – my management even asked when they were allowed to speak to me.
This morning, I was on my phone, texting my sister-in-law, exchanging really lovely text messages about her pregnancy. It was 6am. I definitely could have stayed in bed texting back and forth with her, but I forced myself to go and make myself a cup of tea: I just suddenly thought, ‘Do I really want to be engaged with my phone right now?’
Do you keep your phone on the table when you’re out with friends? Have you slipped away from a party to check your Instagram feed? Do you spin into a panic when there’s no wifi? Today Marie Claire launches #screenbreak, a new campaign to help curb and control our addictive scrolling habits. Since, for most of us, a full digital detox isn’t possible or practical, we’ve gathered expert advice, tricks and tech to help reduce the average 150-pickups-a-day routine, along with simple ways to be more mindful with the time you do spend on your phone. To kick off the campaign, Tanya Goodin, founder of digital detox movement Time To Log Off and author of Stop Staring at Screens, tells us why a major digital reset is long overdue.
I don’t need to tell you that you’re spending too much time on screens – you know that. What started as a murmur of concern a year or so ago about our out-of-control screen habits is now a deafening roar. According to research we tap, click and scroll on our smartphones 2,617 times a day – picking them up 150 times on average – we now spend more time on screens than we do asleep!
Between scrolling aimlessly on social media when we’re bored, getting sucked into yet another work email chain after hours and responding to the endless pings from all the WhatsApp groups we joined to make our lives more efficient – how are we getting anything done?
Our smartphones are seriously distracting us from the business of living our lives and even from being productive in our careers. One recent study showed that even if your phone is face down and switched off on your desk it reduces your IQ by 10 points. And how many of us can honestly say we ever now have our phones face down and switched off, or at least not ever for long?
But there’s a more insidious side to our 24:7 screen habit and that’s the impact it’s having on our mental health, with research showing that it’s women who suffer far more on this front.
Suzy Reading, author of The Self Care Revolution is not surprised and says she finds she often gets caught up in a ‘feedback loop of anxiety’ when she’s on screens. ‘When I’m anxious I check-in more as a means of distraction, which fuels my feeling of being over-stimulated and anxious. I can literally cycle between Instagram, Facebook and. Twitter on loop. Just the sight of my phone triggers an urge to check-in and a cascading of stress hormones.’
And all of those platforms that Suzy cycles through, and which most of us spend all our social media hours on, have the potential to heighten our anxiety: Twitter can be particularly hostile for women, breeding the type of nasty trolls that target us specifically online; Instagram has that carefully curated feed of perfect bodies living perfect lives; and Facebook doubles up the pressure on the ’emotional labour’ we women do in marking birthdays, work anniversaries and celebrations. (It can’t be just me who feels horribly guilty when I’ve missed one and forgotten to post on a friend’s Facebook Wall).
Despite having spent over 20 years working exclusively online, my own Twitter trolling has thankfully been confined to a man tweeting to tell me I was ‘attention seeking’ after being on the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme, but even that knocked me off-course for a bit. Rhiannon Lambert, leading Harley Street Nutritionist and author of Re-Nourish, has been less lucky. ‘Only recently, I was the target of what appeared to be a cult in America following a restrictive diet. They got very personal, posting Photoshopped images of me with cruel comments with some even making aggressive threats.’
My personal challenge is Instagram and Katherine Ormerod, author of WhySocial Media is Ruining Your Life, is with me on this ‘I think any platform that enables easy cross-companion will always have the potential to inspire worry, centred on financial and romantic success, body image and life milestones in particular’.
This summer the endless streams of photos from friends’ breezy seaside jaunts took their toll when I was grafting away in stifling London with little prospect of getting a break.
After realising I was really starting to really feel down every time I logged-in, I banned myself for a week. Suzy Reading sympathises: ‘If I’m at home with the kids, seeing luxury travel snaps from other people definitely brings out the green-eyed monster. It also shows up in home envy, career envy, fitness envy, relationship envy… and this sense that I’m somehow not enough as an individual, not achieving enough or doing enough.’
