Article written by

7 Responses

  1. thegreenstudy
    thegreenstudy September 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm | | Reply

    I enjoyed reading this. It’s well-written and helpful in reminding people of boundaries. It’s also informative for those of us raising children, as we have to teach them as well as ourselves about interactions with people with disabilities. It seems common sense, but we seem to be heading in a different direction in our society.

    1. E.S. Henry
      E.S. Henry September 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm | | Reply

      I actually really appreciate it when young children ask questions. They are usually exceptionally polite. When children ask me “why do you have a cane” it becomes a teaching moment. Not everyone with a cane does that, obviously. But I think it’s worthwhile to teach a child how I use the cane, and what it means.

      1. thegreenstudy
        thegreenstudy September 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm | | Reply

        Children have a lot to teach us!

  2. anaishunter
    anaishunter September 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for this! I was injured in April 2011 leaving me barely able to walk. I have to wear multiple braces, and if a friend can give me a ride or I can actually afford a taxi, I walk with a cane. If not, I’m in a wheelchair. People just DON’T LET UP. I don’t mind if it’s a kid, no biggie. But a lot of adults are really really rude about it. My friends are even more bothered about it than I am, especially the way people stare at me. One of my friends, a professional caregiver (though not my caregiver), is particularly bothered by that. I honestly barely notice that anymore, well, not until she pointed it out. And, it’s not just people who assume we need help. It’s people also like ones we encountered a few weeks ago, when I went to the doctor. I was getting out of the car, my leg covered in braces, barely balancing on my cane (some days are still a struggle), and there were two people sitting RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DISABLED RAMP smoking, staring at me, and one of them yells at me “what’s wrong with you?” I answered that I had busted my leg (the easiest answer to give), and while my friend attempted to help me up the ramp as I wasn’t moving well that day, the people WOULD NOT MOVE so I couldn’t get up the ramp. I didn’t need their help. I just needed them to get the hell out of the way because that ramp was there for a REASON.

    That said, besides the questions and the stares, mostly, I’ve been lucky, people ASK me if I want help mostly, they don’t just assume. I’m grateful for that. I know it won’t be that way all of the time though.

    1. E.S. Henry
      E.S. Henry September 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | | Reply

      Thanks for the comment!

      The “What’s Wrong With You” line is one of those things that I’ve almost forgotten about, because I tend to just let it go in one ear and out the other. But it’s insidious, because sometimes it gets stuck in your head, and then you think “Oh. There’s something wrong with me?” Societal training. It’s gross.

      Feel free to drop me a line if ever you want to chat or if you have a question – or if you just want to vent about the staring. (The staring is the worst for me. I actually CAN see you staring at me, I just can’t see VERY WELL).

  3. Sexual Assault and Disability: Series Intro - Feminist Sonar

    […] Sexual Harassment 102 – When You’re Blind and a Woman: My Explication of disability and sexual harassment. […]

