Paralympic athlete 'forced to wet herself' on CrossCountry train without disabled toilet

'I scrubbed myself clean in the shower then flung myself on my bed and sobbed for hours'

Siobhan Fenton
Social Affairs Correspondent
Monday 02 January 2017 13:51
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Related video: Tory candidate says disabled people should learn less because they don't understand money
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A Paralympic athlete and prominent campaigner has spoken of her distress after being forced to wet herself during a three hour train journey without an accessible toilet.

Anne Wafule Strike, a British wheelchair athlete who was awarded an MBE for services to disability sport, says she was left feeling “completely robbed of dignity” by the incident. She says she had to urinate on herself on a CrossCountry train after the only accessible toilet was out of order.

She told The Guardian she was forced to urinate on herself where she was sitting and covered her face with her clothes out of shame.

She said: “I was completely robbed of my dignity by the train company. I would like to ask the train company when will they give me my dignity back? As a disabled person I have worked so hard over the years to build up my confidence and self-belief. Having access to a toilet, especially in a developed nation like the UK, is one of the most basic rights.”

Describing the journey as a “nightmare”, she said that when she finally returned home “I scrubbed myself clean in the shower then flung myself on my bed and sobbed for hours.”

She said she decided to share her experience to highlight the struggles people with disabilities can be faced with due to poor accessibility:“After thinking about it for a while I decided to go public despite the personal humiliation of doing so in the hope that it will bring about change for other people with disabilities who want to contribute to society but are prevented from doing so. Too many people with disabilities suffer in silence when this kind of thing happens because they feel too embarrassed to talk about it.”

A CrossCountry spokesperson said: “We are extremely sorry for the circumstances of Mrs Strike’s recent journey with us, and our managing director has passed on our apologies to her along with an explanation of why it appears all our systems failed her on that day. We hope she will take up our offer and contact us in the new year so we can offer her a more pleasant experience of travelling with us.”

The NHS estimates that 1.2 million people in the UK are wheelchair users, amounting to 1.9 per cent of the total British population.

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