‘I love social media,’ says Emma Gannon, host of the CTRL ALT DELETE podcast and author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, ‘but I find being on it for too long makes me feel anxious after a while. For me it can be an easy way of procrastinating, so if I’m putting off on tidying up, or replying to my emails, or going to the gym then it can leave me feeling icky. Seeing what other people are constantly doing makes me feel anxious too. You should never feel like you’re living other people’s lives more than your own.’
When we’re not wasting hours scrolling through our potentially toxic social feeds, there are other aspects of the digital world that have the ability to really pile on the pressure.
I agree with Shahroo Izadi, behavioural change specialist and author of The Kindness Method, on the unique tyranny of those little ticks: ‘I find that the concept of read receipt can be quite anxiety-inducing. For those of us who struggle with overthinking and anxious thinking patterns, knowing someone has seen a message but not responded can cause a lot of us to tell ourselves stories that aren’t true – but are able to impact our day-to-day wellbeing nonetheless’.
But with most of us now spending our working days entirely on screens, how can we navigate the minefield of anxiety that so much of the digital world can cause us without being a hermit, giving up our jobs and reverting to a completely analogue way of life?
Taking weeks at a time off screens isn’t practical for most of us, but small, mindful, screen breaks throughout the day are. It’s exactly the approach I’ve been employing myself in the four years since I refocused my digital career to specialise in digital health and wellbeing.
These are women who have to juggle working and promoting their careers in the digital world with carefully protecting their mental health and wellbeing. Here are their words of wisdom:
How 6 digital pros keep a balance
1) Set a morning routine
Shahroo Izadi: ‘Deciding not to look at your phone for the first 20 minutes of the day can make a big difference to your day-to day-wellbeing. Whether it’s checking emails, reading the news or scrolling through Instagram, what we decide to expose ourselves to as soon as we open our eyes can put us on a back foot mentally and emotionally for the rest of the day.’
2) Turn off unnecessary notifications
From me, Tanya Goodin: ‘Be ruthless with notifications. You don’t need to know in real-time if an Insta post has been liked. It’s those endless notifications that make you keep picking up your phone. Go through each app and cut down on those you receive. I have none at all enabled on my phone so I check it when I choose – not when it buzzes.’
3) Treat social media like a house party
Suzy Reading: ‘Be mercenary about who you let in. I like Lucy Sheridan’s suggestion to treat social media like a house party. If they wouldn’t make your guest list, don’t invite them to your social media feed’.
4) Dip into your self-esteem bank
Katherine Ormerod: ‘I keep a list on Notes on my phone of the positive things I’ve achieved, or the attributes that I like about myself and if anything on social media starts to make me spiral, I go back to read them. It’s like an emergency self-esteem bank!’
5) Execute a no phones at the table rule
Rhiannon Lambert: ‘I’ve realised a healthy thing is not to use your phone in places where you relax. That’s the bedroom but also the dining table too. Remember, eating mindfully is always a good thing!’
6) Make use of the mute
Emma Gannon: ‘I reflect on who I am following about once a month – I am not afraid to mute or unfollow accounts that no longer serve me or add to my life anymore. As my friend Abigail once said, “we care about what food we put into our bodies, so we should also care what online content we put into our minds.”‘
7) Introduce regular check-ins
Suzy Reading: ‘Check-in and ask yourself, how do you feel afterwards? Listen to your body as well as tune in with your thoughts and feelings – is tension, discomfort or negativity showing up during or after social media usage? Ask yourself, is this life-giving behaviour or do you want to make some mindful changes?’
Don’t beat yourself up if any of these tips are hard initially to put into practice, the digital world has been engineered to be addictive and hard to step away from. Shahroo Izadi says many of her clients struggle with not looking at their phone for the first 20 minutes of the day and build up from 5 minutes.
Begin with baby steps and keep checking in with yourself about how you feel. Even those of us who are hyper-alert to all the dangers of the digital world struggle at times with keeping ourselves digitally healthy.
Katherine Ormerod concurs ‘Even now, after having written a whole book about it and really, seriously working on my attitude to social media, I’m not impervious. Especially on a sad Friday night double screening in front of Netflix!’
