I consider myself to be a pretty strong advocate for myself and usually pretty accepting that I have RP. Sometimes, however, something will just strike me the wrong way and I will lose it (aka cry). This happened about two weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to write about it but I wanted to get the rest of my blog more updated first.
(Keep in mind, I wasn’t using my cane at this point. I haven’t started using my cane again.. yet)
At my school, there are campus buses that we can catch. At night, I get a little nervous just because I’m a woman and I have natural worries about being outside in the dark alone. Added to that, I am a woman with a visual disability and am blind in the dark. The bus pulled up and everybody started piling on. I identified a seat at the front of the bus that was at least a little lit, nobody seemed to be seated anywhere near it, and I made my way towards it. It was still really dark. I accidentally brushed up against an African-American male, and he went off on me. No racism intended, he was African-American in dark clothes, so it was even harder for me to see him. After he got done with initially going off on me, he smirked at me the entire way to our stop. (Unfortunately, we both happened to be getting off on the same stop). When we were very close, he started making more remarks. I finally lost my cool and pretty much, in a frustrated tone, told him that some people on this campus have disabilities such as me, and he needs to cool it and be more respectful. That is when he started telling me that he wasn’t a bad person, etc. I could have filed sexual harassment on him and won. It was a pretty awful night.
I went home to my dorm cried to myself, cried to my boyfriend, and cried to my parents. My Dad was thinking about following up on the incident and reporting it, but it would have been too hard to identify this individual.
What have I learned from this? Well, one thing that I already knew is that people really don’t understand the world of disability and so many aren’t aware that there are many “invisible disabilities” out there. There are also some very rude people out there, and we, as individuals with disabilities, are unfortunately “easy targets.” Last, but definitely not least, I learned that if I had my cane with me at that time, this likely wouldn’t have happened because it would be an easy indicator to the public that I do have a disability and they would have been more aware of this.