This comes under the tag line of “I write to find out what I think” a la Stephen King.
Being a curious person I find it interesting that , as I lose my vision, the ability to interact with others adapts and changes as well. For instance, I am less tolerant of crowds, loud noises, and my startle reflex is much more pronounced. I have become the type of blind person who loves tactile information but also gets irritated if it’s not on my terms. Not sure what that’s about, but a recent incident with a sighted person has stirred this up.
Long story short, I was being spoken to by someone who was angered by a series of events in which I was involved. These events were in a public place and I was one of the presenters. What I said wasn’t good or bad, but this person didn’t like how I answered his questions and approached me once the meeting ended and I left the podium
When he began to say things that were fueled by anger I tried to end the conversation. I heard his voice, recognized the stuttering as a sign of his being so anger that he couldn’t speak clearly. This scared me and I tried to leave. Then, this person grabbed my arm and when I turned to leave, he squeezed it, hurting me.
What did I do? I told him he was hurting me and for him to let go. When he didn’t, I removed his hand and left the room. I was so focused on getting away from him, I panicked and didn’t call security or the police. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered how upset I was by it. Yet, I still didn’t report it. Now, I’m paying the consequences of my inaction. I was the victim but because I didn’t report it right away, I can only hope to resolve this internally and there is no hope of an apology or consequence by the person who hurt me.
I find this wrong on so many levels and am reminded of the basic humanistic conduct code of “treat others as you wish to be treated”. This comes to mind first. Then there is the intimidation of a man hurting a woman. And, lastly, I was at a disadvantage because he was sighted and I wasn’t.
The last item seems to get mixed responses from people who are blind. Some say that the offender sunk lower than an ant’s knee because I was blind. Others said that it is an offence on another person and being disabled isn’t part of the equation. Then the gender piece comes into play and I’m sure each and every person who reads this can identify and sympathize with at least one of these three points.
I’m blogging this because I need to validate it happened and not be afraid to talk about it. One thing I do know since this happened, however, if I am harassed like this again, I will fight the urge to flee and call the authorities. I won’t be ashamed that I panicked and fled or that I fell right into this person’s trap because I didn’t actually see it coming. I honestly didn’t expect to be treated so rudely by an acquaintance. Creepy.