  4. Debi
    Debi April 14, 2013 at 8:18 am | | Reply

    Wow Lady did you have a rough day? Please don’t think me rude, because I am going to be absolutely honest. When one puts out a blog they do so with full knowledge that not everyone agrees with them. By doing so, you open yourself up for comments. First off U state that “canes, wheelchairs and other adaptive devices are not an open invitation to discuss” Maybe for YOU. But U can’t seriously expect that U speak for all of the disabled. I’ve never once cared when someone asks me about my cane. My 35 yr old nephew loves it when girls flirt with him about his wheelchair. He thinks “Pretty lady talked to me nice” So please realize U speak for only yourself, not as a representative of the disabled. Frankly I’d hate to see any readers believe U speak for all. Some of the things U get mad about because people don’t know or understand, then they ask questions, it’s human nature. Maybe because they feel embarrassed. Then that gets you going. Sometimes they may ask in what you believe is too loud a voice. Sometimes those with sight problems have super sensitive hearing. My Nana couldn’t see anything but shadows yet if U dropped a coin she seemed to hear it immediately, before you’d even realized it. Do U ever consider the sides of others, those who happen upon U? A few remarks, for some reason U think people should already be aware of these ‘facts’. They would have to be physchic to already know some of this info. My grandmother was blind her entire life yet U mentioned several different things that at 55, I wasn’t even aware of. Having or using a cane does not mean one is blind. Plenty of people use canes because of physical limitations. So maybe that’s why some ask if you’re blind. They simply don’t know, are not sure if you might need help, or maybe they think you might be too embarrassed to ask. So they take a leap of faith & ask “Are U blind” It isn’t a mortal sin, nor is it disrespect. For g-d sakes it must be hard enough for them to try & offer a stranger help. Instead U interpret it as some character flaw of theirs. How about for once putting yourself in their shoes & not be so quick to show your bitterness with all that sarcasm. Now as far as using a cane, I’ve used one for the past 20 yrs Not once have I ever thought others should have to ‘get out of my way’. So until someone knows U, or does ask, how can U expect them to automatically know your blind just because you use a cane? Next U say they ask U questions about being blind. Have U ever thought that they might be embarrassed, or not known what to do in that situation with a blind person? So instead of being rude & just walking away they put themselves out there & ask because they don’t know if U need help crossing streets or whatever. U keep assuming that the rest of the world should already just know all the technicalities. U talk about the 10% who are completely blind as if everybody should already know this. Don’t U get it Until someone asks they have no idea what your level of need is? They’re probably just trying to be helpful & don’t understand why your back goes up with the attitude U have, then no wonder they scurry off after U take out your bitterness on them. Just like when you say it is ‘super impolite’ to ask about disabilities. Maybe for you! Your UN-comfortable talking about yours. I’m a women disabled Vet & let me tell you most of the guys, they Love talking about their war wounds. Of course some don’t because they haven’t made their peace with the injuries yet. But again U seem to believe U speak for the masses.
    Maybe they realize your blind but don’t know if your deaf as well, so they might ask too loudly for your ‘boundaries’. Have U never heard of those both blind & deaf? Have U ever considered that maybe you are a little bit over sensitive maybe even mad at times about being blind? Hell there where times my Nana would get stupid drunk because she was so frustrated, especially about being blind.
    Your statement “do you think white canes get handed out like candy? How is the rest of the world supposed to know the significance of a white cane? Again U assume we even notice or care about the color of someones cane. Does this magic color entitle you to be rude & demand that others get out of your way? You say ” Most of the population doesn’t notice it, and I have to beat them with it to get them out of my way ” Where or how are we supposed to automatically know the significance of a ‘white cane’?? I rode buses & trains for 25 years, never noticed the color & even with a blind grandmother, I still don’t understand what your talking about. Do you really believe there is some rule or law somewhere that states “if U carry a white cane everybody else best get out of your way” U seem to think that because you have this special colored cane, that everyone is to get out of your way or you have to beat them with it” Holy Moses are you for real? Did I miss something? Where is this rule? Maybe U live in that country, u know the same country celebrities live in, those other people who say “Don’t You know who I am?” Another of those physchic thoughts we should already be aware of. My G-d lady, no wonder people are rude to U, do you realize how superior U seem to believe U are? In all honesty I have never heard a blind person state that others are supposed to automatically KNOW that your blind, not just another person with a cane. Then on top of that you have this notion that being blind means other people should stop what their doing & get out of your way! Where is it written, this law, that I missed? Lastly, you complain about everybody, those that don’t get out your way, those that try to help you, those that don’t want to assume anything & G-d forbid ask you! Even those ‘extra helpful people’ Jeez Louise is there anybody her highness doesn’t have a problem with?
    You don’t get it. It’s all about You “I have a special cane, get out of my way” even if you are joking about hitting people with it let me tell you, blind or not, You hit the wrong person with that magic cane don’t be surprised if you don’t get charged with assault. I’ll tell you, your last statement was the most telling…”street harassment. Nobody catcalls me, nobody compliments my boobs” Boo hoo …Shoot lady if they did, you’d probably hit them with that cane! After having seen you beat your way around town all these years has taught them not to dare open their mouths. Because U would just have something ELSE to complain about. As far as those that cross your boundaries by invading your thoughts: Maybe think about that. The only one directing your thoughts is… YOU. If someone enters your thoughts, it is because YOU placed them there. Nobody inserts themselves into our thoughts, there are no boundaries being crossed. There U go, just one more thing for U to complain about, that doesn’t happen…..Being blind is challenging enough. I saw it with Gram all her life. But she wasn’t always miserable about it. She could still laugh, sing & tell awesome stories. I’ll bet it’s been a real long time since you sang, or danced.

Please comment politely with a regular pseudonym or real name.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: