UNION

"Becoming a rep was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done"

01 Sep 2019

Sarah's story

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As an ambulance technician for many years, I’ve faced my fair share challenges in the line of duty.

But my life was turned upside down one night three years ago when I was sexually assaulted on a call out while on shift in the centre of town. Tears come to my eyes reliving the shock – and the violation I felt that night.

The trauma of being assaulted, alone in the back of my own ambulance, was made worse by the knowledge that what happened could have been prevented. It turned out the man was a notorious sexual predator who had done this before.

Worse still, after what I went through, nothing was done to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Soon he would be free to roam the streets.

My life was turned upside down one night three years ago when I was sexually assaulted on a call out while on shift in the centre of town. The trauma of being assaulted was made worse by the knowledge that what happened could have been prevented.

I felt so let down and alone. I had to take time off work. If it hadn't been for the support of my union GMB, from my branch secretary and my officer - I wouldn't be working in the ambulance service anymore.

But I knew others would suffer what I did unless the law changed. So I told my story. And together with my union, I started to campaign to change the law. I’d never campaigned before. I didn’t think it was for the likes of me - and certainly didn’t hold out much hope it would change anything.

I knew others would suffer what I did unless the law changed. So I told my story. And together with my union, I started to campaign to change the law.

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But I was determined. I rebuilt my confidence and worked to make a change I had thought when times were dark was impossible.

It was surreal, after months of graft, to go down on the train to Westminster for the first time, together with my GMB family to watch the politicians vote to change the law to better protect emergency workers in the line of duty.

It was surreal, after months of graft, to go down on the train to Westminster for the first time, together with my GMB family to watch the politicians vote to change the law to better protect emergency workers in the line of duty.

It opened my eyes. Campaigning wasn’t just something other people did, but something I could do too and it spurred me on. I became a GMB workplace representative (‘Rep’), and even went to GMB Congress to represent my Yorkshire Ambulance Service members.

I’m proud we’ve grown our branch by hundreds of members over the last three years - we’re building our support network every day – a GMB family where we look out for each other. I feel privileged to be part of it

GMB was on my side when times were dark for me and I needed support. Now I’m here for our members.

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My determination no one else should have to go through what I did drove me to step up and speak out. And I’ve not looked back since. I never thought I would win an award, or be put on a national taskforce, or be invited to the Queen’s Summer Garden Party! But I have.

Through it all that It’s knowing I’ve helped change things for the better that tops it all. I hope my story inspires others to get involved in building our union and making a difference, however big or small. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done.

I’ve met the most amazing people on this journey. GMB was on my side when times were dark for me and I needed support. Now I’m here for our members.

It’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done. I’ve met the most amazing people on this journey. GMB was on my side when times were dark for me and I needed support. Now I’m here for our members.


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