The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK is at its highest since records began in the 80s. Abigail Radnor reports on a growing fear in Britain’s Jewish community
In April, as I listened to Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger make an impassioned speech in the House of Commons during a debate on antisemitism, I felt the hairs on my arms stand up. Then I started to cry.
‘I was 19 when I received my first piece of hate mail. It described me as “a dirty Zionist pig”,’ said Berger, who went on to recount 18 years of racist attacks, which resulted in four people being convicted of antisemitic abuse towards her. At one point, police told Berger she was the subject of 2,500 hate messages in one day, linked to the hashtag ‘filthyjewbitch’.
Her speech tapped into the pain the British Jewish community has been feeling lately. In 2017, there was a 34 per cent rise in antisemitic incidents recorded in the UK, a record high since data was first collected in 1984. There is no reason for this spike, but the report pointed towards a toxic combination of an increasingly confident far-right, buoyed by a rhetoric of intolerance, and parts of the Labour party that seem to have given antisemitism a free pass. All this has left the Jewish community feeling more isolated and nervous than ever before.
To find yourself the ‘token Jew’ in a conversation these days, is as exhausting as finding yourself the only feminist in a room of people who think ‘maybe this #metoo thing has gone too far’. It’s draining to have to constantly defend your beliefs. And I wish I didn’t have to convince people of the severity of the problem by pointing out the armed security at our synagogues and terrorist drills in schools as a result of bomb scares.
‘I wish I didn’t have to point out the armed security at synagogues and terrorist drills in schools’
We are on our guard in a way that we never have been before. One friend noticed that when she changed her Bumble profile to include ‘Jewish’, her number of matches dropped dramatically. ‘It could be an algorithm, but it made me wonder,’ she said. Another was affected by the increase in antisemitic attacks in Paris. ‘I became so anxious about dropping my kids at their Jewish school or going to the synagogue that I went to see a counsellor,’ she told me.
Increasingly, my friends and I are encountering a dangerous naivety around antisemitism, not helped by the ignorant rhetoric that means people too often are unable to criticise Israel without using lazy antisemitic tropes. Concern turned to outrage in March, when it was revealed Jeremy Corbyn once offered support to the artist of an offensive mural in East London, which featured age-old antisemitic imagery of Jewish caricatures playing Monopoly on the backs of naked workers. His defence that he hadn’t looked at it closely sounded as pathetic as ‘my dog ate my homework’.
‘Antisemitism must be called out to stem the tide of hate’
Frustration led me to join the 1,500-strong crowd in Parliament Square the following Monday, demanding ‘enough is enough’. Things got worse over the summer, especially when footage emerged of a speech Corbyn gave in Parliament 2013 declaring that British Zionists ‘having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony…’ For many, here was the future leader of the Labour party implying a minority community could never belong in this country. None of the clumsy attempts made to explain or excuse the remark mitigated the offence caused.
Headline news illuminating antisemitic issues is reassuring, but the Jewish community’s anguish must be taken seriously. People like my friend, who told me of a conversation she had with a close non-Jewish friend: ‘She offered to hide my children and raise them as her own if things get Nazi Germany bad in UK politics. Neither of us was joking.’ As Berger said, being a bystander isn’t an option. It is time to stop ignoring this problem or, worse, pretending that it doesn’t exist. We must call out antisemitic behaviour, stand together and stem the tide of hate.
Since the arrest of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and lawyer Michael Cohen, many believe it is now a question of when, not if, the President is impeached.
‘I think [Trump] has to realise that the countdown to impeachment has already started’ Democratic Congressman Al Green told the media. ‘He, at some point, will have to choose if he will face impeachment or if he will resign. It will be his choice. The congress will have no choice but to act.’
Trump has, as ever, come out fighting. ‘I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,’ Trump told Fox News, addressing the question of an impeachment for the first time. ‘I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor because, without this thinking, you would see – you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe, in reverse.’
Guilty: Paul Manafort pictured at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He has now been found guilty on eight counts, including tax and bank fraud, and faces up to 80 years in prison
But what exactly is an impeachment, how does the impeachment process work and what would happen if Trump was impeached?
