'My daughter was made to feel humiliated' - Sonya Lennon on snap judgements

'We make snap judgements all the time, all of us do'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.43 2 Aug 2022

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'My daughter was made to feel...

'My daughter was made to feel humiliated' - Sonya Lennon on snap judgements

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.43 2 Aug 2022

Share this article

People should 'take a breath' and not jump to snap judgements about anyone.

That's the advice of entrepreneur Sonya Lennon, who says her daughter was 'humiliated' when buying a pregnancy test in a pharmacy recently.

Evie has spent the last eight months on medication to improve her skin, as she was suffering from acne.


But because of the potential side effects of the drug, Roaccutane, she has to present a negative pregnancy test before the prescription can be issued.

Sonya told Lunchtime Live it hasn't been easy.

"Throughout the eight months, she's had quite a lot of experience of sidelong glances, people nudging each other when she goes to buy the pregnancy test - normally customers.

"Last month it was in a pharmacy, and she came out to me, I was in the car outside waiting for her.

"And a couple members of staff gave sidelong glances and kind of smirked.

"And she said it to me, so I went in to fill the prescription."

Sonya says the staff were likely unaware they'd even done it.

"I just said to the staff: 'Look, my daughter was made to feel humiliated - she has to buy a pregnancy test for the medication that she's on. And in fact, with Roaccutane you have to sign a pledge to either abstain from sex, or to take two forms of contraception - so it's really serious'.

"They were really embarrassed, they were sort of shocked - I don't think they were even aware that they had done it.

"They apologised unreservedly - but I just really wanted to share it with all of the members of staff with the pharmacy that, I suppose, our words and our actions have consequences."

'Not be shamed out of it'

Sonya says her daughter was more disappointed than anything.

"She was disappointed, because she was sort of aware that this is something that was happening - she just didn't expect it to be with members of staff.

"She's very resilient, she's very strong... actually if she hadn't had that confidence, and presence of mind, I would have been standing behind her to support her.

"But I think it's really important that she learns to be empowered to do what she needs to do in this life, and not be shamed out of it".

Sonya says even taking her daughter's medication out of the equation, the approach by the staff was still wrong.

"If you zoom out from the Roaccutane piece of it, and you think about the fact that somebody's buying a pregnancy test.

"You're either buying it because you are anxiously hopeful, or potentially anxiously distressed.

"So either way, it's a very emotional thing to have to do.

"So regardless of whatever medication you're on, this is an issue that is important.

"It doesn't matter what age you are... if you're buying that pregnancy test you're doing the right thing".

'Really hit a nerve with people'

Sonya says when she posted the details to her LinkedIn page, she got a huge reaction.

"It really, evidentially, hit a nerve with people on a number of different levels.

"First of all the medication itself, and how tough it is to take.

"Secondly I suppose Evie's presence of mind and composure to continue to stand up in the face of other people's judgements.

"And thirdly, I suppose, the situation where we are shaming people with judgments that are not appropriate.

"I think it's really important to say that it's not an Irish phenomenon.

"A lot of international people have jumped on to the thread of comments.

"It's really pervasive... it's not age-bound, and I think it's a great opportunity to start to reflect on the judgements that we make on a day-to-day basis".

And what can we do?

"I think if we could start to just give ourselves time to reflect - just take a breath.

"Before you judge somebody, just take a breath - because you don't know all the facts, you don't know what's going on".

She says most people will do this without knowing any context.

"When we make snap judgments - and this isn't just about pharmacies, it isn't just about pregnancy tests - we make snap judgements all the time, all of us do.

"All we ever see is the tip of the iceberg sticking out of the water - I suppose it was just a reflection on that".

Listen back to the full interview here:

Main image: Sonya Lennon is seen in March 2018 at The Gate Theatre in Dublin. Picture by: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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