Friday, March 12, 2010

I Don't Deserve This

Road crews have been working on a section of our street corner all day. When I went out to wait for my daughter's bus, as I always do when my husband is not there (my son moves the ramp to the front, which he could not do two years ago; his bus arrives earlier and at our door rather than a half block away), the work crew began physically mimicking me and making fun of me. In front of my kids.

Telling them they work with my mother-in-law did not stop them. It made it worse. (No, she would not gossip about me at work. Probably few know about my level of disability.)

Their supervisors are not back in until Monday.

The world has gone to hell in a handbasket, and I don't mean the one on the front of my scooter.

While not all eight or so did this, several did. And even one person harassing me, especially in front of my kids, is too much for my comfort. It makes things difficult for all of us.


Cara said...

I don't really know what to say, but wanted to tell you how sorry and how angry I am that anyone did this to you. No, you don't deserve that. No one deserves that. It's appalling that anyone would think it's okay.

FridaWrites said...

Thanks, Cara. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is all too common; it will be interesting to see what's the same or different with the wheelchair.

yanub said...

I am appalled and disgusted. Forget their supervisors. Call your city council, or county commissioners or whoever is the elected representative who supposedly oversees the overseers. Call the media. They have slow news on weekends and will probably be happy for something to sniff at. Frida, those people should be ashamed of themselves and they should be shamed. Your kids must have been so angry and hurt, as well as you being angry and hurt. Heads should roll.

Anonymous said...

I just started following your blog.
It gives me chills to think that people could be so cruel. Actually, I don't think they can be that cruel. I KNOW they can be that cruel. This reminded me of the many times I'd be minding my own business, feeling quite good about myself, and then some jerks like that cross my path and I just want to crumble. (I have dwarfism.)Having that happen in front of people you care about and who care about you, especially children, is triply devastating. I'm so sorry. - G

FridaWrites said...

Thanks for the follow, Georgina, and the support. Maybe we need a support group against adult bullying? Adults are more equipped to handle it, but it is tiresome.

I've wondered before what it would be like for people with dwarfism or smaller stature or other visible disabilities--you may experience worse than I do, at least in some places.

Not only can they be cruel, but

FridaWrites said...

Yanub, I need proof or it's my word against theirs. Crazymaking=when someone does something to you and then indicates you've imagined it; I've seen that happen. The supervisors will take care of it.

The problem is that I have this happen anew all the time--this kind of thing happens a lot; it's going to require a larger social change.

Or video documentation/raising awarenesss. :)

yanub said...

It's not like you don't have witnesses. I hope the supervisors will take of this in a firm fashion. They should at least send you a written apology, as well as disciplining the crew involved.

Ruth said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you, especially in front of your kids. I know it happens from personal experience and it happens, as you say, all the time.

Shame on them. Shame on the attitudes that continue to feed this.

One Sick Mother said...

Oooohhh If they are still there on Monday, video documentation would be awesome.

Do you think you could organize a friend with a camera?

FridaWrites said...

Thanks for the support, ladies. I feel a lot better tonight, plus the kids are out of school, so I think this will settle down. I think they're done with that street work.

I have a camera that will record, but it's very difficult to use while managing scooter, mail, and wildebeast (dog, who's been far better on the leash but switches sides on me). I got info on a mini-camera that I can mount where it's not easily removeable. Since disability harassment is prevalent here when you're not with another adult, that will make me feel safer.

I've been wanting to do some videos from the chair anyway (one winding downhill path is fun on wheels). And when people are that egregious about it, I can post it. :)

I am still wondering if people are just more egregiously mean to scooter users.

Terri said...

You certainly DON'T deserve this. If you don't reach a supervisor by 10am Monday, call your legislators--or, why wait? Call their supervisors and your local legislators... It will be a good example for your kids--jerks do happen, but abuse does not have to be accepted.

You do not need proof, you need to tell a descriptive story full of details, the truth will show itself. The guys won't deny it if you do that, they will say they didn't mean anything by it... which is an admission. And if you focus on your humiliation in front of your children the issue of proof will not even come up.

FridaWrites said...

Thanks, Terri--excellent advice.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I am so sorry that this happened. The first time I was mocked, and imitated, and a brunt of a joke, the pain was....deep. Having identity stripped, dealing with loss and then finding out that people find that funny, find that something worth mocking is painful beyond words. I am angry, but also want you to know that no one should have that kind of behavoir and particularly not as an example in front of children. It is a hate act, it is counted by the federal government in the hate crimes and openly having hate acts against you, not because of who you are as a person, not because of your acts, not because you and someone have a disagreement - but that they literally don't know you at all and hate and scorn you. That someone/some people out there will hate simply because and as long as you exist, without ever needing to know your name, because of something you cannot change is a horrific experience. I am sorry it happened, I wish I could be there.

I agree with Terri, also, if you made or make detailed notes including anything that was said, which includes mockery, and specific listing of hand guestures: this way if anything further happens, you can make a complaint of harrassment to the police and have it recorded - police like specific notes, so do lawyers, and I find that sending a list of times, dates, and the notes, as well as names (if possible) makes management take things more seriously. I also would not send it to the supervisor, but to the HR head manager and the Head Manager (almost all of these organizations have a Training Manager also, which could use it) since they are the ones which are in charge of training and can order these individuals to get appropriate training or incorporate training in new future hires. Federally, it is registered by the FBI as a hate crime (you can look at their stats) and if you want to be non-confrontational, I talk about it being a 'training opportunity' since 'police collect this data as hate crimes' and 'while these individuals acted in ignorance, that is an ignorance that can be remedied'.

Sometimes it helps to think of them having a type of disease, called hate and ignorance. But it hurts anyway. Particularly as I know how much that must of cost you in energy, pain, exhaustion and recovery. You are a mother, who shows her love for her children in heroic acts, and I see that.

FridaWrites said...

You're right that such actions are now made illegal by federal hate crime legislation.

The supervisor called yesterday and apologized and said he gave the men a *good* talking to that that is absolutely not okay to do and would do so again after he talked with me and heard more details--he also said he would be out there with them on that particular project from now on. :)

Sorry I've been tired to update--very long day yesterday, bad pain.