What is an impeachment?
An impeachment is defined in the US constitution as when ‘the president or another government official is brought up on charges and tried by the Congress, and if convicted, is removed from office.’
What does it take for a President to be impeached?
Something pretty serious. According to the US constitution, a President must commit ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ to be impeached. Two Presidents have been impeached before: Andrew Johnson for illegally removing his secretary of war from office in 1968 and (more recently) Bill Clinton for lying under oath to a federal grand jury about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in 1998. One of the biggest scandals to ever hit the Presidency was Watergate in 1972, when President Nixon attempted to cover up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, where key documents were stolen and phones bugged. Nixon resigned before he was formally impeached. If it can be proved that Trump colluded with Russia – a hostile foreign power – to secure his election victory, he will have committed a highly serious, treasonable offence, arguably one far worse than Watergate.
Bill Clinton in 1998, the year he was impeached
How likely is it that the President will be impeached?
In May this year lawyer and former Director of the FBI Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate the Trump team’s possible collusion with Russia. This month Mueller appeared to ramp his investigation up a gear by appointing a grand jury to investigate the allegations. The purpose of a grand jury is to establish whether a case should go to trial, it also has the right to issue subpoenas, meaning that key names involved in the Russian collusion scandal must testify under oath. Mueller’s appointment of a grand jury still doesn’t mean Trump will be impeached. According to Politico most grand jury investigations do result in an indictment of some kind, but this could be against a lower-level member of Trump’s team rather than the President himself.
What stands in the way of Trump’s impeachment?
Only the House can initiate charges and an impeachment requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Representatives and a two-thirds majority in the Senate. However, the House and the Senate are currently still under Republican control, so only a rebellion from Trump’s own party would make it happen. The Senate would then begin a trial against the President, ending with a vote. A two-thirds majority vote against the President would be enough to remove him from office.
Is the President likely to resign before impeachment?
Jackie Speier – who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – has said she believes, given the mounting evidence on the Trump team’s ties to Russia, that the President is likely to resign before impeachment. ‘I have always thought that he was never going to fulfil his full term’ she said, ‘I am more convinced that he will leave before any impeachment would take place.’
How do Americans feel about an impeachment?
According to a poll taken late last year by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, 41% of American voters would like to see impeachment proceedings against President Trump, making him one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. A Gallup poll showed the President’s approval ratings at an all-time low, having dipped to just 34%.
Who takes over if the President is impeached?
If Trump is forced to resign in the next four years then Vice President Mike Pence will take his place in the Oval Office. In contrast to Trump’s maverick behaviour and posturing as a Washington outsider, Pence has strong party links and is regarded by many Republicans as a safe pair of hands. Though as a right-wing conservative with strong views on issues such as abortion, Pence is considered by some to be as quietly dangerous as his more volatile boss.
Donald Trump has arrived on UK soil for his first official visit as President, and to say that it has received a negative reception would be a massive understatement.
Saturday is set to see hundreds of thousands of people protesting his policies in London, a city which despite being the capital, Trump is choosing to avoid – shocker.
The president is set to meet the Queen in Windsor and Theresa May at Chequers, but despite only being in the UK for a day, he has already rustled a lot of feathers.
‘I think they like me there,’ Trump said of the UK before setting off for his tour, a quote that Twitter users are calling one of his most stupid yet.
But honestly, it gets better. Read on for more of the best Donald Trump quotes of all time (brace yourselves).
The most outrageous Donald Trump quotes, ever
‘I have tremendous respect for women’ – Really?
‘I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I think that would be, maybe, going too far.’ – Hardly surprising
‘You must go forth into the world, with passion, courage in your conviction, and most importantly be true to yourself. I did it!’ – Ah onto one of Donald’s most hilarious moments here. Who can forgot that time he gave a commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was called out for copying Legally Blonde‘s Elle Wood’s graduation speech?
“Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”
“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.” – Sounds a little Orwellian…
“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” – Umm they did Donald. That’s why you lost the popular vote.
