Meghan Markle‘s dog is taking center stage once more.
During Meghan and Prince Harry‘s Wednesday visit to the Survivors’ Network, a Brighton-based group for survivors of sexual abuse visited during their busy day in Sussex, they were gifted with a unique and thoughtful drawing featuring the Duchess of Sussex’s rescue pup.
When meeting director Jay Breslaw presented the framed photo, he told them, “We had a local artist do an intersectional feminist print of your dog.”
Harry — clearly thinking he was referring to the new furry addition into their family at the end of August — laughed and said, “No one’s even seen our dog!”
“How lovely!” Meghan said as she examined the drawing. “Look at the little freckles on his face!”
The picture shows the dog with the question, “Who’s a good boy?”
Guy replies, “A boy who makes every effort to dismantle the patriarchy (whilst keeping in mind intersections with other forms of oppression).”
The couple were also given badges by the artist, Henry James Garrett, that read, “You have a superpower and it’s called empathy.”
Meghan said, “I love that! This is really special – thank you.”
During the meeting the couple met both male and female survivors of sexual abuse as well as volunteers from the Survivors’ Network and Mankind, a group for men.
They included Patrick Sandford, 66, a theater director who lives in north London and has written a play, Groomed, about his own experiences.
“I was abused as a child in a state primary school in Kent by my teacher for a year. I didn’t talk about it at the time, I found it confusing, bewildering. It was horrible,” he shared. “I moved to another school after a year and was able to bury it. But the psychological effects were lasting. I felt very bad. My self esteem was very low.”
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It wasn’t until Sandford was in his 50s that he chose to write about it. “I had to talk about it. So I wrote a play,” he said about Groomed, which is being filmed after it was performed in London and at the Brighton Festival, where it won three prizes.
Meghan told him it was “very brave” of him to tell his story, which in turn helps other people. “That in itself becomes so powerful.”
“A lot of people suffer individually,” Harry added. “But once you come to terms with it yourself, you find the right support, then there is no one telling, you need to help everyone else, there is this something inside you which says, ‘I have this experience, I want to make sure no-one else goes through it.’ There is always recovery. It just depends on whether you find the right place to go and the right people to speak to.”
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Sandford told reporters after meeting the royal couple, “The mere fact that they are in the room, taking the subject seriously, is such an extraordinary public statement of the importance of the work.”
“We talked about the fact that men are abused as well as women. Men suffer the same psychological consequences, and difficulties in their lives, and need to make the effort to recover. In that recovery the support of these organisations is absolutely invaluable,” he added. “I was very touched that Meghan congratulated us on the work of doing the play. And Harry’s last words were ‘Good luck with the film,’ You cannot ask for more than that.”
Breslaw said there was huge demand for their services, with 300 people on the waiting list for counseling. “For us to have this level of exposure is absolutely essential.”