Public Harassment: I am both a disabled individual…
I am both a disabled individual, who uses a Service Animal to get around, as well as a straight friend of an LGBTQA person. He has just come out but I am sure he has experienced harassment because of his identity many times. However, the time that I went through it, it was horrifying for me. I learned, that day, that law enforcement because of my disability do not think that I am capable of understanding the law; therefore, don’t or won’t even take or file a report from me.
The harasser always gets away with what they do. Anyhow…I was walking to my favorite store here where I live when someone came up and started to use the “retarded” sign with me. (hands beating the chest) They also told me that those of my disability class belonged locked up in a retarded/mental facility with the key thrown out! (kind of like the old Asylums of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s). He then tried to take my service animal away because he “KNEW” that because of my disability I would give my service animal fleas because I didn’t know how to take care of a dog or myself. I was “just that stupid”. I tried to not listen as I said “Excuse me” to him, but he kept getting in my way.
I told him to, “leave me alone and not interrupt what I was doing” to no avail. Therefore, I pulled out my phone to see if that would get the point across that I didn’t like what he was doing, but it did not. I then took a picture of him so that when the police came I had a picture of the assailant, but I was so “flustered” the picture was unusable. I then called 911 and basically got asked by 911, “So what do you want us to do?” I told them that I was being harassed and needed the police and 911 said, “We don’t come out for that. Just ignore him and go on about your day.” I was horrified at the answer. How do you do that when he is right in your face? Then I thought If I was assaulting someone the police would come out and arrest me for that, but because I was disabled I didn’t matter? Uhhh….Anyhow, after trying to get around him and not succeeding, I used my wheelchair to push him out of the way. He didn’t like that at all. He threatened to call 911 for which I said, “Go ahead! I will wait!” but they never came.
I waited where I was for about 2 hours for police to come and they never did so I continued on but I was so scared I had trouble even getting to the store little lone trying to remember what I wanted at the store. I came back by bus which drops me off right at the house and my friend was there to help get me into the house since I was still shaking from the incident 2 hours before, but I never told him nor my family what had happened to me. I learned along time ago about the “bumps and bruises” you get in life figuratively speaking. What I want people to know is that when you see this type of harassment happening to a disabled individual to SPEAK UP…YELL…MAKE IT KNOWN THAT IT IS NOT GOING TO BE TOLERATED……etc because if someone had done that for me…I think I wouldn’t be as “damaged” as I am emotionally.