“We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars. All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.” – Hmmmm
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” –Not the best way to kick off the New Year Donald…
“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud” –Trump was determined to ‘expose’ President Obama’s birthplace back in 2012, and even claimed to have sent investigators to Hawaii in the hopes of proving Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
“Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again – just watch. He can do much better!” – Clearly Donald is a Team Edward kind of guy…
“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.” – Trump always has charming things to say about successful, prominent women – but he stooped particularly low with this comment about Huffington Post founder.
“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “grovelling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!” –This was his response to that Meryl Streep Golden Globes speech… Mature, Trump. As always…
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” – Oh for goodness sake.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.” – Just another casually racial slur, then…
“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.” – Don’t worry, his racist outbursts aren’t just directed at Mexico.
“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’” – Trump has infamously hated on Rosie O’Donnell, making crude, sexist and misogynistic remarks about her on multiple occasions.
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” – Because of course, no woman can resist Trump’s charms. [Throws up on keyboard]
“One of they key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.” –Well at least he’s showing some self awareness.
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” –And not that fabulous barnet of yours?
“It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming!” –Definitely not missing the point…
“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” – Possibly (/definitely) one of the creepiest things we’ve ever heard…
“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.” –Ew.
“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.” –We’re glad he’s so concerned about the obesity crisis.
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” – Women aren’t possessions, Donald. They can’t belong to you.
“You’re disgusting.” – To put this into context, Donald Trump said this to the opposing lawyer during a court case when she asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her three-month-old daughter.
“The point is, you can never be too greedy.” – Campaign slogan = sorted.
“Sorry, there is no STAR on the stage tonight!” –In his Twitter liveblogging of the Democratic debate, Trump seemed to think he was watching a talent show rather than looking for the next POTUS.
“My Twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth.”–We think Donald may be overestimating the power of Twitter.
“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.” –Don’t worry, we won’t.
“I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.” – What does that even mean?
“Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money is she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!” – No, Donald. No.
“The other candidates — they went in, they didn’t know the air conditioning didn’t work. They sweated like dogs…How are they gonna beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” –Because sweating = the inability to solve a political crisis. Gotcha.
“Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [Republican rival Marco Rubio] referred to my hands: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.” – Along with the petition to keep him out of the UK, can we also campaign for Trump to stop talking about his penis?
“Thanks sweetie. That’s nice” – Said Donald in typically patronising style to a female 9/11 survivor. Inappropriate – and quite creepy.
“Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” –Threatening your opponent’s wife on Twitter? Stay classy, Don…
“I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down” –Ah 7-Eleven, great convenience store, and def not to be confused with a national tragedy and symbol of global terrorism, eh Trump?
“The only card [Hillary Clinton] has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else to offer and frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.” –Speaking from a, errr, woman’s perspective, we reckon ol’ Trumpy may be a little off with this one.
“Number one, I have great respect for women. I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women, more than anybody in the construction industry.” – Thank you Donald. Thank you for all your help.
“I’m just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?” – Ah Don, you ol’ joker, you!
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” – Trump proves (again) that he views a woman’s looks over anything else…
“I thought being President would be easier than my old life.” – Yes, because being the most powerful person in the United States comes with no strings attached.
“[North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] is 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.” – Not a great time to suddenly be empathetic Donald…
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” –Somehow the gross audio from the Access Hollywood tapes only tanked one career – and it wasn’t Donald Trump’s.
“Despite the constant negative press covfefe” –Trump’s manic midnight covfefe tweet stayed up for six hours after it was published, before somebody finally deleted it. How did this slip through the cracks?
“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I might just send them down to take care of it.” – Context: Donald Trump was talking to the Mexican president. This doesn’t bode well for international relations.
“Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!” – You’d think that fellow celebrity stars turned politicians would have each other’s back. Apparently not.
“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan…And now it’s the tallest.” – Only because 9/11 happened.
“Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” –This one’s word of mouth – MSNBC reported that in a foreign policy meeting, Donald Trump asked this question three times. Get that finger off the button.
“Prime Minister Abe, on behalf of the American people, I welcome you to the very famous White House.” –First of all, Shinzo Abe’s probably spent more time there than Donald has…
“[The New York Times] don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t – they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good.” –Turns out he don’t talk good either.
“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” – A Trump supporter who was a former serviceman gave Trump his purple heart at a rally. Given that Trump avoided military service on shaky medical grounds, it’s a little ironic.
“I’ve had a beautiful, I’ve had a flawless campaign. You’ll be writing books about this campaign.” –Oh, there’ll be books alright.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” –As if he isn’t already in hot water for his ties to Russia.
“I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.” – That’s exactly how it works, when you’re humble you spend most of your time shouting it from the rooftops.
“Fake news is at an all time high. Where is their apology to me for all of the incorrect stories???” – If we hear those words one more time…
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” –Megyn Kelly was just doing her job.
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”– Okay.
“My use of social media is not presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”–Please refer to the covfefe tweet.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Even, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” – ‘MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL’.
“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”–If you haven’t been following the campaign (sometimes we struggle sometimes too), Donald Trump Jr met with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the election. Tiffany is now the least problematic Trump child.
“Eventually we’re going to get something done and it’s going to be really, really good.” – To be fair, he was just talking about the healthcare bill here. Fox News made this a million times better on the screen grab below.
Who is Donald Trump?
Donald Trump’s early life
Donald was born on the 14th of June, 1946 in New York, to Fred and Elizabeth Trump. His father, who ended up being one of New York’s biggest property developers, was American-German. Fred Trump was once arrested at a KKK rally and was sued by the US Justice Department for refusing to rent flats to African-American people. His mother was Scottish and had left poverty in Scotland to live in America. So Trump does actually have a family, which might come as a surprise to those of us who’d assumed he was forged in a cave, like an orc. Trump was expelled from school at the age of 13 and sent to the New York military academy.
Donald Trump’s career
First and foremost Donald spent his time making lots of money buying and selling property. The fact that he’s made a great deal of money is one of the central themes in his presidential campaign. Despite the fact that Trump would actually have more money if he’d left his whole inheritance in a high interest account, he’s viewed as a successful business man. Currently, Donald Trump’s net worth is estimated at around 4.5 billion USD.
Alongside the property gig he also starred in American version of The Apprentice (yes, that’s basically like Alan Sugar deciding he wants to be Prime Minister). Donald seems to quite like being on screen because he’s got a massive list of film and TV cameos including Home Alone, Sex and the City, Zoolander, Two Weeks Notice and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Unsurprisingly, given his opinions on beautiful women, Donald seemed to enjoy his sideline as president of the Miss World enterprise (which is basically like being president of the United States, right?) an organisation that put teenage girls in heels and bikinis and then had them jump around on stage. During his tenure Miss World was accused of being rigged, and let a contestant who tested positive for cocaine keep her crown.
Donald Trump’s personal life
Donald Trump has been married three times. His first marriage was in 1977, to Czech born Ivana Zelníčková, who said in their divorce deposition that Donald had ‘raped’ her. She later clarified that she meant she felt violated, not that he had raped her in a ‘legal’ sense. Donald and Ivana have three children together, Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka. Donald Trump daughter Ivanka has been actively involved in Donald’s presidential campaign.
During his marriage to Ivana, Trump had an affair with Marla Maples, who he married in 1993. Maples and Trump have one daughter Tiffany, who is now 22 and works as a Vice President at her father’s real estate company. Marla and Donald separated in 1997 and legally divorced in 1999.
In 1998 Trump began his relationship with his third and current wife Melania Trump. The pair got married in 2005 and in 2006 she gave birth to their son Barron. In total, Donald has five children and eight grandchildren.
Trump’s treatment of women has been the subject of much controversy, with at least 24 women accusing him of sexual assault over the past 30 years. Prior to the election, a tape from an episode of Access Hollywood with Billy Bush (yep, related to that Bush) was leaked which didn’t help his case. He was caught saying, ‘When you’re a star, [women] let you do it. You can do anything…Grab them by the pussy.’
Mexican actress Salma Hayek also revealed that Donald Trump had previously asked her to cheat on her boyfriend with him, after meeting at an event.
It’s impossible to discuss Donald Trump without mentioning his Twitter persona, which merges his professional and private life. Find him and his 10.7 million followers @realDonaldTrump.
Donald Trump’s election campaign
So how did he go from gauche billionaire to having his finger on the red button? Well, he’d been talking about politics for years, first suggesting that he might run for election in 1988, and suggesting it regularly until 2012. In 2013 he spent an estimated $1 million dollars on research into becoming President. But it wasn’t until June 2015 that Trump called a press conference at the Trump Tower in New York and announced his intention to run for President of the United States, whilst the whole of the rest of the world collectively shook their heads.
After campaigning to be the republican candidate, Donald became the republication option for President in July. Despite the fact that he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he wound up winning the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the presidency.
Trump’s major campaign slogan is ‘Make American great again’. His major promises are to improve the US fiscal situation with an emphasis on ‘straight talking’, patriotism and standing against ‘political correctness.’
He also became the focus of international attention when he announced that he would make building a Mexican border wall a priority, which Mexico would pay for. In a meeting with the Mexican president, he said that a lot of ‘bad hombres’ were making their way into the United States and needed to be stopped. He also wanted to crack down on illegal immigration as well, going as far as to say that every undocumented citizen has to go, and also wanted to begin a process of extreme vetting for Muslims entering the US.
Obamacare – or rather the Affordable Care Act – was also a big target for the Trump campaign. It wasn’t a massive surprise that he wanted to dismantle it, given that Republicans have been gunning for the health insurance bill for a while.
Other promises that Trump made included renegotiating trade deals, withdrawing from NATO, bombing IS, nominating a new Supreme Court Justice and rethinking the Paris Climate accord.
Donald Trump’s presidency
Since taking office, the 45th president of the United States has been the focus of both domestic and international attention. Although he and his family eventually moved into the White House, he can frequently be found at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he has previously hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Trump has made some moves towards delivering on his campaign promises. He has announced America’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord, pulled America out of the Trans Pacific Partnership just a few days into his presidency and has dropped one of the biggest bombs the USA has on IS (barring nuclear weaponry).
He and his team have also drafted up a hideously unpopular Trumpcare health bill, which will cut heath insurance from lower income at-risk groups such as cancer patients, those with pre-existing conditions and pregnant mothers. While it was revised following a lot of backlash, it has since passed the House of Representatives and is well on its way to the Senate, where if it passes it will become law.
Another big controversial topic of his presidency has been his proposed travel ban on Muslim countries, which his PR team has tried to rebrand again and again despite the President’s own words. While it hasn’t become a reality, thousands of visas have been revoked, people who have been to countries such as Iran have found difficulty entering the USA and a laptop ban on planes from Muslim countries has been introduced.
More recently, Donald Trump has been a lot of scrutiny for his alleged dealings with Russia as well as his behaviour in dealing with former FBI director James Comey. James Comey, the same man who brought up the Hillary Clinton email scandal just days before the election, testified under oath as to his relationship with the president.
Comey heavily suggested that the president was not only a liar, but he had also perceived him to be using his political influence to obstruct Comey’s Russia investigation. Comey was later fired (something he found out about on television) and his testimony revealed that he believed his investigation and firing were correlated. While the fallout remains to be seen, some have been calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment and the entire debacle has been dubbed ‘stupid Watergate’ by some media outlets.
The next four years are shaping up to be colourful ones.We expect to see a lot more of this…
84 British men commit suicide every week: Beth Campagna, founder of Mama Life London, opens up about her father, John, who took his own life in 2011
‘I heard if they talk about suicide they won’t do it.’ said a concerned friend of mine after her friend confided that he’d been having suicidal thoughts. This of course is a dangerous myth, a myth that I wish was true.
Seven years ago, on the 25th of June, my dad took his life. I can’t explain the sickening feeling when the paramedic broke the news. Words are powerful, but no words are a match for the tumbling of your world.
Beth, her dad and her sister circa 1986
The fear that he would one day fulfil his own prophesy was now real. The thoughts he shared privately with us were true. Two weeks earlier, we were all enjoying a family holiday in Ireland. It was his treat to us all ahead of his 65th birthday. It’s with the benefit of hindsight that I realise it had been organised by him as a final hurrah
The first evening in a remote pub on a peninsula in County Cork we had an amazing glimpse of the care-free man we knew. He loved to sing and joined in with the locals and the band as they belted out traditional Irish music. That night my husband asked my dad’s permission to marry me and for a few hours, in that bubble of fun and happiness, it felt as though things could be fixed.
However, dad was suffering with chronic insomnia. When he got back home his mood shifted, as the fear of hours without sleep stretched ahead of him. That holiday there were occasional moments when he looked completely lost in dark thoughts. His light was slowly being dimmed.
Beth’s dad in 2010
The positivity my dad had always pumped into me, the importance of self-belief and having a positive outlook is the tact I thought was best to take with him. I bought him a ‘Happy Book’ to journal the things he did in a day that made him happy, I wrote my own list of all the things for him to be happy about and told him how much everyone loved him. When he slipped into his really dark thoughts I would hit him with the guilt stick: ‘I’m pregnant, you’ll meet the baby soon. What about Sonny? (my 10 month old nephew). It’s yours and mum’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary in September you could do something nice together.’ But it’s not until you help someone struggling through mental illness that you find out the ‘glad game’ doesn’t work with depression. It doesn’t change the dark thoughts in their head, it just adds an extra layer of guilt.
When we returned from holiday, we arranged for a counsellor to see him. The man told him in the session that he wouldn’t be able to help him, and so the isolation and loneliness deepened.
Beth (back row, second from left) and her family in Ireland, June 2011
Dad didn’t want us to tell anyone about his battle with mental health, he was ashamed and embarrassed about the stigma of it being an illness for someone with a weaker character. But how strong is the person who has to wake up everyday and face those constant battles?
On the brightest of summer days we shared our last cuddle and wave goodbye as he fell into the crippling trap of darkness.
My life after that was a mixture of the best and the worst times. Three days before my 30th birthday my son, Teddy, was born. He became my little light and saved me from spiralling into my own desolation.
As time went on my husband and I decided we wanted to try for another baby. But with no explanation we struggled to conceive for over two years. The strain of trying for a baby was beginning to weigh down heavy on me, it felt as though life was dealing me another bad hand. Then after two years, we finally had the good news we were waiting for, I was pregnant.
Beth (right), and her parents in Ireland, June 2011
We were so overjoyed. We went for an early scan, and as we waited we discussed the possibility of twins. As I lay on the bed the ultrasound technician looked concerned, he couldn’t detect the baby’s heartbeat. We were told I would have a miscarriage, which I did at 10 weeks.
Once again, my world came tumbling down. I tried to crack on and went back to work, but everyday I felt like I was shedding pieces of my old happy life I had before everything began falling through my hands like grains of sand. I didn’t smile as much, I didn’t feel truly happy anymore, I struggled to remember the last time I went a week without crying. I couldn’t focus at work and I took comfort in being at home with my son.
One day, I met my mum for a coffee and said that I noticed on my ovulation calendar that if I fell pregnant that month the baby’s due date would be my dad’s birthday, the 8th July. By a freaky coincidence I did fall pregnant that month, six months after my miscarriage, two and a half years after we first tried.
On the 7th of July I went into labour, and the contractions were so strong and close together by the evening that we all felt sure the baby would be born that day. My daughter Isabella was born on the 8th of July, my dad’s birthday. From that night, the pain of the last four years began to slowly ebb away.
Beth (right) and her two children, Isabella and Teddy
Six years on from when my dad died, I finally felt prepared to embark on raising awareness on mental health issues. I completed the Three Peaks Challenge on the anniversary of his death, and in November 2017, I launched the slogan brand Mama Life London, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues through blogging and donating money from the sales of clothing to the mental health charity Mind.
Improving people’s understanding of mental illness and encouraging a more supportive view is the driving power for Mama Life London. My dad’s determined mindset and my family’s experiences over the last eight years continue to inspire me to use the platform as a power for positive change. It can’t change what happened in my life, but there is the hope that it can support somebody else.
Mind’s Infoline is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393. For urgent medical advice, call NHS 111.